Gillett/Suring softball team ousts Menominee Indian from playoffs

STAA/Lena also earns regional quarterfinal win
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The seventh-seeded Gillett/Suring softball team earned a 15-4 victory in five innings over 10th-seeded Menominee Indian in a Division 3 regional quarterfinal playoff game on May 18 in Gillett.

Despite the final score, the contest was a back-and-forth battle in the early going.

Menominee Indian scored once in the first inning, with Natalie Peters singling home Aniya Peters, who had reached earlier on an error.

Gillett/Suring came back with four runs in its half of the first. A Menominee Indian error allowed Kylie Kallies to score all the way from first base for the first run.

Autumn Dryja then plated Cilena Guns with a single before another Menominee Indian error allowed Emma Kristof to score. Parker Zahn, who was courtesy running for Dryja, then scored as Menominee Indian threw to first to secure a dropped third strike.

The visiting Eagles came back with three runs in the second frame to tie things up.

A Gillett/Suring error allowed Ana Sanapaw to score the first run. Another misplay from the hosts allowed Mylee Dixon and Gracie Wayka to score and tie the game.

Gillett/Suring settled in after that, outscoring Menominee Indian 11-0 the rest of the way to come away with the playoff win.

“I settled in just by trusting my defense and knowing that if I give them a good pitch to swing at and they hit it, that my defense is right behind me to back everything up and help me,” said Dryja.

Dryja ended up pitching all five innings for the hosts. None of the runs she allowed were earned.

Kristof gave Gillett/Suring the lead for good with a two-run inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the second inning. Claire Pommerich, courtesy running for Guns, scored ahead of Kristof on the play.

Zahn, again courtesy running for Autumn Dryja, scored Gillett/Suring’s seventh run when Mackenzie Bailey plated her with a groundout. Morgan Dryja scored on an Emily Peterson flyout before the floodgates opened for the hosts.

Kallies singled to bring home McKenzie Chesterfield. An error on a hard-hit liner by Kristof allowed Kallies and courtesy runner Pommerich to score. Bailey Stuart then hit an inside-the-park two-run homer of her own, with Kristof scoring in front of her.

“I think we all picked our pitch and waited on the pitch we could all actually hit and not force ourselves to swing at bad pitches,” said Kristof of the co-op’s big day at the plate.

After Dryja worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Gillett/Suring tallied two more runs in the fifth to finish off the scoring in the contest. This time it was Chesterfield that had a two-run inside-the-park home run, with Morgan Dryja scoring in front of her.

Gillett/Suring will next hit the road for a regional semifinal battle with second-seeded Amherst on May 23.

“It feels good seeing last year we lost in our first round of playoffs,” said Kristof of the playoff win. “This will probably be one of our best years because of our seniors.”

“It’s special to me to be a part of it, so that the seniors can continue playing and it isn’t their last game,” said Autumn Dryja. “We’re really close with them…”

Aniya Peters pitched all four innings for Menominee Indian, striking out seven batters along the way.

Other regional quarterfinals

Shawano, Bowler/Gresham, St. Thomas Aquinas Academy/Lena and Marion were the other area softball teams that played regional quarterfinals on May 18.

STAA/Lena was the only team that earned a win. The seventh-seeded co-op topped 10th-seeded Elcho 14-12 in Marinette in a Division 5 matchup.

STAA/Lena will battle No. 2 Florence in a regional semifinal on May 23 in Florence.

Ninth-seeded Shawano was eliminated after a 1-0 loss to eighth-seeded Rhinelander in a Division 2 battle in Rhinelander.

The hosts scored the contest’s lone run in the second inning. Shawano ended up outhitting Rhinelander 5-3.

Marissa Tomashek had two hits for Shawano. Braylyn Babino walked once and had one hit.

Kadence Meyers was dealt the tough loss in the circle. She struck out eight batters.

Ninth-seeded Marion was topped 14-4 by eighth-seeded Rosholt in a Division 5 matchup in Rosholt.

Ninth-seeded Bowler/Gresham was defeated 20-1 by eighth-seeded Crandon in a Division 4 contest in Crandon.