Boosted by Alanah Halsey’s big bat, the McFarland softball team is one win away from its first state berth since 2014.
Halsey connected for a three-run home run in the sixth inning, the decisive blow as the Spartans defeated visiting Evansville 8-5 on Tuesday in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal.
Third-seeded McFarland (16-11) will face Monroe on Thursday in a sectional final at Evansville. The Cheesemakers upset top-seeded Whitnall 7-4 on Tuesday.
The Blue Devils (10-14) took a 5-4 lead on Emily Pfeil’s two-run home run in the top of the fifth, but McFarland’s Maddy Fortune singled home Alexcia Johnson to tie the game, 5-5, in the bottom half.
KJ LeFave and Erin Eggers each hit one-out singles in the sixth, setting up Halsey’s go-ahead homer—her fourth of the season—off Evansville pitcher Elizabeth Klitzman.
Klitzman gave up three runs in the first inning but settled in to hold the Spartans to two runs over her next four frames.
Johnson led McFarland with three hits, while starter Megan Jansen struck out 10 and walked two over seven innings.
Braly Wiser doubled twice and scored for Evansville.
MCFARLAND 8, EVANSVILLE 5
Evansville 001 040 0—5 7 3
McFarland 300 113 x—8 10 0
Klitzman; Megan Jansen
Leading hitters—Wiser (E) 2x4, LeFave (M) 2x3, Johnson (M) 3x4. 2B—Elwood (E), Karnes (E), Wiser 2, Butler (M). 3B—LeFave. HR—Pfeil (E), Halsey (M).
SO—Klitzman 1, Jansen 10. BB—Klitzman 2, Jansen 2.