Wildcats finish perfect regular season

For the second consecutive season, Blair-Taylor softball has finished the regular season with a perfect record.

Despite returning only four players from the team that accomplished the same feat in 2019, and enduring a 2020 season cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wildcats ran the table once again.

More than 13 runs per game, less than two surrendered per game, 10 shutouts, five no-hitters and a mere eight games that had margins of victory of less than 10 runs were just some of the highlights of a 24-0 run this regular season for B-T.

The Wildcats completed the gauntlet this week with a 14-1 win over Pepin/Alma, followed by a late-inning comeback win over Fall Creek to stay perfect.

The win over P/A clinched an 18-0 Dairyland Conference title season as well. B-T entered the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division Four regional tournament as the top seed, pitting them against eighth-seeded Durand (9-7) on Monday. A win would advance them to a Wednesday regional final matchup against the winner of fourth-seeded Edgar and fifth-seeded Auburndale. Sectional play begins this coming Monday.

B-T 14 P/A 1

Nine runs in the first inning carried B-T to victory in a five-inning mercy rule-shortened affair last Monday over the Eagles.

Run-scoring singles from Abby Thompson, Callie Wagner, McKenna Boe and an RBI double by Lindsay Steien as the lineup turned over were the highlights of the opening inning. Steien made that lead stand up for the first three innings, shutting out P/A while allowing only two hits and striking out five. Chloe Wagner took over to pitch the final two innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit and three walks while striking out three.

A four-hit day from Thompson led all hitters for B-T, which included a double, four driven in and one run scored. Steien also reached all three times she came to the plate, including two doubles, a single, two RBIs and three runs scored. Alivia Boe also tallied two of the team’s 14 hits.

B-T 10 Fall Creek 9

The final hurdle for an undefeated regular season proved to be a challenging one for the Wildcats, but a comeback in the late innings preserved perfection. B-T trailed 7-4 after four innings, due in part to a four-run bottom of the fourth from Fall Creek.

With one out in the top of the fifth and a runner aboard, an error off the bat of Leah Kidd allowed Thompson to score from second. After a single by Callie Wagner to follow, McKenna Boe doubled to right to score one and put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. An RBI-groundout by Emma Johnson tied the game at seven to cap a three-run top of the fifth.

Fall Creek took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, with a leadoff walk coming around to score on a sacrifice bunt and an error.

B-T got a big swing at just the right time in the next half inning, as two errors set the table for Chloe Wagner with no one out. Wagner connected on a three-run blast to left field, giving the Wildcats the 10-8 lead in the top of the sixth.

A leadoff walk by Steien in the bottom of the sixth came around to score two hitters later on a base hit, but Steien was able to limit the damage the rest of the way. She struck out the next two to end the sixth, and stranded the tying run at second in the seventh by inducing a ground ball back to the mound.

Steien took the win, pitching the final two-and-a-third innings for the Wildcats in relief of Thompson. She allowed one run on one hit and two walks while striking out five. Thompson allowed eight runs — four earned — on nine hits and three walks while striking out two over the first four-and-two-thirds on the mound.

Chloe Wagner’s two hits including the three-run home run led hitters for B-T. Steien had two hits and scored twice, and Callie Wagner had another two of the nine team hits for the day, also tallying two driven in, a walk and a run scored.

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