Sheboygan North won the first two batters of the game.
Everything else, belonged to Oshkosh West.
The top-seeded Wildcats pounded out 14 hits, played flawless defense and got a two-hitter from Callie Troutfetter in dispatching the Golden Raiders, 11-1, in five innings to claim the WIAA Division 1 regional softball title on a breezy Thursday afternoon.
“It feels pretty nice. It’s good to have this one over and now get really into it,” said Meg Krautsch, who drove in three runs for West. “Hearing other teams playing, you just want to be out there right now and get (the wait) over with. So now it’s nice that this one’s done and we’re going on.”
The two hits Troutfetter allowed were to the Golden Raiders’ first two batters of the game. One of them later came around to score and eighth-seeded North had the 1-0 lead.
That advantage didn’t last long, though.
“We’ve been very fortunate where we haven’t been in those situations too much,” West coach John Kloehn said. “We had great composure and we just went right back to work. We knew what we had to do.”
Lexi Holsten and Chantal Bougie smacked back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the first, with Holsten eventually scoring on a Sheboygan North error on a double steal.
Krautsch then ripped a double to the right-center field wall to score Bougie and later came around to score when Bailey Schultz reached on the Raiders’ third error of the first inning.
“We kept our heads up stayed in the game like we normally do,” Krautsch said.
Hailey Hendrix and Holsten led off the second inning with singles and both later scored to make it 5-1 and the Wildcats then broke the game open in the fourth, starting with Holsten’s lead-off double.
Holsten finished 3-for-4 and scored three runs for the Wildcats, igniting the offensive outburst from her lead-off spot.
“I just kind of went up there having confidence. That’s pretty important,” Holsten said. “I haven’t been hitting my greatest recently, but I guess I’m coming out of my slump and it’s kind of boosting everybody up I guess.”
Holsten scored on a wild pitch, while Krautsch later walked and scored on a North error.
Troutfetter and Schultz followed with singles and would score on Marina Hereford’s clutch two-out single that stretched the lead to 9-1.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking obviously because there is two outs and you don’t want to be that last out with people on base,” Hereford said. “So you just have to really focus on the ball and hit it.”
That was something the entire West lineup did as six different players finished with at least two hits in the game, despite it being the first time the squad had seen Sheboygan North starter Raven Gmach.
“We haven’t faced her exactly, but we’ve faced similar pitchers in the conference,” Holsten said. “They are a lot slower for us to adjust to but today, we just kind of clicked and it all worked really well.”
West ended the game by the mercy rule in the fifth, getting an RBI-single from Krautsch and another from Troutfetter, who rocketed a one-hopper off the right-field fence to score the final run.
“We played well so I think that gives us a boost for next game. It’s always good to get that first one under your belt and keep going,” Hereford said. “Obviously the next team going to be tough but it definitely gives us confidence to go out there and beat our next opponent.”
Notes: West will face fifth-seeded Slinger in a sectional semifinal on Tuesday after the Owls upset fourth-seeded Neenah, 5-1, on Thursday. … The Wildcats played the game without starting catcher Kelly Wallace because of an athletic code violation. Krautsch started at catcher for West, while Hendrix took Krautsch’s normal spot at shortstop. … The Wildcats did not commit an error in the game. … After allowing the two singles to start the game, Troutfetter allowed just one more baserunner, a two-out walk to Gmach in the fourth.
Game ball: Lexi Holsten, for going 3-for-4 with three runs scored from lead-off spot to ignite the West offense.
Numbers game: 14, the number of hits for the Wildcats, which was the most since totaling 15 in a win over Menasha on April 23.
Sheb. North…100 00 — 1 2 6
Osh. West…320 42 — 11 14 0
WP: Callie Troutfetter (5 IP, 1 BB, 4 Ks). LP: Raven Gmach (4 IP, 2 BBs, 1 K).
Leading hitters: OW — Lexi Holsten 3×4, 2B; Chantal Bougie 2×4, RBI; Meg Krautsch 2×4, 2B, 3RBI; Callie Troutfetter 2×3, RBI; Marina Hereford 2×3, 2 RBI; Hailey Hendrix 2×3.