T-Birds punch ticket to state
Iola-Scandinavia softball team heading to Madison
By Greg Seubert
Twenty-four teams will head to Madison for the WIAA State Softball Softball Tournament.
That list of 24 includes the Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds will make the program’s first trip to state and take on Horicon at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in a Division 4 semifinal at Goodman Diamond in Madison. Grantsburg will face Luther in the other semifinal matchup and the winners will play for a state title at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 11.
Iola-Scandinavia advanced to state with a pair of one-run wins over Random Lake and Bonduel. The T-Birds defeated Random Lake 6-5 June 2 in a sectional final at Appleton East High School and handed Bonduel its only loss of the season – 4-3 in nine innings – May 31.
Iola-Scandy 6, Random Lake 5
The T-Birds opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Makayla Much drew a one-out walk, Marin Hoyord singled and both runners moved up on a passed ball. Maddie Much singled in the game’s first run, while Hoyord scored on a hard-hit fielder’s choice by Myah Heschke.
Iola-Scandinavia added two more runs in the third inning. Makayla Much led off with a double to left field and Hoyord followed with an RBI double to center field. After Hoyord advanced to third base on a passed ball, Hoyord scored on Maddie Much’s groundout.
Random Lake responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the third inning to cut the lead to one run, but Iola-Scandinavia scored a run in the fourth and fifth to increase its lead to 6-3.
In the fourth, Chloe Timdal singled and advanced to second on Jadyn Krusa’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Jaelyn Sivertson’s double. In the fifth, Alexa Christoph singled, advanced to third on a double by Maddie Much and scored on another Heschke groundout.
Random Lake scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it a one-run game.
Pitcher Maddie Much and the T-Bird defense set the Rams down in order in the sixth inning, but knew they would face the top of the order in the seventh.
After getting the leadoff batter out, Random Lake put the next two runners on base on an error and hit batter. With the tying and winning runs on base and facing two of the Rams’ power hitters, Much got each of them to hit infield pop-ups to Sivertson. The final out came on a high pop-up to third baseman Julia Munoz in foul territory.
Hoyord and Maddie Much each had two hits, including a double, and drove in one and two runs, respectively. Makayla Much and Sivertson each had a double, while Sivertson also drove in a run. Heschke didn’t have a hit, but drove in two runs on two separate groundouts.
Much pitched all seven innings to earn the win. She allowed eight hits, walked a batter and had two strikeouts.
“How incredible is this,” coach Tom Anderson said. “What a great feeling. What a great accomplishment for this team and the softball program. I’m excited for our players, their families, their friends, our coaches and their families, the school and the communities of Iola and Scandinavia.
“I think back to so many players in the past who played for us and many of them were very good players and very good teams that fell just short of making it to state,” he said. “This kind of brings it all together for all of them and this 2022 team did it.”
Iola-Scandy 4, Bonduel 3 (9 inn.)
It took two extra innings, but the T-Birds beat Central Wisconsin Conference-East champion and previously undefeated Bonduel, a team that had beaten the T-Birds twice during the regular season.
Bonduel scored runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead, but the T- Birds scored three runs in the top of the fifth to go up 3-2.
Sivertson and Makayla Much started the rally with one-out singles. Sivertson scored from third base after the Bears attempted to make a play on Much stealing second. Christoph followed with a single to score Much and Heschke drove Christoph in with another single.
After Bonduel tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth, both teams held each other scoreless until the top of the ninth. Hoyord singled to start the inning and Maddie Much singled to put runners on first and second.
Timdal then hit a fly ball single that landed just inside the fair-foul line that scored Hoyord from second with what proved to be the winning run.
The T-Birds’ defense then retired Bonduel in order in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
Iola-Scandinavia outhit Bonduel 14-8. Hoyord, Makayla Much and Sivertson each had three hits and Maddie Much added two, Christoph, Heschke and Timdal each had one hit, but each drove in a run to account for three of the T-Birds’ four runs.
Maddie Much pitched all nine innings to earn the win. She allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out five batters.