HUDSON — The Chi-Hi softball team scored a combined eight runs in the first three innings to help the Cardinals outlast Hudson 10-9 on Monday afternoon in a Division 1 sectional semifinal slugfest.
The Cardinals advance to host Marshfield on Wednesday with a trip to next week’s state tournament on the line.
Chi-Hi (23-5) never trailed in the win, but went back-and-forth with the Raiders in the third matchup of the season between the teams after Hudson (15-2) earned two victories in the regular season by a combined three runs. Monday’s matchup was another close game but of a different kind as the runs came early and often between the two Big Rivers squads.
Basia Olson blasted a grand slam in the top of the first inning to stake the Cardinals to a 4-0 lead before the Raiders had a chance to bat. But Hudson responded with four runs of its own to respond and set the tone for a game that featured a combined 22 hits and scoring in six of the seven innings. Two runs in the second and third innings helped the Cardinals take an 8-5 lead after the third but the Raiders got within one twice, first with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before the teams traded two-run efforts in the sixth.
“That was a great sign,” Chi-Hi co-coach Jared Faherty said of his team’s quick start on offense, “and really the whole night we had great at-bats right through the entire order. We were doing a good job laying off her (Hudson pitcher Sydney Gabriel) riseball.”
Madyson Baker hit a two-run home run in the second for the Cardinals while Makenna Johnston was 3-for-4 with a triple. Madisyn Bauer and Paige Steinmetz had two hits each while Bauer scored three runs in the victory.
Hannah Aldrich struck out one in 4.1 innings pitched to pick up the win for Chi-Hi, allowing seven runs (four earned) as the Chi-Hi defense worked around three errors. Freshman Lakken McEathron threw the final 2.2 innings for the Cardinals, allowing a two-run home run in the sixth inning before setting down the Raiders in order in the seventh to shut the door for the save.
“As a freshman to come in there and stay composed and throw strikes was a good job,” Faherty said.
Avery Johnson bashed two home runs and drove in four as a part of a 4-for-4 performance for the Raiders.
Chi-Hi now turns its attention to Marshfield after the Tigers upended Stevens Point 7-4 in the other sectional semifinal matchup. Marshfield (15-6) split a doubleheader with Chi-Hi on May 20 as the Cardinals won the first game 6-4 before the Tigers earned a 7-4 win to split. Wednesday’s rubber match winner will advance to next week’s state tournament in Green Bay.
“We told them after the game, we said you’ve earned the right to play for a chance to go to state,” Faherty said. “It’s really all you can ask for here and (they’re) a young group and they’ve bought in and worked really hard and they battle and that’s all you can ask.”
Northwestern 5, Bloomer 1
At Bloomer, the Tigers scored four runs in the first three innings of a Division 3 sectional semifinal win over the Blackhawks.
Northwestern jumped out to an early advantage and took advantage of six Bloomer errors in the win. Allison Luoma had two doubles and Gracia Altman was 2-for-3 with a run batted in at the plate for the Tigers while Luoma struck out 12 in a complete-game victory.
Calley Olson was 2-for-2 with a double and Tori Jenneman blasted a solo home run in the fifth inning for Bloomer (26-3).
Northwestern (19-5) advances to face Prescott on Thursday in Arcadia for a trip to the state tournament.