What: The 44th annual WIAA state softball tournament.
When: Thursday through Saturday.
Where: Goodman Diamond, 2415 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI 53705
Tickets: $8 per session for quarterfinals and semifinals; $6 for each championship game; $15 for an all-day ticket on Thursday or Friday. Tickets may be purchased at the gate or in advance through a link on the WIAA web site, wiaawi.org.
Parking: Available for purchase at campus ramps. Though there is a ramp next to the stadium and adjacent lots, many are reserved. As a result, nearby parking may be especially difficult to find during business hours on Thursday and Friday.
Format: The tournament features 24 teams in five divisions, more than any other WIAA state tournament in a one-team-vs.-another-team sport. As a result, games run from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. or later on both Thursday and Friday, with five finals on Saturday.
On the Web/TV: Quarterfinals and semifinals will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network, on a subscription basis. Subscriptions may be ordered at NFHSnetwork.com. Finals will be aired live on cable and satellite television on the Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus alternate channel and the FoxSportsGo app.
Online: Live scoring, box scores, schedules and historical information are available at wiaawi.org/Sports/Spring/Softball/Tournament
Last year’s finals: Division 1, Sun Prairie 7, Burlington 1; Division 2, Hales Corners Whitnall 3, Mosinee 1; Division 3, Poynette 2, Tomahawk 0; Division 4, Horicon 11, Thorp 0; Division 5, Chippewa Falls McDonell 5, Oakfield 2.
(Seedings in parentheses)
Division 1 quarterfinals
8 a.m.: (4) Kenosha Bradford/Reuther (23-6) vs. (5) Chippewa Falls (20-7)
10 a.m.: (1) Oshkosh North (28-0) vs. (8) Glendale Nicolet (20-7)
12:30 p.m.: (2) Sun Prairie (25-3) vs. (7) Waukesha North (15-7)
2:30 p.m.: (3) Pulaski (23-5) vs. (6) Wilmot (18-9)
Division 5 semifinals
5 p.m.: (2) Belmont (24-1) vs. (3) Plainfield Tri-County (19-3)
7 p.m.: (1) Blair-Taylor (27-0) vs. (4) Gilman (21-4)
Division 4 semifinal
9 p.m.: (2) Mishicot (24-0) vs. (3) Stevens Point Pacelli (19-6)
Division 4 semifinal
8 a.m.: (1) Horicon (23-1) vs. (4) Thorp (19-6)
Division 3 semifinals
10 a.m.: (2) Campbellsport (16-7) vs. (3) Brussels Southern Door (21-3)
Noon: (1) Poynette (28-0) vs. (4) Prescott (20-10)
Division 2 semifinals
2:30 p.m.: (2) Seymour (24-1) vs. (3) Ellsworth (24-2)
4:30 p.m.: (1) Monroe (22-4) vs. (4) New Berlin West (22-3)
Division 1 semifinals
7 p.m.: Winners of Thursday morning quarterfinals meet
9 p.m.: Winners of Thursday afternoon quarterfinals meet
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8 a.m.: Division 5 championship
10:30 a.m.: Division 4 championship
1 p.m.: Division 3 championship
4 p.m.: Division 2 championship
6:30 p.m.: Division 1 championship
Sun Prairie is back at state for the third consecutive year and is out to defend its championship. Coach Jamie Olson’s Cardinals, ranked fourth by the state coaches, earned the chance to defend its championship by beating state second-ranked Verona, 10-3, in a sectional final. Verona beat the Cardinals twice during the Big Eight Conference season. Junior pitcher Maddie Gardner, a University of Wisconsin commit, has pitched the Cardinals to three consecutive state trips and earned first-team all-state honors last year. She is 24-3 with a 1.37 earned-run average and 305 strikeouts in 160 innings this season. Sophomore infielder Grace Radlund his hitting .494 and Grace Hilber is hitting .371 with a team-high 25 RBIs. Gardner leads the team with three homers and senior outfielder Sabrina Reuter has 23 RBIs.
Oshkosh North makes its third state trip in the last four years, and takes an unbeaten record into its bid for what would be its first quarterfinal victory. Coach Ken Dischler’s Fox Valley Association champs, ranked No. 1 in the state, beat Oshkosh West, 5-3, in a sectional final and have averaged 10.6 runs scored and 1.5 runs allowed per game, with 12 shutouts. Four North players earned Division 1 first-team all-state honors last year: Junior catcher Sophie Averkamp, senior third baseman Libby Neveau, sophomore shortstop Brooke Ellestad and senior pitcher Syd Supple. Ellestad leads the Spartans with a .609 batting average and has 39 RBIs. Neveau is hitting .529 with 59 RBIs, Averkamp his hitting .369 and Supple has a 24-0 record and 0.74 ERA with 236 strikeouts in 132 innings, and his hitting .519 with 45 RBIs. Supple committed to Northwestern while still an eighth-grader.
Pulaski, an honorable mention pick in the final state rankings, is making its first state trip since 2016. Junior pitcher Lauren Dixon was honorable mention all-state last year, and is 15-3 with a 1.05 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 133 innings this year. She also leads the team with a .363 batting average and 24 RBIs.
