The Mishicot softball team won’t just be making program history when they step on the field at Goodman Diamond in Madison Friday to play Laconia in the state tournament. The Indians will be the first girls’ sports program of any kind at Mishicot to appear in a state tournament.
Head Coach Dawn Krueger still can hardly believe the team is there. “It was once in a lifetime. Hopefully we'll have more. I can't describe it. It was just an incredible feeling and I’m so proud of the girls."
Catch Amber Pantzlaff said the team already is aware of their place in school history. "We all joke that in 10 years we have to have a reunion for our softball team."
Mishicot clinched the state appearance with a 5-4 win over Kenosha St. Joseph. The final out will live forever in the team's memory.
The Indians held a 5-2 lead going into the final inning. A two run homerun for Kenosha St. Joseph cut the lead to one run but with two outs and a runner on the Indians had that fateful play. "On the final play our 2nd baseman fielded the ground ball got the out at second it was a close play and that's all I remember,” Coach Krueger recalled. “We just stormed the field and the fans came out and it was a sea of orange everywhere"
Lindsay Bries, one of the team’s two seniors, was on the mound for the play. "We all just ran to second base started hugging each other, jumping up and down. The fans were going crazy. From my perspective it was like the play was in slow motion. It was intense," Bries said with a big smile.
The players still have to pinch themselves from time to time to remind themselves that they are in division three’s final four. "It still hasn't hit me. It just feels like a normal game. I don't know it just feels like a relief. We just went in thinking it's another game but we went in with no care," said shortstop Tayler Krause.
As excited as the girls are to have made the Final Four, now that they're there they want to win it all. Amber Pantzlaff said following the team’s pep rally Wednesday they received some sage advice. "Our athletic director actually told us we have to take in the moment but we have to play Mishicot softball. We can't go there and think this is all fun," Pantzlaff said.
Coach Krueger defined what it will take for the team to be successful in Madison. "We just have to focus on our game. We can't let all this hype get to us and we've got to do what we've done best. Hitting, solid defense, good base running, just play our game."
Lindsay Bries, who will draw the assignment of going in the pitcher’s circle, had her own way of staying in the moment. "I've kind of been researching Laconia, trying to prepare myself and not get too excited to play on the Badgers field."
Their community is behind them, as of Wednesday, the school had sold more than 400 tickets, not bad for a town whose population is less than the seating capacity of the field they’ll play on in the tournament. Mishicot has a population of 1,400 people while Goodman Field holds 1,600.
Bries said having an entire community behind the team feels good. "It feels really good that the whole team is excited, everyone around the town is excited, and the little kids look up to us so much it just feels amazing."
Pantzlaff added, “the community support is unbelievable and that in Madison you're going to see a sea of orange in the stands."
With just two seniors on the team, this could be the beginning of something big for the Indians.