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A win well worth the wait for MHS
Times photo: Christopher Heimerman Monroes Gwen Sutter chomps at the bit at the gate while waiting for Fridays first Division 2 state semifinal game to wrap up. New Berlin Eisenhower needed nine innings to defeat Southern Door.

Welcome home event planned

MONROE - Win or lose in today's Division 2 softball championship game, there will be a welcome home celebration today for the Lady Cheesemakers.

The event is tentatively scheduled for between 6 and 6:30 p.m. today in the high school gym. The team will be met north of town by city fire trucks and escorted through town to the high school.

MADISON - Friday's 3-1 WIAA Division 2 state tournament semifinal softball victory over Rice Lake went anything but as scripted for the Lady Cheesemakers.

An owner of two homers this season and three in her Monroe career, Schuttler drove in two necessary insurance runs during the fifth inning with a different sort of moonshot at Goodman Diamond in Madison.

Monroe's ace and cleanup hitter got into a 100-foot popup that was dropped by centerfielder Jenna Bednar, allowing the second and third runs of the frame to score.

"I didn't hit it very well at all ..." Schuttler trailed off, "but I was thankful we had a fluke play. Thank God she didn't catch it, otherwise we'd probably still be playing."

Monroe still will be playing today, in the Division 2 title game against New Berlin Eisenhower. The Lions (23-1) needed a seventh-inning rally and two extra innings to get past Southern Door (19-3), 3-2. Monroe's game Friday didn't begin until about 9:15, more than an hour late.

Mere minutes before Monroe's mini-explosion in the fifth, Schuttler was stung by a Korin Baumann line drive during the third inning with one out recorded. Schuttler withstood the well-struck liner before scrambling to pick it up and rifle to Gwen Sutter at first.

"I was just thinking I had to get her out," Schuttler said. "It stung for a little bit, but you just gotta work through it. In a big game, you just do what you can."

After her teammates huddled on the pitching plate to make sure she was fine, Schuttler went up 0-2 on Kaylie Rankin before getting the junior to roll over weakly, as Schuttler threw her out as well.

Katie Lenz led off with a walk to set up Monroe's two-run fifth. After a Hannah Grossen groundout moved her up a station, leadoff batter Kayla Rackow inside-outed a double to right center. Maggie Schuttler singled to center, but Lenz was thrown out at home before Schuttler's non-RBI-bloop.

Schuttler fanned four and walked none and the run she allowed was unearned. Alyssa Anderson took the loss, walking four and fanning four.

Emily Rufenacht set up a run in the fourth with a leadoff single. Gwen Sutter drove her in with a single through the middle after Schuttler's groundout moved Rufenacht up a base.

Rice Lake scrambled for a run in the seventh. After Anderson reached on an error, Briana Myers cracked an RBI-double.

While Schuttler would have loved her sixth shutout, she even moreso enjoyed the sensation of pressure lifting after her first state tournament appearance. She allowed only two Rice Lake hits.

"This takes off a lot of pressure, but then I have more tomorrow," Schuttler said. "That's an even bigger game."