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Cards ace deals no-hitter
Times photo: Adam Krebs Brodhead's Erika Stampfli sends a pitch to the plate during her seven-inning no-hitter against McFarland in the Cardinals' 2-0 win over McFarland.
BRODHEAD - If the old saying of "pitching wins championships" is true, then Brodhead fans ought to feel very good about their odds in the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. Sophomore hurler Erika Stampfli struck out 14 McFarland batters Tuesday while tossing a no-hitter during Brodhead's 2-0 win in the second round.

"I'm speechless. It feels amazing," Stampfli said after the game.

It wasn't Stampfli's first no-hitter, but it may have been her best.

"Erika didn't throw a no-hitter against a weak team," Brodhead head coach Steve Krupke said. "McFarland (17-7) has been playing teams like Monroe and Verona their whole life. They've seen good pitching before. So that is a testament to what Erika did today."

Stampfli opened up the game dealing for the Cards. She struck out the first two hitters, and Courtney Mielke made a nice stab at short to end the inning.

"We have good defense, as well as good pitching. This is a dang good team. Erika shined today. Sometimes I wish she wasn't so sharp because I want to show off my defense," Krupke said.

In the home half of the first, Tia Collins tripled to lead things off, and later scored on Mielke's single. Mielke stole second, went to third on a hit by Leah Hegi and scored on the first of two doubles by Stampfli.

"We like to get a few runs early, but I wanted to get some more. We had a couple of opportunities to get a third, but we couldn't do it," Krupke said.

Brodhead (16-5) managed just two more hits and three walks the rest of the game. With the Cards' ace on the hill, however, there was little to fear.

Stampfli went 1-2-3 with six strikeouts in the second and third, before allowing a pair of runners in the fourth via walks.

"I was a little worried about the middle innings. Those innings are the toughest because you don't have the adrenaline to end the game or to start the game. But she got through it," Krupke said.

Perhaps the toughest inning for Stampfli came in the sixth. She walked the first batter on seven pitches. The second batter missed a double down the left-field line by mere inches before striking out looking to end a nine-pitch at-bat. The third batter walked on nine pitches, the fourth lined a foul out to third and the fifth struck out looking after six pitches. In the inning, Stampfli threw a whopping 35 pitches -13 balls and 22 strikes.

"She pitched like a senior in that inning and not like a sophomore. That's how a senior pitches, they don't get rattled," Krupke said.

The no-hitter was in jeopardy again in the seventh. With one out and a runner on first, McFarland's pitcher Shauna O'Malley sent a line shot down the left-field line, only to see it land about six inches foul. Stampfli then struck out her counterpart and the next batter to end the game.

Brodhead travels Thursday to face Edgerton (18-2) in the regional final. In the only game the two teams played this season, Edgerton won 1-0, holding Brodhead to just two hits.

"We have a lot of work to do. We can't just walk through (the playoffs)," Stampfli said.