EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Wausaukee’s Callie Orlando throw to first against Florence during their WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal game in Wausaukee on Tuesday.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts

Wausaukee’s Callie Orlando throw to first against Florence during their WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal game in Wausaukee on Tuesday.

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WAUSAUKEE — There was nothing Florence softball coach Dan Robinson and his Bobcats wanted more than to avenge their loss to Wausaukee in last year’s sectional semifinal game.

Getting the chance on Tuesday, the Bobcats played small ball at the ultimate level, put pressure on the Rangers and utilized a solid pitching performance by Sidney Tomczak to defeat Wausaukee 6-2 in their WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal game.

“Last year’s loss was still on the minds of several of our players and coaches, including myself,” Robinson said. “We have a scrappy team and we were able to put pressure on them, which is what we wanted to do going in.”

The Bobcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, led by an RBI single by Tomczak along with a run-scoring double by Jordyn Springer, which drove in Tomczak.

Looking to put more pressure on the Rangers, Florence built its lead to 4-0 in the third. A lead-off walk to Springer was followed by a single to right by Lacey Enders. An error on the throw to third drove in Springer and a groundout to Wausaukee pitcher Allison Versaskas brought in Enders.

Not going down easily, Wausaukee got on the board in the fourth. Kaelyn Schlies beat out an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an error at second, cutting the deficit to 4-1.

After Florence extended its lead to 6-1 in the top of the sixth inning, the Rangers had a chance to get right back in the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Madelyn Schlies singled to lead off the inning, Kaelyn Schlies reached on a fielder’s choice when Madelyn beat the throw to second and Kylee Smith singled to load the bases. Versaskas, looking to help herself, drilled a grounder to second, which Bobcats’ second basemen tagged out Smith and threw out Versaskas at first. Madelyn Schlies scored on the play, but a flyout to short followed, ending the inning with Wausaukee only getting one run.

“That was a momentum-killer for us,” Wausaukee coach Sue Stoltenberg said. “We had some chances to push more runs across, we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”

The Rangers went down in order in the seventh, ending the game and a season filled with near-accomplishments at the highest levels.

“We went down to the wire in the M&O Conference first-place game with Coleman, losing in the seventh inning,” Stoltenberg said. “Then we get to this point and just fell short. I couldn’t be more proud of what this group accomplished this season.”

Tomczak earned the mound win for Florence (16-5), allowing two runs (one earned), on three hits with five strikeouts.

“Sidney pitched a great game today, but it wasn’t quite her best,” Robinson said. “I expect her to be even better on Thursday. We’re a young team without any seniors, so the future looks bright for this group.”

Suffering the loss for Wausaukee (13-7) was Versaskas, who allowed six runs (two earned) on seven hits with four K’s.

It was the final game for Wausaukee seniors Callie Orlando, Natalie Schroeder, Alyssa Rawley and Avery Bartles.

“Our seniors, they made softball better for the program. They were a huge part of our success the past four years that helped make Wausaukee a team to beat again,” Stoltenberg said. “We’ve had a long tradition of success here and they were vital in it. I can’t say enough about how much we’ll miss them. I am excited for the group coming back next year. It will be fun to watch.”

WP — Sidney Tomczak 7IP, 2R, 2ER, 3H, 5K, 2W

LP — Allison Versaskas 7IP, 6R, 2ER, 7H, 4K, 3W

Leading hitters (Florence): Jordyn Springer 2x3, 2B; Tomczak 2x4; Kathleen Selden 1x3; (Wausaukee): Kylee Smith, Madelyn & Kaelyn Schlies 1x3

Florence 202 002 0 — 6

Wausaukee 000 101 0 — 2