Two seniors stepped up for Germantown and sparked the Warhawks to a 1-0 win over Brookfield Central on June 5 to win the WIAA Sectional Championship at Germantown.
It was the second-straight season that the Lancers' offense let down ace sophomore pitcher Crystal Sicard, who also lost last year's sectional final to the Warhawks, 1-0, on a home run.
Senior shortstop Erika Berry had three of the Warhawks' five hits off Sicard, and senior pitcher Kim Soderberg stopped the Lancers on three hits to send the Warhawks softball team to state for the third year in a row for the first time in school history.
The difference in the game was a home run by Berry in the third inning as Sicard finished with two walks and struck out nine batters.
Soderberg, who recovered from a broken bone on the bottom of her right ring finger four weeks ago, was outstanding pitching to contact, changing speeds and moving the ball around.
She retired the final nine batters. She only managed two strikeouts, but defensively she had six assists and one putout, didn't walk a batter and had the Lancers hit only four balls to the outfield.
Soderberg talked about her pitching style afterward.
"I tried to stay focused and keep the ball out of the red zone," she said. "I try to move the ball in, out, up and down. My finger has healed pretty well. It only twinges now and then."
Germantown co-coach Kurt Raguse was proud of his pitcher.
"She had a tough game against Homestead, pitching 6.2 innings," Raguse said of Soderberg's performance on Tuesday "We didn't expect her to not give up any runs against a team like Brookfield Central. She changed speeds, but she's a little quicker than this."
When asked about the 'hitting machine' Berry, who had a single, homer and double, Raguse laughed. "I couldn't have said it better myself.
"She is a 'hitting machine.' All year as our senior captain, she made this team keep their focus. I'm proud of all these girls."
There was no doubt Berry came ready to play.
"I came in confident," she said. "It only takes one pitch."
Lancers coach Doug Lange was disappointed in the loss.
"We felt we were going to win," he said. "We felt we had the best pitcher, the best hitters. Obviously they played a great game.
"We didn't get any clutch hits with runners in scoring position. Against Divine Savior (5-1 sectional semifinal win) we did, but tonight we didn't.
"I thought our kids played good softball. Crystal pitched a heck of a game. We didn't hit as good as we hit before, but to their credit, it was their pitcher."
Senior captain Angie Chartier, having just played her final game for the Lancers, was emotional like most of the Lancer players.
"We came in with high energy, and, personally, I thought we would bat a little better," she said. "Our batting fell short. It was a well-played game except for that one hit."
Sicard, who perhaps took the loss the hardest of anyone, said "I have two more years left, but we wanted this one for the seniors."
The Lancers finished 17-4.
The Lancers used a 4-run third inning to beat Divine Savior Holy Angels, 5-1, and ace pitcher Rose Dentice in the sectional semi-finals on June 3 at Central. Earlier this year, Central beat the Dashers twice by 3-2 scores.
In the third inning, Gabby Tierney walked, and Rachel Bucholtz bunted for a hit to open the inning. Katie Dobrzynski laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to move the runners over, and Ashley Rossman drilled a single to right field scoring Tierney and Bucholtz.
Chartier then tripled down the right field line scoring Rossman, and Laura Hauser sent Chartier home with a deep sacrifice fly to left field for a 4-0 lead.
Sicard set down six straight before DSHA scored on a single and a double by Jessica Stegmaier, who was 3-for-3. But then Sicard retired the next two hitters on a grounded back to the mound and a pop-up to Chartier.
In the sixth, Central got the run back when pinch-runner supreme Katie Majchar scored following singles by Ally Smyczek and Courtney Cain.
Sicard set down the Dashers in the seventh on two pop-ups to Chartier and a ground out to Chartier.
Chartier and Smyczek each had two of the Lancers' seven hits. Sicard pitched a four-hitter, walked one and fanned seven.
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