Eight run inning becomes the difference in battle of undefeated foes
By Jacob Heid
PLOVER – The Pacelli and Almond-Bancroft softball teams were off to fast starts to open the 2023 season.
With both teams sitting at 7-0, the two Central Wisconsin-South teams collided at Woyak Park’s Spud Field on Apr. 21.
In what was a low-scoring affair early, Pacelli ran away with an 11-2 win after scoring eight runs in the sixth inning.
Seven different batters collected hits for the Cardinals, with freshman Kaydyn Nelson leading the way with three hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore Katy Ilkka and freshman Kelsea Giese also collected two RBIs in the win.
Almond-Bancroft collected four hits, with senior Raegen Omernik having a pair of those hits.
The Eagles had multiple hard hits early on, but Pacelli’s defense proved too much to get anyone on base.
Pacelli played small ball in the home half of the second, getting a runner over to third and striking first.
Giese got her first RBI of the game with a single to left field, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Pacelli coach Ann Molski’s message to the team was about execution.
“Earlier in the game, we executed those bunts. We had some bunts down, and we scored because of the bunts,” Molski said. “The execution was there today, so we were able to take care of that.”
The Eagles answered with a strong fourth inning at the plate.
Omernik and freshman Aaliyah Newby drove in the only two runs with an RBI single and sacrifice fly, respectively.
Pacelli would get that run back and more to take a 3-2 advantage into the fifth inning.
Junior Hannah Trzinski ended her day in the circle after four innings for Pacelli.
She finished with two runs (zero earned) on three hits and one strikeout.
Sophomore Peyton Mancel came in for relief, dealing from the moment she stepped in.
Mancel steered the ship during the last three innings, allowing one hit and striking out six Almond-Bancroft batters.
The Eagles have scored 96 runs in their first seven games, so holding them to two runs is a difference-maker.
“We had two different pitchers and two different pitching styles. When you see a pitcher a third time, usually that third time is when you’re going to get on top of her,” Molski explained. “We did not give them that advantage.”
Pacelli got to see freshman Riya Ceballos a third time and took advantage.
The Cardinals batted around in the bottom of the sixth and broke the game wide open by scoring eight runs in the frame.
These two will meet again on Tuesday, May 9, as both teams are the top two in the CWC-South.