The Menomonee Falls softball team is hitting its stride and anxious to prove that last year's run into the WIAA state semifinals was not a fluke.
The Indians took another big step along the way on Tuesday afternoon, as centerfielder Stephanie Cole broke a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fifth of a WIAA sectional semifinal with Arrowhead with a home run to centerfield.
That shot opened the floodgates to a seven-run inning as Falls cruised to a 10-0 six-inning victory in the last game of the season on the Indians' new home field between the high school and Ben Franklin.
With the win, Falls will now travel to Oconomowoc on Thursday at 5 p.m. to face Watertown in the sectional final for the right to advance to the WIAA State Tournament in Madison, June 12-14.
It is a rematch of a game the Indians won over a two-day span due to rain delays last season. They will carry an 11-game win streak and a 24-4 overall mark into the contest.
"Last year, I think people really underestimated us," said pitcher Kelly Berglund who scattered three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings of work. "We want to show that we can still compete at that level."
Coach Lou Sanicola feels that the Indians are doing that already especially after the offensive explosion in the fifth inning.
"I had a feeling that the bats would come around," he said. "The pitching and defense are pretty sound. The girls are comfortable and they've learned from past experience that they can't take anybody lightly."
He was impressed with Berglund, who threw her second straight shutout in WIAA tourney play.
"We all know that she's a battler," said Sanicola. "She's not going to give in to any batter even with baserunners on. In situations like that, she just clamps down even harder."
And when she has her offense behind her, the Indians become that much closer to unstoppable.
Like in the fifth, whern Cole's homer was followed by six more hits, including a three-run double by Claire Mohrfeld. Cole even knocked in another run to close the scoring in the frame.
The "mercy" rule was invoked in the sixth when Falls scored three more runs including a two-run homer by Peyton Brokiewicz.
That sent the large crowd that had gathered on a beautiful afternoon home happy and with the Indians thinking about state again.
"We're playing hard and confident right now," said Berglund.
"They're very poised right now," he said. "We've had sharp practices and the kids have worked hard on the fundamentals. We've known since last season that we've had a target on our backs.
"We just want to prove that we're one of the best teams in the state."
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