Pulaski wins softball regional title on walk-off

Red Raiders prevail against conference foe
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Pulaski High School softball team won a Division 1 regional title on May 25 after topping Fox River Classic Conference foe Bay Port 2-1 in Pulaski.

Third-seeded Pulaski won in dramatic fashion, with Haleigh Oleson scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“It feels really good,” said Oleson of the regional title win. “Bay Port is a tough team, and we showed that we can win against a well-rounded team. It was definitely a total team effort as well; everyone played their role perfectly.

“It also feels good being in the position to win the game for our team and being trusted enough to make the final read on the play. Sharing that final game-winning moment with my teammates was an amazing experience, especially on the back end of a senior season.”

Pulaski’s other run in the contest came back in the second inning. Paige Abendroth scored that run, also on a wild pitch.

In between the two runs, there was a pitcher’s duel between the two conference teams. In the end, it was Pulaski’s Morgan Vertz who came out the winner in that battle.

Vertz scattered five hits and worked around one walk in her seven innings of work. She allowed the only run in the fifth inning. Vertz struck out five batters, and 60 of her 90 pitches were strikes.

“Bay Port is a good hitting team, so they definitely made me work for it, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without my defense behind me either,” said Vertz. “When the count got full, I just kept telling myself: ‘Keep going at them, and your defense will take care of the rest.’”

Pulaski ended up outhitting sixth-seeded Bay Port 7-5 in the contest. Abendroth and Ella Killinger tallied two hits each for the hosts. All seven of the host’s hits were singles.

“It is very special for our team to win the regional title because our team has worked day in and day out for this experience,” said Abendroth. “Every single one of us shows up to practice every day and works their butt off. We earned this title, and we are very proud of it.”

“Winning this regional title I think is a really big confidence boost for our team,” said Vertz. “Our defense was on fire, and that’s a really good feeling to have going into sectionals on Tuesday (May 30).”

Pulaski will face another conference opponent in that game, battling second-seeded Green Bay Preble in Green Bay.

In the first playoff game for the Red Raiders, they made things look easy on their way to a 15-0 win over 14th-seeded Green Bay West/East on May 23 in Pulaski.

Pulaski scored five runs in the first inning, two in the second, six in the third and two more in the fourth.

Molly Molthen, Cassie Benberg, Nicole Berna and Hailey Wiedeman each delivered two hits for Pulaski. Abendroth scored three runs, while Benberg and Molthen scored twice each.

Vertz and Abendroth teamed up in the circle to post the shutout. Vertz struck out eight batters over the nine outs she got and only allowed one hit. Abendroth struck out a pair to work around a couple hits in her inning of work.