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Cheesemakers fall in state softball finals
Times photo: Christopher Heimerman Members of the Monroe High School softball team hoist their second-place trophy high while fighting off tears. New Berlin Eisenhower defeated the Cheesemakers 6-0 to win the state title.
MADISON - One little pebble sent a heartbreaking avalanche into motion.

An 0-2 waste pitch got away from Monroe ace Renee Schuttler against leadoff batter Liz Wiese in the first inning of Saturday's 6-0 loss to New Berlin Eisenhower in the WIAA Division 2 state championship at Goodman Diamond.

"It was a rise ball that got away and maybe we tried to do a little too much," Monroe coach Dale Buvid admitted.

The yellow ball grazed Wiese and the little scuff left a big mark for Monroe.

"Apparently it just hit her on the arm a little bit," Buvid said. "That led to a bunt play right after that, the first of many good bunts by them. They put the ball in the dirt whenever they wanted to."

Brittany Rader laid down the first bunt hit, a perfectly deadened ball that Schuttler couldn't get to Gwen Sutter in time at first. Worse yet, the throw got away as the runners moved up. Megan Duerlinger slapped a fielder's choice and Schuttler wriggled off the hook with no more damage done.

But the one run would hold up and, for good measure, the Lions added two more in the second, again keyed by a Cheesemakers error.

"Renee threw well and it's frustrating when we don't make plays without her," catcher Kaylie Kaiser said.

After Lions starter Lauren Beres struck a sound single to right, Kelly Brubakken laid down another dandy of a sacrifice. This time, when Schuttler rifled it to first, second baseman Kayla Rackow couldn't handle the throw as she covered.

Moments later, courtesy runner Stephanie Stancl came home on a wild pitch, just the second Schuttler's lost the entire season.

Katie Potts drove in another run with a single to left as the Lions began a controlled roll.

"We are a strong momentum team," Schwabe said. "We wanna score early and roll downhill with it."

The momentum needle was officially buried when the Cheesemakers loaded the bases in the bottom half but walked away empty-handed. While the Lions liberally subbed in reliver Kayla Schlegel for their hard-throwing ace to mix things up, Buvid didn't want that excuse at any of his fine hitters' disposal.

"We shouldn't have been frustrated, we knew they'd do that," Buvid said. "What's frustrating is that we didn't hit the ball."

Zeroes would be hung on the board until Buvid went to the pen. Carlie Olsen, a senior like Schuttler, threw hard but got even harder luck as three runs scored without a hit being recorded. Instead, two errors were.

"Carlie pitched a good ining; we just didn't make plays for her," Buvid said. "She deserverd, just like Chelsey (Metcalf) and Ashley (Siegel) to get in the game and be rewarded for the hard work they've put in."

Metcalf wasn't ready to wrap up her Cheesemaker career as she stung a single to right with two down in the seventh. That had Buvid proudly strutting the third baseline, chanting, "Way to go Chel-suh!"

"I know she didn't want to make the last out of the season and I'm happy for her that she put such a good swing on the ball," Buvid said.

But Hannah Grossen fanned to end the threat and the departing seniors had to take pride being the second-best team out of 112 Division 2 clubs in the state.

"It's been a great season and it's my first time ever making it to state," Cheesemaker Katie Lenz said. "Second's a great place to come in."