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Cheese get the calls in sweep
Monroe's Kristin McArdle makes the catch up against the fence in the third inning of the Cheesemakers' 2-1 victory in Game One of a doubleheader against Oregon.
MONROE - Sometimes a good game by both teams can end ugly for one, and beautifully for the other. That was true in Monroe's 2-1 eight-inning softball win over Oregon in the first game of a conference-determining doubleheader Friday night.

"It was a great high school fast-pitched softball game, and we got a little break at the end to win it," Monroe head coach Dale Buvid said. "If they get the break instead, it's probably their win."

Monroe won the second game as well, 9-5.

The Cheesemakers received a gift from the field official to end the first game. After a one-out stand up triple to right field by Maggie Schuttler, Monroe was in position to win. A groundout by Emily Rufenacht failed to bring in the run, and the same appeared to be true during Brandi Trewartha's at bat.

Trewartha hit a routine grounder to short, but the throw was just slightly off target, pulling the first baseman Sarah Engh off the bag. It appeared Trewartha was tagged out two steps from the bag, as Engh had the ball firmly secured in her glove.

The umpire didn't see it that way, and said the ball was bobbled. Trewartha was safe, and the game was over. No second opinion was given by the home plate umpire, who made a similar call earlier in the game when Monroe scored its first run.

Oregon head coach Dave Freitag complained that his team was just cost a conference championship. The Panthers (10-8, 6-4 Badger South) had one less loss than both Milton (15-3, 8-3) and Monroe (13-9, 8-3) prior to the doubleheader, but now stands one game behind.

"It's too bad - both pitchers pitched such a great game," Buvid said.

Meghan Roberts opened the game firing on the hill for the Cheese. Through the first 10 hitters, Roberts was perfect and had four of her 10 strikeouts.

"I give credit to Roberts. You can't do much more than what she did," Buvid said. "Her riseball was very good today. She was throwing hard and was not throwing anything right down the gut."

Monroe opened the game with back-to-back singles by Paisley Bennett and Maggie Schuttler. From there, the Cheesemaker bats went silent.

"We can't keep doing that - leaving runners on second and third with less than two outs. It's a sore spot and has to be fixed. Fly balls, hard grounders - something," Buvid said.

Monroe plated its first run in the bottom of the third. Jessica Beckman reached on an error and went to second on Bennett's sacrifice bunt. With one out, Schuttler reached on an error to put two runners on. Buvid called for a double steal on the first pitch to Rufenacht to put runners on second and third.

Rufenacht then hit a weak dribbler back to the mound and was tossed out, meanwhile, Beckman broke for home on the throw. After getting the out at first, the relay throw to the plate was in time, but the home plate umpire ruled the tag was too high and Beckman had slid in safely under the catcher.

"We haven't been catching many breaks, and we got one there," Buvid said.

Freitag, his assistant and many players showed their displeasure with the call, but were denied any argument.

The Panthers rebounded in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score after a pair of doubles.

The score stayed even the rest of the way.

"Credit to Maggie, clutching up at the end. And we caught a little bit of a break. We'll take it," Buvid said.

Game 2

Monroe 9, Oregon 5

Both teams hit the ball better in the second game, but Monroe came out on top after a big four-run fifth inning.

Tied 2-2 after four innings, the Cheesemakers, playing as the away team, opened the fifth on fire. Bennett singled and Schuttler hit a double to put two ducks on the pond for Rufenacht, who singled in both runs. Trewartha then tripled and later scored on a groundout by Coree Lee, beating the relay throw from first.

"There were some bang-bang plays again in the second game and the umps had to make some tight calls," Buvid said.

Bennett, Schuttler and Rufenacht all had a pair of hits, and Trewartha had three knocks. The rest of Monroe's lineup had five hits.

Roberts picked up the win on the mound, striking out seven hitters, walking just one while allowing nine hits and just one earned run.

"Both teams hit the ball better. They were more familiar with the pitchers and had figured out the timing a little better," Buvid said.

Now tied with Milton at the top of conference, Monroe just needs to beat Monona Grove (5-11, 2-9) on Tuesday to win at least a share of the conference crown.

"I told the kids after the game that I had subconsciously given up on the conference race," Buvid said. Monroe had lost three straight conference games and was on the outside looking in with four games left to play.

"Credit to our girls, they took care of business."