Zdroik's single helps Menomonee Falls softball team team return to state tourney
Indians to face Germantown
Menomonee Falls sophomore Ashley Zdroik made the most of her second chance, and the Indians will get a second chance at state because of it.
Zdroik's RBI single scored pinch runner Tina Kolinski in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift Falls over Watertown, 2-1, in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final Thursday, June 5 at Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc.
"We discussed as a team that we didn't come this far to lose," Zdroik said. "I didn't come here to lose. With a runner on third, I just figured, 'make contact and hit it somewhere in the field.'"
Falls (25-4) advances to the WIAA State Tournament in Madison for the second year in a row. The Indians will face border rival and four-time North Shore Conference champion Germantown (20-8) in a state quarterfinal game at Goodman Diamond on the UW-Madison campus at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12.
The winner will advance to the semifinals at approximately 8 p.m., Friday, June 13.
Last season, the Indians made the state semifinals. Falls beat Germantown, 12-2, in the first game of the season.
"State is an amazing experience," Zdroik said. "It definitely is on your mind to get back all season, and we're just really, really excited to get to do it again." (see separate column for full preview).
Zdroik was happy to get the key hit because it was her miscue in the second inning that caused the Indians to miss a big opportunity to break the game open. With one out and runners and second and third, Zdroik took too big a lead off third base. After Emma Buhr missed a slap bunt attempt and struck out, Zdroik was caught leaning for the final out.
"Mistakes happen," Zdroik said. "I try to brush it off the best I can and know there are going to be more opportunities in the game to make up for it."
Another baserunning gaffe at third base, this time from Watertown, also played a major role in the outcome. Goslings' junior Abby Miller led off the top of the seventh with a double to center. With no outs, Miller took off on a dropped strike, but Falls catcher Justine Ertl recovered in time and threw Miller out with a laser to third.
"(Miller) has a green light to do that," said Watertown coach Patty Jansen, whose team ended the season 22-7.
Falls coach Lou Sanicola noted Ertl's poise in even attempting the throw when Miller seemed to have an easy path to third, given that a misfire could tie the game.
"We try to practice doing things as quickly as we can," Sanicola said. "We try to throw the girls into high-pressure, tense situations. There's very little room for error, and (Ertl) made a great throw."
In the first inning, Ertl's RBI double scored Claire Mohrfeld for a 1 -0 lead. She also provided the single for which Kolinski pinch ran and scored the game-winning run.
Junior Kelly Berglund picked up the win for the Indians, surrendering very little after an error led to a Goslings run in the bottom of the second. Watertown's Megan Bacchi bunted to score Paige Miller, supplying the last offense of the game until the sixth. It was a much tighter matchup than April 11, when Falls picked up a 7-1 victory against the Goslings.
"At this stage of the season, every team you're going to play is really, really good," Sanicola said. "And Watertown is. But the girls played a great game, and they earned it. Having that experience of going to state last year certainly helps your team."
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