First time at state for Fall Creek, first time for all its opponents

WIAA Division 4 State Softball Tournament Preview

First time you, first time me.

No team in the WIAA Division 4 State Softball Tournament this upcoming weekend at Goodman Diamond on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will have the advantage of state tournament experience.

For all the teams involved, this is truly their first time at the state tournament, their very first sectional championships in school history.

"It's going to be exciting to go to Madison and play at state, for all of us," Ceranski said. "It's going to be a fun week and hope all the teams feel proud that their hard work to get them there paid off."

With the experience factor taken out, all that's left for the teams to win is having the good pitching, solid defense and clutch hitting that helped them get there.

The D-4 state semifinals begin Thursday, June 6 (weather and time permitting) at 4:30 p.m. Fall Creek (28-2 overall) has the No. 1 seed in this tourney field, and they will take on No. 4 seed Coleman (21-4). This ballgame will be immediately followed by the second state semifinal at 6:30 p.m. pitting No. 2 seed Cuba City (22-2) vs. No. 3 Auburndale (21-3). The state championship game will be played on Saturday, June 8 at 10:30 a.m.

With everyone being new, Fall Creek hopes the tough scheduled it played and the tough league they won will give them an extra boost, guarding against any letdown from finally making the state field after so many failed attempts. Happy-to-be-there for sure but they are also in a great spot to win the whole thing on their first try.

That's because the Crickets have the pitching of junior Grace Herrem, 25-2 with 1.39 ERA with 183 strikeouts, 32 earned runs and only 30 walks allowed over the course of a 30-game schedule. She pitched a tough and masterful game over 12 innings of work to win the sectional title over then unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Grantsburg, striking out 10 and allowing no extra base hits with zero walks. She was also backed up by an impressive defense who made the plays FC needed on ground and fly balls.

Fall Creek's top hitters include senior shortstop Sophie Johnson, who set a single-season school record 11 home runs, the 11th coming at a crucial time in the Crickets' sectional semifinal win over Chippewa Falls McDonell. She has 41 hits and 41 RBIs, batting .422. Perhaps more impressive for the Crickets is the fact there are five other players in their line-up with over 20 RBIs in junior outfielder Kendyl Asmussen (21), junior third baseman Kennedy Tumm (28), senior second baseman Avarie Barka (27), senior outfielder Elena Raffensberger (21) and Herrem herself, who's pretty solid at the plate too with 24 RBIs and a .308 batting average. Johnson and Asmussen both lead the team in number of hits with 43 each. Eleven players on the roster hit over .300 and three (Johnson, Asmussen and junior Addi Haynes) all hit over .400. Tumm, who scored the winning run against Grantsburg off Raffensberger's bases loaded single, leads the team in runs with 44 and four other players having over 30 runs this season. Ten of the players on the roster have .800-plus or better fielding percentages as well. Of all the teams in the tournament, Fall Creek has the most RBIs with 221 combined.

The Coleman Cougars are the champions of the Marinette & Oconto Conference this spring. They began celebrating their initial trip to state following a 4-2 win over Random Lake in the Crivitz Sectional Tournament final. They are led by their main pitcher senior Courtney Den Ruyter, who has a 1.72 ERA with 295 strikeouts, 33 earned runs and 93 walks. She's also their top hitter with a .436 batting average and 34 RBIs. The top four of Coleman's line-up are their best hitters statistically, led by Den Ruyter, junior outfielder Annabell Markiewicz at .509 average with 32 hits and 18 RBIs; sophomore catcher Alyssa Kurth, .452 with 33 hits and 35 RBIs and sophomore third baseman Macy Nowak, .44 batting average with 32 hits and 24 RBIs. She also leads the team in doubles with 10 and home runs with four.

Coleman has largely played schools its size in northeast Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they have ventured out to play bigger schools such as Houghton and Hancock in Michigan and Menasha and Pulaski in northeast Wisconsin, coming away with a 1-4 record.

Tri-County Area prep fans know Auburndale from its 2-0 win over Eleva-Strum in the Blair-Taylor Sectional Tournament finals and they also know their freshman pitcher Morgan Griesbach, as she held the Cardinals scoreless in the finals. While not exclusively the Eagles pitcher as they have two others who have thrown some innings, she is 19-3 overall with a 1.36 ERA with 165 strikeouts, 57 walks and 19 earned runs. Like Den Ruyter, she also one of her team's best hitters with .406 batting average, 26 hits and 13 RBIs. Her catcher, sophomore Danika Blomberg, leads the team in RBIs with 24 on a .338 batting average and leads the team in home runs with three. Junior infielder Mya Krings has the most hits this season for Auburndale with 35 to go with 13 RBIs and two home runs. Like Fall Creek, Auburndale plays a in tough, competitive conference, the Marawood South. Their last loss this season was to conference rival Stratford. They've also beaten bigger schools like Rice Lake, Lakeland, and River Valley this season.

Cuba City, like Fall Creek, is more known for its prowess in girls' basketball than softball but here they are at state for the first time. Cuba City was issued the #2 seed to Auburndale's No. 3. The Cubans defeated perennial state-power Horicon 9-3 in the sectional final held at Boscobel. They are the champion of the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League (SWAL) this spring but have played no larger schools outside their immediate region this year.

CC's No.1 pitcher is junior Payton Gile, who has the lowest ERA of all the pitchers in the D-4 state tournament field at 1.02. She has 210 strikeouts, 33 walks and has given up 20 earned runs on a 21-2 record. Sophomore second baseman Addy Schauf is the Cubans' top hitter with a .413 batting average (the only one on the team for CC above .400) with 31 hits and 10 RBIs. The Cubans' RBI leader is junior shortstop Ella Vosberg with 23 and has hit eight double. Sophomore first baseman Josie Kruser leads the team in doubles with 10 and home runs with two with a .320 batting average.

Ticket prices for the tourney are $11 per session for quarterfinals and semifinals, $25 for an all-day ticket on Thursday and Friday, and $9 for each championship game Saturday. Tickets are to be purchased on-line on the WIAA website through GoFan, the WIAA ticketing partner, at: Parking can be found at the university lots near Goodman Diamond, Neilsen Tennis Center and McClimon Field. The pre-finals of the State Softball Tournament will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, log-on to or and click on the blue subscription graphic in the upper right side of the homepage. The championship finals of all five divisions will be aired live on the WIAA State Television Stations WKOW 27.2, WAOW 9.2, WQOW 18.2 and WXOW 19.2, WVTV 24.1 in Milwaukee and WLUK (FOX)/WCWF(CW) in Green Bay/Appleton. The finals will also be streamed live on the Network stations’ websites.


GMD Media

See Contact Button at top left for each office Phone Number,
200 Industrial Court Suite 100
, Wabasha, MN 55981

coloring pictures
télécharger reddit video

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to GMDMedia Newsletter feed
Customize This