Bouncing back quickly from its lone loss of the season, the Whitnall softball team beat one of the state's best in Westosha Central at the Poynette Tournament on May 7.
The Falcons tipped Central, 3-2, in a thrilling game to move to 17-1 on the season.
Also at Poynette, they routed Badger South Conference leader Stoughton, 12-0, behind a sharp pitching performance by Sarah Bauer.
They also drubbed Brown Deer, 26-2, on May 5 and Pius XI, 17-0, on May 3 on a perfect game by Bauer to improve to 10-0 in Woodland Conference action.
Whitnall will battle rival Greenfield for first place in the Woodland East Division at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at home. A victory would put the Falcons a full two games ahead of the Hustlin' Hawks, who they beat, 1-0, earlier this season.
The game shapes up as another pitcher's duel between Greenfield ace Bella Matthias and Whitnall's Bauer or Alex Cimler, both of whom have been dominant this season.
The Falcons did lose for the first time this season with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of perennial power Kenosha Bradford on May 4, but they put that game behind them quickly.
Whitnall 3, Westosha 2: the Falcons took the early lead when Haley Wynn singled, took second on a bunt by Kayla Jaskulski and third on a fly ball from Cimler and scored on a single from Mackenzie Sutton.
Central tied the game with a solo run in the bottom of the fifth, but Bauer prevented what could have been much more damage.
Westosha loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles; then Bauer relieved Cimler. She hit the first batter to force in a run but then retired the side on a fly ball to shallow right field, a soft liner to first and a strikeout to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth, Wynn singled and Jaskulski walked for Whitnall. A double steal was put on, and when a throw to third bounced into left field, Wynn came home to break the tie. Cimler then singled in Jaskulski to make it 3-1.
Central rallied in its half of the sixth. Elaine Anderson reached on an error, and on a single by Kayla Kerkman, outfielder Jaskulski cut down Anderson trying to go to third. Another single put runners on first and second, and Alyssa Hrncar singled in Kerkman before a flyout ended that inning.
In the seventh, a single put the tying run on base, but Bauer got a strikeout and then snagged a line drive and tossed to first for a double play.
Whitnall 12, Stoughton 0: Bauer allowed three hits and threw only 59 pitches.
'She worked through the lineup, spotting her pitches and letting her defense do the work behind her,' coach Tom Hickman said.
Whitnall tallied twice in the first inning on back-to-back run-scoring singles by Sutton and Emily LaMonte.
The Falcons scored five runs in the third on singles by Jaskulski, LaMonte and Nadalia Haita and RBI doubles from Bauer and Kathryn Bay.
Whitnall added five in the sixth, with Cimler, Jaskulski and LeMonte delivering singles and Maddy Lenzke and Haita doubling in runs.
The Falcons finished with 17 hits, including five doubles. LaMonte went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Haita was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Cimler, Sutton, Bay, Jaskulski and Lenzke each had two hits.
Whitnall 17, Pius XI 0: Bauer threw a five-inning perfect game and struck out 13 of 15 batters. Bay went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and Sutton 3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs.
Whitnall 26, Brown Deer 2: The Falcons tallied 14 runs in the first two innings to take control. Bay had two hits and drove in six runs; LaMonte three hits and two RBIs; Lenzke and Hannah Gueller collected four RBIs each; and Ryleigh Hickman three RBIs.
Mackenzie Stafford picked up the pitching victory.
Bradford 4, Whitnall 3: Wynn and Cimler each had two hits, and Cimler took the loss despite seven strikeouts for the Falcons, who had the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh.