Pirates eliminated with 5-3 loss to Immanuel Lutheran
The fifth-seeded Gilman Pirates were in command and seven outs away from a victory in Tuesday’s WIAA Division 5 softball regional semifinal, but fourthseeded Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran changed the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the fifth and won it 5-3 with a two-run rally in the sixth.
With two outs and nobody on and Gilman leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Lancers got a base runner on and brought their top player, Hannah Kazemba, to the plate and laced a gapper to right-center in the spacious outfield at Gelein Field and circled the bases to tie the game.
The Pirates didn’t recover from the change in momentum and saw their 2023 season end at 12-7. The Lancers improved to 14-5 and advanced to a regional semifinal today, Thursday, at top-seeded McDonell Central (16-6).
Kazemba also was the winning pitcher, striking out nine Pirates, walking none and working around 11 hits. Gilman head coach Brian Phelps said Kazemba wasn’t fancy. She just came at the Pirates with hard stuff and the Pirates got some good swings in.
“We just couldn’t bunch things together,” Phelps said. “In the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, we hit the ball hard, but everything went right to them.”
The Pirates took the lead right off the bat, scoring twice in the top of the first inning. Kayleigh James and Tatum Weir singled, setting up RBI singles by Abby Chaplinski and Bryn Hendricks. Immanuel came back with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Pirates were able to limit the damage to just that one run.
In the top of the fourth, Danielle Mann and James singled for the Pirates and Weir’s base hit up the middle drove in Mann to make it 3-1.
Weir gave Gilman another solid outing in what wound up being her final start in the circle for the Pirates. She allowed eight hits and five earned runs while walking only two and striking out six. Weir is the only senior on Gilman’s 2023 roster.
Phelps said the fifth-inning sequence did weigh on his mind afterwards.
“We were in cruise control through four and two-thirds,” he said. “There were two outs in the fifth and no one on when they scored their two. We knew (Kazemba) was their four-hitter and we could have walked her. She is their best hitter by far. But if you do that, the next hitter could always bloop in a single and the next hitter bloops one and then it doesn’t matter anymore because you’ve put the tying run on base.”
Virtually all of Gilman’s offense came from the top half of its batting order. James, Weir and Chaplinski all went two for four and Hendricks was three for four.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” Phelps said. “They did a great job. We were 5-11 last year and turned that into 12-7, so we basically flipped our record this year. We definitely grew up a lot this year and we’re going to continue growing up.”
Columbus 10, Gilman 0
Gilman had some scoring chances in Friday’s regular-season finale, but couldn’t get the big hit against Columbus Catholic ace Hailey Zimmerman while falling 10-0 in the regular-season finale.
Columbus Catholic clinched a share of the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference title with the win by moving to 11-1 with the six-inning win. The Lady Dons share the championship with Neillsville. Gilman finished third in league play at 8-4.
The Pirates stranded one runner in the top of the first and two in the top of the second before Columbus Catholic scored all of the runs it ended up needing by getting two in the bottom of the second. Hailey Hargraves singled and Mattea Schlafke blooped one into no-man’s land behind second base for another hit with one out. Weir got Rhya Dieringer to pop out on the infield to get within an out of getting out of the jam, but Katelyn Casperson’s double pushed both runners across.
Cierra Dieringer bunted for a hit, stole second base and scored on Sam Casperson’s single and Casperson scored on a groundout by Akousa Yeboah to make it 4-0 in the third.
The Pirates’ last good chance to get back in it came in the fourth when Ava Warner doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch when Hendricks walked. Runner Allison Olynick swiped second to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. But Zimmerman got a strikeout, a lineout on the infield and a ground ball to keep Gilman off the scoreboard.
Schlafke and Rhya Dieringer hit backto- back doubles and Cierra Dieringer added an RBI single in a two-run fourth for Columbus. The Dons then put it away with their four-run sixth.
Weir had two of Gilman’s four hits, with Warner and Hendricks getting the others. Weir pitched for the Pirates, striking out four, walking three and allowing 12 hits.