Kenosha Bradford/Reuther, coached by John Ruffolo, is unranked after taking third in the Southeast Conference, but took 10-0 wins over Muskego and South Milwaukee to earn the program’s first state trip. Senior infielder Sydney Strelow (hitting .468 this year, with five home runs and 27 RBIs) earned first-team all-state honors last year, and senior outfielder Alyssa McClelland (.506, 29 RBIs) earned honorable mention. Senior infielder Jadynn Powell is hitting .513 with seven triples and 44 RBIs, and freshman pitcher Livie Lehmann is 13-4 with a 1.66 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 88 innings.
Chippewa Falls, an honorable mention pick in the state rankings, is making a second consecutive state trip and 13th overall. The Cardinals beat second-ranked Stevens Point, 3-0, in a sectional final. Junior outfielder Jayden Hodgson, a lefty, is hitting .463 with 32 RBIs, and senior pitcher Mallory Sterling is 13-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 101 innings.
Wilmot, making its second state trip in the last three years, is unranked and seeded sixth after taking third in the Southern Lakes Conference. Coach Jenny Jacobson’s Panthers beat Beloit Memorial, 5-3, in a sectional final. Senior pitcher Madi Zerr is 8-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 94 innings, and leads the team with a .444 batting average and 24 RBIs. Senior outfielder Haley Lamberson is hitting .419.
Waukesha North, making its second straight state trip and third overall, is unranked after taking third in the Classic 8 Conference under coach Shawn Grimm. Senior pitcher Maddy Anderson was a first-team all-state pick last year and is 14-4 with a 0.38 ERA and 250 strikeouts in 112 innings. Sophomore infielder Allison Rataczak leads the team with a .389 batting average and 25 RBIs.
Glendale Nicolet is back at state for the second time. Coach David Berghaus’ unranked Knights last made it to state in 1995, but beat Menomonee Falls in a sectional final after a fourth-place finish in the North Shore Conference. Junior shortstop Kayla Bates is hitting .568 with 28 RBIs, and senior pitcher Maddie Steffes is 17-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 128 innings.
Monroe, ranked third by state coaches, is making its eighth state trip but first since 2013. Coach Joe O’Leksy’s Cheesemakers won the 2003 state title and finished as runner-up four times, most recently in 2012. Monroe beat McFarland, 4-3, in a sectional final. The Cheesemakers lost doubleheaders to Oak Creek and Watertown and tied for the Badger South Conference title. Senior Olivia Bobak, a second-team all-state player last year, is 21-2 with a 1.54 ERA and 211 strikeouts in 145 innings, and also leads the Cheesemakers in hitting with a .481 average and 28 RBIs. Senior outfielder Hailey Betthauser has six homers and junior first baseman Grace Tostrud is hitting .434 with a team-best 34 RBIs.
Seymour, ranked sixth, earned its first-ever state berth by beating Winneconne in a sectional final after taking the Bay Conference title. Coach Karri Vanden Langenberg’s Thunder have won 16 straight after a 3-1 loss to West De Pere. Junior catcher Chloe Evans is hitting .635 with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs, and senior pitcher Paige Weyer is 19-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 122 innings.
New Berlin West, ranked ninth, is making its third state trip. The Vikings’ last trip resulted in the 2016 championship. West won the Woodland Conference and beat Kettle Moraine Lutheran, 12-10, in a sectional final. Coach Tim Minik’s team has won 13 straight since a loss to Wauwatosa East. Sophomore pitcher Andrea Kuhne is 11-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 62 innings. Kat Burkhardt, a junior catcher, is hitting .694 with 52 RBIs and 16 home runs. Senior outfielder Alyssa Mallman is hitting .493.
Ellsworth, ranked fourth, earned its first state trip with a sectional victory over Merrill after a first-place finish in the Middle Border Conference. Coach Kenzie Diercks’ team lost its next-to-last game of the regular season to Amery, but avenged the loss in a regional final. Junior Clarity Kummer is hitting .478 with 20 RBIs, sophomore shortstop Autumn Earney has 33 RBIs and junior pitcher Avery O’Neil is 18-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 211 strikeouts in 142 innings.
Poynette, the defending state champion, has been ranked No. 1 by state coaches all season. Coach Bob Tomlinson’s Pumas are making their fourth appearance in the last five years and 11th overall, with four state titles and four runner-up finishes. The Pumas have scored 296 runs, scoring in double figures in 18 games, and have allowed only 22 runs all year. That includes 12 shutouts in the last 14 games. Senior third baseman Ashley Hellenbrand, a first-team Division 3 all-state pick last year, is hitting .426 on a team that’s batting .448 as a unit, led by junior utility player Lucy Cuff (.581, 31 RBIs), junior pitcher Casey Fountain (.537, 30 RBIs) and junior Molly Anderson (.520, 25 RBIs). Fountain is 21-0 with a 0.24 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 119 innings.
