Badgers get past Wildcats on late rally

Niagara senior shortstop Aiva Champeau (7) reaches for a ball while covering second base against the Wildcats on Wednesday in Niagara, Wis. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

NIAGARA, Wis. — With the game tied at four and the rain beginning to make things difficult, the Niagara varsity softball team needed to make something happen on Wednesday in Niagara, Wis to keep its playoff hopes alive.

A Mallory Sanicki single to left field, in the bottom of the eighth inning, scored Aiva Champeau and the No. 2 seeded Badgers sealed their spot in the WIAA Division 5 regional championship game after a 5-4 win over Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy.

“(It was a) tight contest from start to finish,” Badgers head coach Joe Champeau said. “Mallory Sanicki came up big, with both of her hits tonight, tying the game earlier in the contest and driving in the game winning run in the bottom of the eighth.”

“Aiva Champeau and Racheal Walker both had great games in the field.”

Lena/STAA brought eight batters to the plate in the opening frame and scored two runs to pull ahead of Niagara.

Niagara second baseman Rachael Walker (10) hits a pitch against Lena/STAA during the WIAA Division 5 regionals in Niagara, Wis. on Wednesday. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

The Badgers weren’t phased. Champeau stole second and third before a Mallory Sanicki walk brought her home and made it a 2-1 game.

After going through the second and third without a run crossing, Niagara made its move in the bottom of the fourth.

With the bases loaded and one out, Champeau sent the ball past the Wildcats’ shortstop, allowing Alivia Kleikamp and Alyssa Hedmark to score. The Badgers took a 3-2 lead on the at-bat.

While they had been able to quash any Lena/STAA rally, the Wildcats broke through again in the top of the sixth. A two-out triple to center field scored two runs for the road team and they took the lead back, 4-3.

However, the Niagara bats weren’t ready to pack it in for the season.

Niagara pitcher Elesia Sweig (5) loads up a pitch against Lena/STAA on Wednesday in Niagara, Wis. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

With Champeau waiting on third, Grace Payette grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed a run to score, tying the game at four.

Elesia Sweig picked up the win in the circle for the Badgers. She pitched eight innings, striking out nine while surrendering four earned runs.

Champeau led Niagara at the plate. She was 4 for 4 on the day with two RBIs, three steals and a walk. Kleikamp and Mallory Sanicki were 2 for 4. Mallory Sanicki and Payette each had one RBI. Bristol Sanicki drew two walks while Champeau and Mallory Sanicki each had one. Bristol Sanicki had two stolen bases while Hedmark had one.

Niagara played in the WIAA Division 5 Regional Championship against Florence on Thursday.

The Bobcats picked up a 4-2 win over the Badgers on Friday in Niagara, Wis.


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