Greenfield - The first time that the Whitnall softball team played against Cudahy this season, the Falcons came out with a 4-3 victory, but the rematch on Monday evening was drastically different.
This time, the Packers earned a 12-5 triumph in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal contest.
The theme of the day for the Packers was their offense, as they churned out 22 hits.
Their biggest inning was the third, when they turned the tables on the Falcons, erasing a 4-2 deficit and turning it into a 6-4 lead. Katie Immel started things off with a double up the third-base line and Emilie Wiltzius drove her in with a double.
She later took third when Erica Bornhofer grounded out, and Tori McCudden drove Wiltzius in on a single to tie the game.
Bailey Kratt followed with a single, and Marissa Nelson's double brought in two more runs to give Cudahy the lead.
"My team is definitely capable of hitting; we've shown that today and I'm proud of them," said Cudahy coach Justin Biever.
Punishing at the plate
Cudahy continued its hitting onslaught in the fourth inning, when Wiltzius hit a double to bring in Immel and subsequently scored on a single from Bornhofer, making it 8-4.
Immel, Wiltzius, Bornhofer and McCudden combined once again at the end of the seventh inning for three hits and three more runs just after Cassie Hall had been batted home by Jenna Jagler, who pitched all seven innings for the Packers.
Whitnall coach Tom Hickman said, "The last time we faced them we pitched Carolyn (Dudek). When they hit the ball last time, they hit it right at people. Today they kind of jumped it. They have power and the ability to hit the ball pretty much wherever they want."
The first couple of innings had looked promising for Whitnall. In the second, Amber Rueth sparked a two-out rally with a double up the middle. Lizzy Menden followed suit with her own double, which brought Rueth and Renee Caron home to tie the game at 2-2.
Maria James then hit a single and brought Menden home before Dudek hit a double, bringing James home.
The next tally Whitnall mustered, though, was a consolation run in the seventh.
"We had a great start with the four runs in the second inning, but they hit the ball well and we made some mistakes on defense," Hickman said. "We struggled to get the big hit."
The Falcons, who finished 18-7, defeated Catholic Memorial, 8-7, on May 31 and New Berlin West, 7-4, on May 29 to claim a regional championship.
Close victory over Memorial
Against Memorial, which had upset top seed New Berlin Eisenhower, Kim Robinson struck quickly with a two-run double in the first inning. James singled in two runs and Dudek doubled in another in the second.
In the third, Liz Thon doubled in Robinson, who had tripled, and scored on a pop-up to the shortstop. Rueth singled in the sixth and came home on James' groundout.
Memorial came within 8-7 in the seventh and had runners on second and third. Dudek finished the game with a strikeout and fly to Menden in center field.
James finished with two hits and three RBIs and Robinson two hits and two RBIs. Dudek allowed five hits and struck out six to get the victory.
"We came out hitting the ball hard," Hickman said. "As we've moved down the stretch, the biggest thing for us has been getting consistent hitting."
The Falcons did so on May 29 against New Berlin West, which had beaten them, 10-0, earlier this season. They tallied four in the first, keyed by a two-run double from Thon and RBI single by Caron.
Amanda Rosenwald's RBI single made it 5-0 in the third to help Dudek, who finished with seven strikeouts for the game.
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