Campbellsport, an honorable mention state pick, earned its first-ever state trip after a sectional victory over ninth-ranked Random Lake. Sophomore first baseman Allysa Klahn and senior outfielder Morgan Fryman are hitting .423, and senior pitcher Alyssa Muench leads the team with 29 RBIs and eight home runs. Muench is 14-6 with a 1.50 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 126 innings.
Brussels Southern Door, ranked fourth, is at state for the first time since 2008. Coach Courtney Renard’s Eagles beat Oconto in a sectional final after tying for the Packerland Conference title. Junior infielder Jackie Atkins is hitting .478, senior infielder Grace LeGrave is at .462 and lefty senior outfielder Tehya Bertrand is hitting .457 with a team-high 27 RBIs. Senior pitcher Lexy Wery is 14-2 with a 1.18 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 89 innings.
Prescott, unranked, earned a repeat state trip by beating 10th-ranked Bloomer in a sectional final. Coach Abbie Morris’ Cardinals took fourth in the Middle Border Conference. Freshman infielder Liz Rohl is hitting .405 with 25 RBIs, and sophomore pitcher Sydney Matzek is 17-9 with a 2.52 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 158 innings.
Horicon, ranked first, earned a chance to defend its state title after winning the Trailways East Conference title and beating Wisconsin Heights in a sectional final. Coach Roger Schliewe’s Marshladies lost the regular-season finale to Slinger, snapping a 19-game winning streak, but average 11.4 runs per game while allowing 30 total runs, with 15 shutouts. Junior shortstop Jadin Justman (hitting .676 this year with seven home runs and 46 RBIs) and pitcher Allison Tillema (now hitting .621 with six homers and 36 RBIs) earned first-team all-state honors last year, and junior second baseman Karissa Laabs (hitting .544 this year, with 33 RBIs) earned honorable mention. Tillema is 21-1 in the circle with a 1.01 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 97 innings. Junior catcher Payton Marvin is hitting .566 with 31 RBIs.
Mishicot, ranked second, lost semifinals in its first two state trips, in 2014 and 2016. Coach Dawn Krueger’s team won the Big East Conference title and beat Iola-Scandinavia in a sectional final. Senior center fielder Kourtney LeRoy is hitting .532 with 45 RBIs and five home runs, and senior left-handed pitcher Megan Junk is 17-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 95 innings.
Stevens Point Pacelli, ranked fifth, earned its ninth state trip junior by beating Onalaska Luther in a sectional final. Coach Ann Molski’s Cardinals won WIAA titles in 2003 and 2015 and took second in 2017. Junior Haley Raflik earned second-team all-state honors last year. Junior utility player Madison Hintz is hitting .516 with 31 RBIs, and senior infielder Karah Kluck is hitting 481 with a team-high 35 RBIs. Junior pitcher Haley Raflik is 11-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 95 innings.
Thorp, ranked sixth, won the 2016 state championship in its last trip. Coach Kurt Rhyner’s Cardinals tied for the Cloverbelt West title this year. Senior pitcher Kaitlyn Tyznik earned second-team all-state honors last year and is 15-4 this season with a 1.32 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 122 innings. Freshman Alexa Hanson is hitting a team-best .444 with 12 RBIs.
Blair-Taylor, ranked second, earned the No. 1 seeding above top-ranked Belmont in the state seeding meeting. Coach Greg Bratina’s Wildcats earned a runner-up trophy in 2017 and beat Highland in a sectional final this year after winning the Dairyland Conference title. Junior centerfielder Ari Charles and pitcher Lauren Steien earned second-team all-state honors last year. Charles is hitting .506 with 23 RBIs, and Steien is 25-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 129 innings. Senior third baseman Cierra Curran is hitting .547 with a team-best 42 RBIs.
Belmont, ranked first in the final state coaches’ poll, are at state for the second time in three years and seeks its first state title since 2002. Coach Jeff Hodgson’s Braves lost their regular-season finale to River Valley, 4-2 in nine innings, to snap a 20-game winning streak, but went on to beat seventh-ranked Oakfield, 1-0, in a sectional final. Senior pitcher Sadie Willborn is 23-1 with a 0.75 earned-run average and 232 strikeouts in 159 innings, and his hitting .429. Senior shortstop Nikki Knebel is hitting .444 with six home runs and 29 RBIs.
Plainfield Tri-County, unranked, beat Florence in a sectional final to earn its first state trip. Coach Jamie Helmrick’s team has won 12 straight after a loss to Division 4 qualifier Pacelli. Junior pitcher Erica Pronschinske is 14-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 115 innings, and is hitting .538 with 30 RBIs.
Gilman, ranked eighth, made it to state for the first time since 2006 but seeks its first semifinal win. Coach Brian Phelps’ Pirates beat Hurley in a sectional final. Junior pitcher Katie Webster is 11-0 with a 1.40 ERA, and senior Addison Warner is 9-4 with a 4.49 ERA. They have 172 strikeouts between them. Webster is hitting .525 and junior second baseman Montana Birkenholz is hitting .513.