State trip: Warhawks vs. Highlanders

Softball sectional final Thursday at Kennedy

June 5, 2012

Germantown - Once more, with feeling.

That'll be the case at 7 p.m. Thursday back at the Kennedy Middle School fields, when the North Shore Conference champion Germantown softball team hosts archrival Homestead in a WIAA sectional final, with a berth in the state tournament on the line.

The Warhawks advanced to the sectional final behind Amanda Witzlib's 13 strikeouts and Addy Green's two-run home run with a 3-1 sectional semifinal decision Monday night over another North Shore rival Nicolet.

The sectional final will be a replay of last season. The scenario will be exactly the same, too, as last year, the Warhawks beat the Highlanders twice during the regular season only to have Homestead edge them in the sectional final.

And once again, Germantown has edged Homestead in two thrillers this season en route to an unbeaten North Shore Conference campaign. Germantown enters with a record of 21-4, while the Highlanders will come in at 19-5. The Highlanders advanced with a 6-3 victory Monday night against Brookfield Central.

Germantown co-coach Amy Barbiaux said last year's failure in the sectional final is "still fresh" in the minds of the Warhawks players.

"We'll be ready for this," she said. "We're right where we want to be."

As they were against the resurgent Nicolet team (13-12). Green smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to break open a 0-0 tie. Nicolet managed to push across Edyn Herbert with their only run in the top of the sixth, but Germantown got it back on Alexa Bechler's RBI fielder's choice in the bottom of the frame.

Witzlib, who allowed only three hits and one walk on the night, put the side down in order in the seventh.

Green would finish with two hits on the night while Witzlib had a hit and scored two runs. Sarah Artz also had a hit.

"We hit the ball well tonight," Barbiaux said. "We didn't score a lot of runs, but we did hit the ball. Amanda had a great game tonight pitching. She had great location and terrific velocity tonight. She had a no-hitter going into the middle innings."

Nicolet pitcher Amanda Mehl scattered six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

WIAA Regional Final, May 31

Germantown 5, Whitefish Bay 4: The Warhawks had to survive a feisty Blue Dukes team that took a 2-0 lead after the first two innings. A three-run third put Germantown into the lead for good and two runs in the sixth made it 5-2, but then the Warhawks had to survive another Bay rally in the seventh as the Blue Dukes scored twice and had runners on base when the final out was recorded.

Lauren Renard started and got the win for Germantown, throwing six innings with three strikeouts and one walk. Witzlib got the save in the seventh, striking out the side with a walk. Green again knocked in two runs for the Warhawks. The Germantown defense did not help its pitchers by committing six errors as the Blue Dukes had only three hits on the night.

UP NEXT: If the Warhawks win Thursday, they would earn their first state tournament berth since their back-to-back appearances in 1996 and 1997. They won their only state title in 1996. They would play a 3:30 p.m. June 14 state quarterfinal at the Goodman Diamond in Madison against the winner of the UW-Oshkosh sectional final that pits defending state champion Stevens Point (21-5) against Beaver Dam (18-5).

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