The Winneconne Wolves softball team came back once to tie the game against the Xavier Hawks.
Twice was just too much ask for.
The Wolves fell in extra innings to the Hawks, 4-3, in a WIAA Division 2 regional softball game on Thursday in Winneconne, ending their season.
It wasn’t for putting together a good effort in the extra frame, though. Xavier put a run on the board in the top of the eighth inning on a single by Torey Gostas that scored Michaela Machurick, who had doubled earlier in the frame, to make it 4-3.
But the Wolves put themselves in position, getting one-out singles from Carly Volp and Ashley Breister to put runners on first and second.
However, Xavier pitcher Erin Powers was able to get Sam Olson and Morgan Herbst to end the game.
“We set it up the way we wanted to,” Winneconne coach Tim Whitford said. “I give our team a lot of credit to have a chance there in the eighth.
“It’s just unfortunate for a great group of seniors.”
Winneconne was able to get to that point, putting together a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down 3-1 after the Hawks hung a three-spot on the Wolves in the sixth inning, Volp and Breister led off with singles and were moved over to second and third by a sacrifice bunt from Olson.
Then Herbst stepped to the plate and smacked a ball to the outfield, bringing in Volp and an errant throw brought in Breister to tie the game and put Herbst on third with one out.
“We had six-seven-eight coming up and we didn’t have a doubt they would get us going,” Whitford said. “That’s what they did. We had it set up perfectly to get the win.”
M.J. Behm and Riley Kies would each reach base, Behm on an error from the third baseman on a bunt attempt that couldn’t advance Herbst and Kies on a walk.
That loaded the bases for Annika Gereau and Abby King with the chance to win the game, but Gereau flew out to first and King grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
“Abby King loves that situation with two outs,” Behm said. “(It was) a little bit (tough to go back out for the eighth). We thought we could get three outs and come back in and get a run. It just didn’t happen tonight.
Winneconne had their chances in earlier innings as well, with runners reaching second in the first, second and fourth innings.
Their best shot came in the second, as Breister laid down a bunt to advance Hannah Peerenboom to third. Peerenboom then tried to stretch it all the way home, but got thrown out to end the inning.
“Going into the last couple of ball games, we were leaving a lot of runners on base,” Whitford said. “We told the girls to make aggressive errors on the bases and they were aggressive.”
Winneconne struck first in the fifth. Herbst legged out an infield single with Olson on base and the ball was thrown over the first baseman’s head. Olson was called safe at home on a close play after advancing all the way from first.
Xavier was able to respond automatically, getting three runs in the top of the sixth — two on a double from Erin Powers — setting up the final innings.
Volp, Breister, Behm and Herbst all went 2-for-4 on the afternoon, with Herbst picking up the lone RBI for the Wolves.
Winneconne finishes the season 11-13 and 9-7 in the Eastern Valley Conference. Even though this loss is disappointing and the Wolves will lose six seniors, there will be plenty of returning talent coming back next year for another run.
“We had a really good season considering we had four freshman,” Behm said. “This year went really well, I thought. We’re just upset it ended a game too early.”
Xavier… 000 003 01 — 4 5 3
Winneconne …000 010 20 — 3 10 2
WP: Erin Powers (8 IP, 6 Ks, 1 BBs). LP: Mikala Russell (7 IP, 8 Ks, 2 BBs).
Leading hitters: XAV — Powers 1×4 2B, 2 RBI; Torey Gostas 2×4 RBI; WINN — M.J. Behm 2×4, Carly Volp 2×4, Ashley Breister 2×4, Morgan Herbst 2×4 RBI.