A six-run first inning was enough to do the trick for the eighth-seeded Sussex Hamilton girls softball team Thursday afternoon, as the Chargers knocked off Greater Metro Conference champ and WIAA sectional top seed Menomonee Falls, 9-2, in a regional final Monday at the Falls Little League Park.
"We've been working all season long on building our confidence," said Charger coach Jim Lawinger. "We're a young (one senior) up and coming team and it's been a long process for us. We've been able to beat teams at our own level before but we hadn't beat a really good team until today."
The victory advanced the eighth-seeded Chargers (13-9) into a WIAA sectional semifinal at fifth-seeded West Allis Hale (16-6) on Monday. Hale was an 11-3 winner over Arrowhead in its regional final today.
The Chargers, who had lost to Falls twice in the regular season, earned a boatload of confidence in the first inning. No more so than when junior Sami Williams dropped down a suicide squeeze to score senior Katie Weber with the game's first run.
"She got the bunt down, and she (Weber) just beat it," said Lawinger. "It was a bang-bang play, but it really got us going."
That was followed thereafter by Whitney Wnuk's two-run double. A short time later, Falls committed two errors, each of which allowed a run in and before the frame ended, the Chargers were in firm control.
"They were on fire with their bats early (three straight singles before Williams' bunt), but it was hard to make of what happened to us," said Indian coach Wendy Wolff. "Sussex just came out here and beat us to the punch all day. They took advantage of our mistakes and we could never really recover."
Falls did nick junior Charger pitcher Sydney Sprinkel for two runs in the third on a Brittany Robinson RBI double and Rachel Defnet RBI single, but that was the only serious rally the Indians mounted.
The Chargers countered with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of one physical error and a couple of mental errors by the Indians.
After that, Hamilton cruised into the finish line on the dreary, drippy day to end the Falls' season at 17-5.
"What did we have, four or five errors today?" asked Wolff rhetorically. "You just can't do that and expect to win a game like this."
"The girls just had a great team attitude today," said Lawinger. "We're very happy that we were able to get them to play this way in an important game like this."
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