Tri-County Area prep softball teams make sectional tournaments

Two years ago, both the Fall Creek and Osseo-Fairchild prep volleyball teams, playing in different WIAA Division 4 sectional tournaments, won their respective championships and played together in the state tournament.

Could the same happen again, only this time in softball?

Well, the first stage of history repeating itself took place last week as both squads won their respective regional tournaments, Fall Creek repeating as champions and Osseo-Fairchild winning the school's very first regional title in softball.

Fall Creek first easily dispatched Spring Valley in the semifinals on Tuesday, May 24 by a 15-0 score in four innings and followed it up with a 9-4 win over Colfax in the finals on May 26. Both of these games were in FC.

The Crickets (22-6 overall) took a 5-1 lead on the Vikings (8-9) after two innings. Colfax plated two runs in the third but Fall Creek kept scoring runs and the visiting team could not keep up and winning pitcher Sam Olson held them just four runs while striking out seven. Hannah Herrem had two hits and two RBIs to lead Fall Creek at the plate.

FC's sectional semifinal contest is against Western Cloverbelt rival Cadott, the No. 3 seed in the sectional tournament half-bracket (Fall Creek is No. 1) Tuesday, May 31 also in Fall Creek. FC swept the season series with the Hornets. A Cricket win puts them in the sectional final game to be played on Thursday, June 2 in Shell Lake against either No. 2 seed (and No. 5 ranked) Grantsburg (18-2) or No. 4 seed Minong Northwood/Solon Springs (16-2). Both are champions of their respective divisions in the Lakeland Conference with MNW/SS upsetting defending sectional champion and No. 4 ranked Phillips in the regional finals. Grantsburg is a long-time regional power in northwest Wisconsin prep softball with many state tournament appearances. FC made it as far the sectional finals last season and just crept into the state rankings recently at No. 9

Phillips was one of several top 10 teams ousted from the tournament already and that's opened things up for Osseo-Fairchild. The Thunder smacked Cochrane-Fountain City in the regional championship game last week Thursday, May 26 by a 19-9 score. They already had upset the No. 2 seed in their sectional half-bracket Loyal/Greenwood in a wild 18-14 semifinal contest at Loyal on Tuesday, May 24. The wins improve O-F's overall record to 8-9.

Lacey Frase and Halie Colby both had three hits for O-F against C-FC with Colby blasting a home run and teammates Lacey Frase and Taylor Gunderson both hitting doubles. But the key stat was errors as O-F took advantage of nine of them committed by the Pirates (12-15) to take a 7-0 lead early on and 16-9 lead after four innings. Madi Loonstra was the winning pitcher.

No. 5 seed Onalaska Luther upset No. 1 seed Bangor in the regional finals so the No. 7 seed Thunder will take on the Knights (14-11) on May 31 in Onalaska. The winner plays in the championship game in New Lisbon this Thursday, June 2 at 5 p.m. against either Westfield (16-9), the No. 1 seed in its sectional half-bracket or No. 7 seed Marathon (7-17), which also did its fair share of upsetting a few higher seeds along the way.


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