Janesville Craig advances with school-record win
Craig High, behind a gritty performance from pitcher Paige Weber and an opportunistic offense, pulled away for a 4-1 win over Milton in a WIAA Division 1 regional final Thursday at Dawson Field.
The school-record 20th win of the season lifted the third-seeded Cougars (20-4) into a sectional semifinal clash at second-seeded Wilmot (20-2) on Tuesday.
Milton, despite four hits from Morgan Janes, finished the season 15-8.
The Big Eight Conference co-champion Cougars committed an uncharacteristic five errors, but the defense made plays when it mattered. Craig turned two double plays, including a 5-4-3 gem to end the game, and was awarded a third double play on a runner’s interference at second base.
“I’m just happy to be able to go to practice tomorrow,” Craig coach Dan Bayreuther said. “Milton’s got a nice team, and that’s as hard as any team has hit the ball against Paige all season.
“But give her (Paige) credit. She made pitches when she had to, especially in the first inning. That was huge getting out of that inning.”
Janes led off the game with a double to the fence. Taylor Davis then reached on an error after her sacrifice bunt was misplayed, putting runners on first and third. Weber coaxed an infield pop-up before getting out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Craig took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Gabrielle Cassady’s RBI single, but Milton tied the game in the second on Niki Metcalf’s long home run.
Heads-up base-running, and an RBI single by Whitney Oliver gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead in the third. Leigh Grall, who was 3-for-3, singled to start the inning. Cassady singled to put runners on first and second, and both moved up a base on a ground out.
Grall made it 2-1 when she scored on Oliver’s RBI single in front of the plate, and Cassady scored when Oliver stole second and the throw sailed into center field.
“We just didn’t take advantage of any opportunities when we had to,” Milton coach Mindy Bilhorn said. “We hit the ball hard, but couldn’t come up with the clutch hit when we needed it.
“And I don’t think we hit into any double plays all year, and it happened twice today.”
The Cougars tacked on an insurance run in the fifth on Cassady’s sacrifice fly that scored Stephanie Perleberg.
Jessica Duoss was the tough-luck loser. The junior allowed no walks and struck out three, but three Milton errors and a lack of run support were too tough to overcome.
Bayreuther says Wilmot will be the best team the Cougars have faced this season, but he said they’ll be ready.
“I’ve said all season that these girls are resilient, and today was another example,” Bayreuther said. “We’re happy to still be playing. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team.”
CRAIG 4, MILTON 1
Milton (ab-r-h-rbi)—Janes, 3b, 4-0-4-0; Davis, ss, 4-0-0-0; Chase, cf, 4-0-0-0; Duoss, p, 3-0-1-0; Richards, c, 3-0-1-0; N. Metcalf, lf, 3-1-1-1; Knutson, 1b, 3-0-1-0; Diestler, dp, 3-0-0-0; Kundert, 2b-pr, 0-0-0-0; McNall, rf, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 30-1-8-1.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Bayreuther, ss, 3-0-0-0; Perleberg, rf, 3-1-1-0; Grall, 1b, 3-2-3-0; Cassady, c, 2-1-2-2; L. Oliver, 3b, 3-0-0-0; W. Oliver, 2b, 3-0-1-1; Moench, lf, 3-0-0-0; Mortensen, cf, 3-0-0-0; Kalish, dp, 2-0-0-0; Weber, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 25-4-7-3.
Milton 010 000 0—1
Janesville Craig 102 010 x—4
E—Milton 3, Craig 5. LOB—Milton 8, Craig 4. DP—Milton 1, Craig 3. SAC—Davis. SF—Cassady. SB—Perleberg, Grall, W. Oliver. 2B—Janes, Grall. HR—N. Metcalf.
Milton IP H R ER BB SO
Duoss (L) 6 7 4 3 0 3
Weber (W) 7 8 1 1 0 3
n Wilmot 4, Beloit 0—Kristen Wood fired a complete-game one-hitter to lead the Panthers to a WIAA Division 1 regional win over Beloit Memorial.
Second-seeded Wilmot (20-2) hosts Janesville Craig (20-4) on Tuesday in a sectional semifinal game.
Kelli Hutchinson homered for Wilmot, while Lauren Murdock scored twice.
WILMOT 4, BELOIT 0
Beloit Memorial 000 000 0—0 1 3
Wilmot 010 111 x—4 7 0
Shultz and Masterson; Wood and Sheahan.
Leading hitters—Hutchinson (W) 2x3, Murdock (W) 2x3, Vozel (W) 2x3. 2B—Murdock (W). HR—Hutchinson (W).
SO—Shultz (B) 3, Wood (W) 12. BB—none.