Rapids softball falls in sectional semifinals
By John Kemmeter
STEVENS POINT – Playing in sectionals for the first time since 2003, the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School softball team had its postseason run come to an end with a loss to Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal May 28.
The top-seeded and seventh-ranked Panthers (21-7, 10-2) scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-0 lead, and went on to a 10-0 win in five innings over the fourth-seeded Red Raiders (17-10, 8-4) at Woyak Park in Plover.
Rapids opened the postseason with a 12-0 win over 13th-seeded Menomonie in the regional semifinals May 21, and beat fifth-seeded Hudson 2-1 in the regional finals May 23 to earn a trip to face Wisconsin Valley Conference (WVC) Champion SPASH on May 23.
With a berth in the sectional finals on the line, SPASH scored in the bottom of the first inning on an run-scoring error, a RBI single, a passed ball and a RBI single to take a 4-0 lead.
Still down 4-0, Rapids threatened in the top of the third inning, as freshman Megan Clary led off with a double, while junior Cassidy Ziegahn reached on an error with one out to put runners on the corners.
Junior Alyssa Banta drew a walk with two outs to load the bases, but SPASH junior pitcher Jaden Jones got a pop out to shortstop to end the inning.
SPASH carried its 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, when junior catcher and NCAA Division 1 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recruit Sammy Saloun hit a three-run home run to increase its lead to 7-0.
The Panthers added a RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to go up 8-0, then followed with a two-run double to walk-off with a 10-0 win in five innings.
Clary had a double and Banta added a single to account for Rapids’ two hits. Banta took the loss in the circle after she walked two and allowed two earned runs on three hits in 1/3 of an inning, while Clary struck out two, walked two and allowed two earned runs on four hits in four and 1/3 innings.