EagleHerald Sports Editor
PESHTIGO—Clutch hits from Grace Wickman, Allison Peters and Bethany Ahrens coupled with savvy base running by Sam Kodric helped the Peshtigo softball team come from behind to pick up a 4-3 victory over Oconto Falls on Saturday.
The Bulldogs found themselves down 1-0 early after the Panthers’ Alexis Euclide crossed home plate on a wild pitch from Peters but battled back with a three-run third inning to take the lead.
After Oconto Falls tacked on another run in the top of the sixth, Kodric worked a one-out walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch, then moving up to third after a grounder by Emma Gilligan. Now with two outs and a runner in scoring position, Peshtigo caught a break after Lily Kurek uncorked her second wild pitch of the inning, allowing Kodric to break for home and score the game’s winning run with a slide across the plate to make it a 4-3 game.
Ahrens was tasked with getting the final three outs and needed just two pitches to retire Jamesen Engel and Sydney Bell before striking out Ashlyn Allen looking to shut the door.
Saturday’s win was the Bulldogs’ fifth straight to open the season. Peshtigo kicked off 2021 with a doubleheader against Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran on Thursday and dominated both games, winning game one 19-0 before taking game two 30-0.
Wickman pitched a perfect game in game one while Ahrens gave up just two hits in game two. Karli Cahill smacked a home run to power and offense that has had little trouble putting up runs so far this year.
Peshtigo hosted Sevastopol in a doubleheader on Friday with similar results to the prior doubleheader, with the Bulldogs winning 10-0 in game one and dominating game two 26-0.
Wickman went five innings in game one against Sevastopol, striking out eight, while Cahill once again sparked the offense with three RBIS. Lexi Kehoe also tallied two RBIS on three hits with Ahrens adding two more RBIs. Cahill added six more RBIs in game two while Ahrens had four hits and five RBIs. She also pitched four innings in game two, striking out nine.
“Oconto Falls is a good team. They’ve always had good softball and they’ve always been well coached. I told our girls that we had to bring our A-game today because last night’s game (against Sevastopol) wasn’t much competition,” Peshtigo head coach Bill Wickman said. “We had to earn this one and we did. We fell behind early, came back and went ahead, they tied it up and we needed to manufacture a run late in the ball game and our girls came through. We got that big run at the bottom of the sixth that really helped.”
The Bulldogs were held in check early against the Panthers on Saturday, as Arndt did not allow a hit or issue a free pass through two innings while Oconto Falls jumped out to an early lead.
Peshtigo’s offense woke up in the third with Gilligan taking first base on a walk before moving up to second on a bunt single by Kehoe. Wickman stepped up to the plate and drilled an RBI single to the outfield to score Gilligan and tie the game at 1-1 before Kehoe scored thanks to an RBI single from Peters that gave the Bulldogs the lead. Another RBI single, this one from Ahrens, allowed Wickman to score and push Peshtigo’s lead to 3-1.
“We got some big hits in timely situations, Coach Wickman said, “We have a good hitting team but we made it easy for them (Oconto Falls) a few innings. One inning they pitched the ball four times and we were out and another inning it was five. I never want to take the bats out of their hands but we need to be smarter looking for pitches earlier in the count that we know we’re going to hit hard and drive in. The girls put the bat on the ball and don’t strike out a lot, which is good.”
The teams held each other scoreless until the sixth inning, when Kyndra Staidl scored thanks to an error before an RBI single from Allen tied matters up 3-3.
Peters earned her first win of the year on the mound, going six complete innings and allowing five hits and three earned runs while only walking one and striking out two.
“Allison did a great job for us,” Coach Wickman said. “I wanted to give her the opportunity to start and I let her go as long as possible. She pitched a great ball game and then Bethany came in and shut the door. She’s going to get the ball in big games.”
Arndt took the loss, lasting three innings while allowing four hits and three earned runs with one walk.
Kehoe powered Peshtigo’s offense, going two-for-two at the plate with a walk and a run scored. Peters was two-for-four with an RBI.
The Bulldogs look to continue their winning ways with a doubleheader at Algoma (4-4) on Tuesday. First pitch is at 4:30 p.m.
PESHTIGO—0 0 3 0 0 1 x—4
OCONTO FALLS—1 0 0 0 0 2 0—3
WP—Peters 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 K
LP—Arndt 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB
Leading hitters (Peshtigo)—Kehoe 2x2, BB, R; Peters 2x4, RBI, Wickman 1x4, RBI, R; Ahrens 1x3, RBI.