The Greenfield Hustlin’ Hawks softball team has seen a number of good pitchers this season.
New Berlin Eisenhower’s Kayla Schlegel and Lauren Beres and Cudahy’s Sam Homa come to mind, to name a few.
But none of them did what Chippewa Falls Cardinals ace Kendra Bowe did to the Hawks in a WIAA Division 1 State Tournament quarterfinal game at Goodman Diamond in Madison on Thursday.
Bowe struck out five and held Greenfield to a season-low one hit as the Cardinals (23-5) edged the Hawks (21-7), 1-0.
“This girl is a true pitcher,” Greenfield coach Jack Miller said. “She’s not extremely fast, but she does a good job of keeping you off-balanced (moving) up and down and side to side in the strike zone.”
Bowe retired the first 14 batters she faced before Jessica Manzuk singled with two outs in the fifth inning. Alex Sokol followed with a walk, but Alison Schell grounded out to end the threat. She retired the final seven batters.
“We had a hard time early on with her riseball,” Miller said. “We’ve faced riseball pitchers that are much faster than that, however, her riseball was more deceptive than other pitchers.”
Bowe’s efforts gave the Cardinals’ offense time to finally mount a rally in the seventh inning. With two outs, Chippewa Falls ripped three straight singles, the last of which was an RBI hit by Carissa Maes, who had been 0-for-3.
“It was just good timing,” Maes said. “I was on the ball the whole game and I never let it get in my head that I wasn’t going to get on base. A lot of people were hitting a lot better than I was. I just got lucky.”
In the bottom of the inning, Bowe retired the Hawks’ heart of the order – Shannon Butts, Stacey Butts and Andrea Solberg – in order.
Shannon Butts, Greenfield’s pitcher, struck out three and walked one. She allowed 10 hits, but only the last one was costly.
“That’s unusual,” for a team to get 10 hits and score only once, Miller said. “And they earned it too. Three straight hits, that’s some small consolation.”
Greenfield shortstop Stacey Butts made what looked to be a game-saving play in the top of the sixth inning. Chippewa Falls slugger Mikayla Hogan ripped a leadoff triple past diving center fielder Sarah Fisher in the sixth. The next batter, Jordyn Hubin, hit a ground ball to Butts, who pump-faked a throw to first, turned and picked off courtesy runner Robyn Ferg at third. The next two batters grounded out.
“She’s such a heads-up player,” Miller said. “Even though she’s left-handed, she’s so smooth and she’s been playing so many years, like all these girls, she’s got field awareness. I was just worried we’d get the tag down.”
Chippewa Falls also threatened in the top of the fifth when Andie Bronstad and Val Hayes singled consecutively with one out, but Shannon Butts struck out leadoff hitter Megan Schnobrich and got Maes to ground out to end the threat.
The Hawks fell to 0-4 all-time in state games.