On paper, Friday's WIAA Division 4 softball state semifinal game between New Lisbon and Newman Catholic was going to be an old-fashioned pitcher's duel. Starters Michaela Vinz and Brianna Jankowski both carried season ERA's under 1.50 and combined for 14 shutouts this year.
So it came as no surprise that through the first three innings neither team registered a hit.
Jankowski in the fourth inning came up with the game's first hit. Her triple scored Christina Grunow who walked in the previous at-bat and the Fighting Cardinals took a lead they would never relinquish.
Newman Catholic then pushed another three runs across on two hits in the fifth inning, giving them a 4-0 advantage.
"We just made a couple of mistakes today," said New Lisbon head coach Steve Loew. "And a game like this you can't do that. I give credit to my team, we played hard and fought to the end."
The Rockets broke up Jankowski's no-hitter in the sixth inning when freshman Adele Hansen reached first on an infield hit. New Lisbon would score their only run of the game later that inning on a sacrifice groundout to make it 4-1, the game's final score.
"Normally there are tears at the end of the season," said the senior Vinz after the game. "But how can you be sad when you make it to state? There's nothing to hang our heads about. We're one of the top four teams in the state left."
"I'm very proud of the 13 girls behind me. Exceptional year," added Loew.
"We were a good team and headstrong and we just went after everything," said senior catcher Samantha Olson. "Our motto is 'Finish'. And this was a nice place to finish."