Softball: Florence wins share of first NLC championship

FLORENCE, Wis. — Florence earned a share of its first Northern Lakes Conference championship Thursday.

When Three Lake and Laona-Wabeno split a doubleheader Thursday, that gave the Bobcats a share of the league title with an 8-2 record.

“This is a great bunch of kids that gets better all the time,” said Florence coach Dan Robinson. “I am very proud of them.”

Three Lakes also wound up with two losses on the NLC season.

In a non-conference game Thursday, Kendra Milan hit her fourth home run of the season and Florence drilled Crivitz 17-7 in a six-inning game.

In the tune-up for next week’s regional tournament, Bobcats pitcher Kathleen Selden pitched into the sixth inning where Sydney Tomczak retired the final two hitters. Selden scattered 10 hits and walked three.

Along with her inside-the-park home run, Milan added a triple and two singles. Tomczak and Jordyn Springer also had four hits.

“We hit the heck out of the ball,” said Robinson of his team’s 20-hit attack.

Faith Neuens and Selden added three hits apiece.

Florence, owning a 7-5 lead after two innings, tacked on four runs in the third, three in the fifth and three in the sixth.

Hailie Mullen, the only senior on the Bobcats, scored the game-ending run in the sixth inning.

“Hailie played the whole game in right field,” Robinson noted.

Florence (11-2), No. 1 seed for its Division 5 regional tourney, winds up the regular season today at Northland Pines in Eagle River.

Coleman beats Niagara

NIAGARA, Wis. — Coleman, behind the one-hit pitching of Annabelle Kotecki, blanked Niagara 11-0 to clinch the M&O Conference softball championship Thursday at Riverside Park.

Kotecki yielded a first-inning single to Jayden Payette.

“It was a clean single, no controversy about a no-hitter,” said Niagara Coach Duane Blagec.

Kotecki struck out 10 and walked two. Payette allowed 11 Coleman hits with two strikeouts and one walk.

The Cougars (6-0 M&O) scored four runs in the first inning, four in the second and three in the third.

The Badgers (4-2), who were hoping for a share of the league title in the regular season finale, hosts Elcho on Wednesday in a WIAA Division 5 regional opener.

IM, Norway split

NORWAY — Iron Mountain rallied late in the second game to secure a doubleheader split with Norway on Thursday.

The Mountaineers scored twice in the sixth and once in the seventh to pull out a 5-4 win in the second game. To Norway’s chagrin, the Mountaineers’ runs in the sixth came on consecutive errors. In the seventh, Saylor Swartout scored on a sacrifice fly by Mackenzie Swanson.

Norway won the first game 8-1.

Norway added a run in the bottom of the seventh to tighten the score, but an out on the basepaths and two straight strikeouts to end the game stranded the tying run at third base.

Claire Mongrain pitched for Iron Mountain and gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.

Mariah Gyselinck pitched for Norway and gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

In the first game, Norway built an early lead with a three-run second to stake a 4-0 advantage. Iron Mountain never found the timely hit and left eight runners on base in the game. The lone Mountaineers’ run came on an error in the fourth.

Allie Sheski went 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Knights.

Lilly VanLoon pitched for Iron Mountain and gave up eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Sheski pitched for Norway and surrendered an unearned run on eight hits with no walks and a strikeout.