One run separated Milton and Oregon in three softball games played between the teams this season.
Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, the one run came in a Division 1 regional title game Thursday.
Kenadee Nelson struck out 12 and Bailey Bastian drove in the game-winning run as Oregon rallied past Milton 3-2.
Seventh-seeded Oregon plays at sixth-seeded Wilmot in a Badger Sectional semifinal game Tuesday.
Milton finished 18-7.
After splitting a pair of one-run games during the Badger South Conference season, the two teams played another tight one Thursday.
Milton took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third on Shay Anderson’s RBI double and Emily Peterson’s RBI single, but Oregon tied the game with a run in the fourth.
Milton co-head coach Kristy Roherty said Oregon tying the game was a turning point.
“That’s tournament ball, and that’s fun when you’re on that end of it,” Roherty said of Oregon tying the game on Sadie Gaberell’s RBI double. “Unfortunately for us, we were on the wrong end of it.
“But we’ve got a pretty young team. I told them to remember how this feels, and to let that sting sink in.”
Oregon took the lead for good in the sixth. Gaberell singled and advanced to second on a single by Levi Rich. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, before Bastian scored Gaberell on a groundout to second.
Trailing by one, Milton could not mount a threat in the sixth or seventh, as Nelson retired the last six batters in order.
Despite taking the loss, Erica Reif threw well for Milton. The right-hander struck out three and walked only one.
Milton co-head coach Kurt Mussey said it was tough to see a successful season come to an end.
“When you’re in the playoffs, it usually comes down to one play, and that was the case today,” Mussey said.
“Two good teams and two good pitchers in the rubber game. We knew it was going to be a close battle like the first two times we played. We just came up a little short today.”
OREGON 3, MILTON 2
Oregon 001 101 0—3 6 2
Milton 002 000 0—2 4 0
Nelson and Newton; Reif and Schnell
Leading hitters—Mikkelson (O) 2x4, Gaberell (O) 2x2, Peterson (M) 2x3. 2B—Boyer (O), Newton (O), Gaberell (M), Anderson (M). HR—Mikkelson
SO—Nelson 12, Reif 3. BB—Nelson 1, Reif 2