Stratford softball holds off Marathon to claim share of Marawood South title
Kiana Weiler earns win, has big two-run single for Tigers
By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD — The Stratford softball program is back on top of the Marawood Conference South Division.
The Tigers rode the arm of freshman Kiana Weiler and used some timely hitting to beat Marathon 5-3 on Monday at Hilgemann Field.
The win pushes Stratford into a tie for the Marawood South championship with Marathon as both teams end the conference season with 11-1 records.
The title is Stratford’s first in the conference since winning three in a row from 2009-11.
“For this group, they have set their sights on it (the conference title) from day one,” Stratford coach Mandy Pankratz said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. They have worked their butts off in practice every night and buy into the philosophy that this is a team effort across the board.”
After allowing a run in the first inning, Weiler cruised through the middle innings, retiring 13-straight at one point.
In the meantime the Tigers pulled ahead.
In the third inning, after a hit and a pair of walks loaded the bases, Casey Kolbeck was hit by a pitch to force in the tying run.
Weiler followed with a single up the middle to score two more and put the Tigers (19-4 overall) up 3-1.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Brittany Bredemann and made it 5-1 in the fifth on an RBI single by Kolbeck.
A single by Julia Anderson with two outs in the sixth inning ended Weiler’s streak at 13-straight batters retired. Natasha Hanke followed with a two-run home run to center field, and suddenly Marathon was back in the game, down only 5-3.
Weiler immediately settled back in, getting the final out of the inning and retiring the first two of the seventh.
An error brought Marathon (16-5 overall) leadoff hitter Emily Kind and her .600 batting average to the plate as the potential tying run. Weiler was unfazed, getting Kind to ground out to third to end the game.
“I think the home run was not a terrible pitch by her (Weiler),” Pankratz said. “It was right where it needed to be. Credit to them, they can hit the ball, and they are a phenomenal team. For her to settle down, as a freshman out there and come back, that’s a lot of composure she showed.”
Weiler finished with five strikeouts and no walks to improve to 4-0 in conference games this season.
Stratford will wrap up its regular-season schedule Tuesday with a nonconference game at home against Rib Lake. The WIAA playoffs begin May 26.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 5, Raiders 3
Marathon 100 002 0 – 3 6 0
Stratford 003 110 x – 5 9 2
WP: Kiana Weiler. LP: Bria Jahnke.
SO: Jahnke (3 1/3 inn.) 5, Cameron Sonnentag (2 2/3 inn.) 3; Weiler 5. BB: Yahnke 5, Sonnentag 1; Weiler 0.
Top hitters: M, Natasha Hanke HR, 2 RBIs. S, Sammy Griesbach 2 runs; Dallas Adams 2×3; Casey Kolbeck 2 RBIs; Kaylee Geiger 2×3; Weiler 2 RBIs.
Records: Marathon 16-5, 11-1 Marawood South; Stratford 19-4, 11-1 Marawood South.