Stratford tops Marathon in nine innings to win WIAA Division 3 softball sectional semifinal
Tigers to play defending D-3 state champ Laconia in sectional final Thursday
By Paul Lecker
NEILLSVILLE — It took about 25 hours, but the Stratford softball team finally was able to put a postseason win on the board against conference-rival Marathon.
The game, which started Tuesday, resumed Wednesday afternoon in the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied at 2-2 after rain forced the WIAA Division 3 softball sectional semifinal to be suspended.
The Tigers scratched out a run in the top of the ninth and held on to beat Marathon 3-2 to advance to a sectional final Thursday at Plover. Stratford (19-6) will take on No. 1-ranked and defending D-3 champion Laconia (26-0) in a sectional final at 4:30 p.m. at Woyak Park. The winner advances to the 2016 WIAA State Softball Tournament in Madison on June 9-11, a tournament in which Stratford has never played.
Marathon had beaten Stratford twice during the regular season to outlast the Tigers for the Marawood Conference South Division championship and had knocked Stratford out of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs in each of the past five seasons.
Casey Kolbeck singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sammy Griesbach, and scored on a single by Brittany Bredemann to put Stratford in the lead in the ninth.
After Kenya Kaldunski singled to lead off the bottom of the inning for the Raiders, Stratford pitcher Kiana Weiler struck out a batter. Kaldunski was then gunned down by Bredemann, the Tigers’ catcher, trying to advance on a ball in the dirt, and Weiler got the final batter to ground out to end it.
Weiler pitched all nine innings for Stratford, scattering five hits and allowing just the two runs, both coming in the second inning.
Lorrie Luepke drove in a run on a ground out in the third, and Bredemann delivered an RBI single in the fifth to tie the game at 2-2 for the Tigers.
Stratford got out of a jam in the eighth with a double play and took advantage by plating the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 3, Raiders 2
Stratford 001 010 001 – 3 5 4
Marathon 002 000 000 – 2 5 4
WP: Kiana Weiler. LP: Cameron Sonnentag.
SO: Weiler 3; Sonnentag 3. BB: Weiler 3; Sonnentag 4.
Top hitters: S, Brittany Bredemann 2×4, 2 RBIs; Sammy Griesbach 2×3, 2 runs; Lorrie Luepke RBI.
Records: Stratford 19-6; Marathon 15-6.