By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Silver once again
Monroe catcher Paisley Bennett cant snag a ball thrown home by center fielder Maggie Schuttler in the sixth inning of the Cheesemakers 4-1 loss to Luxemburg-Casco in the WIAA Division 2 state championship. The error was one of eight that the Cheesemakers committed in the game, two shy of the division record at state.
MADISON - After the short walk from the dugout at Goodman Diamond through the bullpen behind the right field wall, Monroe senior Maggie Schuttler couldn't solve the mystery that was the Cheesemakers defense.

Monroe (20-10) couldn't overcome an uncharacteristic eight errors and lost the WIAA girls Division 2 state championship game, 4-1, to Luxemburg-Casco, Saturday.

Monroe, the Division 2 state runner-up for the second straight year, entered the state tournament with the best fielding percentage (.948) in the Division 2 field, but a defensive collapse haunted the Cheesemakers in the title game.

"We didn't play very good," Schuttler said. "Eight errors and four hits doesn't get the job done. It feels good to get here, but we wanted to go all the way and take it."

Luxemburg-Casco pitcher Danielle Deterville retired the first 10 hitters she faced and shut the Cheesemakers down in the first three innings before Schuttler singled to center in the fourth to break up the no-hit bid.

Despite being down 4-0 entering the seventh inning, the Cheesemakers didn't go quietly. Emily Rufenacht and Brandi Trewartha lined singles to center leading off the seventh. Monroe sophomore Kelsey Erickson then ripped an RBI double in the right center gap to put the Cheesemakers on the board. Deterville then struck out Kendra Clark and Kristin McArdle. Monroe junior Gwen Sutter then hit a comebacker to Deterville who threw to first to end the Cheesemakers' rally, then she tossed her glove in the air to celebrate the Spartans' first state title.

"It was disappointing," Rufenacht said who will attend Edgewood College in the fall, but hasn't decided if she will play basketball or softball. "We didn't play our best. That's how it goes sometimes. She (Deterville) likes to throw a lot of rise balls. I think that is what got us."

The Spartans' offense was 2-for-13 hitting with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base.

Early on, Luxemburg-Casco wasted a golden scoring opportunity in the first. Luxemburg-Casco sophomore Missy Mleziva lined a triple into the gap in left center. Monroe senior Meghan Roberts then walked Mariah Mleziva. She worked out of a two-on, one-out jam by inducing Mandy Vander Perren to ground out and by getting Kalli Schmelzer to fly out to Schuttler in center.

Roberts pitched six innings and gave up just one earned run on four hits. She walked four and struck out one.

The Cheesemakers' defense had a couple of breakdowns and dodged a bullet in the third. Steffi Kinnard reached on an error when Trewartha dropped a pop up. Mariah Mleziva reached on an error when Schuttler dropped a ball in center. Roberts again wiggled off the hook by getting Vander Perren to pop out to Rufenacht and Schuttler made a running catch in the gap in right center to preserve a scoreless game.

"It's always easier to take games like this because you never really had a chance to win," Monroe coach Dale Buvid said. "We didn't give ourselves a chance to win with the errors. A couple of them kind of snowballed and we just never ridded ourselves."

Luxemburg-Casco's Lacey Agamaite led off the fourth, reaching on an error by Rufenacht. On Deterville's sacrifice bunt attempt, Roberts fielded the ball and overthrew Sutter sending the ball sailing into right. Roberts struck out Brittany Skarda. Agamaite came in to score on a passed ball to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Kinnard then lined a single to left, which was the Spartans first hit with runners in scoring position.

The Cheesemakers committed four errors in the sixth, which opened up the door for the Spartans. Kinnard, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI, drove in a big run in the sixth to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead.

"I think everyone just got their heads down and we had no one to rely on to bring us back up," Schuttler said. "When you have eight errors in a game, obviously your heads are going to be down."

Roberts said it felt good to get back to the state championship game for the second straight year.

"It made me feel really happy to know that we made it back to state," Roberts said. "It's really hard to come this far and have a loss like this."

The Spartans' defense was up to the state championship task. Luxemburg-Casco right fielder Missy Mleziva made a diving catch off the outfield grass to rob McArdle of a hit in the third. Luxemburg-Casco's first baseman Schmelzer snagged a line drive from Clark in the fifth. She followed that up with an over the shoulder catch in foul territory.

"They (Luxemburg-Casco) played better than us today and they deserved to win," Buvid said.

Monroe last won a state title in 2003 and the Cheesemakers have played in four state title games in the last seven years.

"Nobody thought we would even get this far," Schuttler said. "No one thought we would even get out of the regional. We proved them all wrong."

Rufenacht said she will always remember getting back to state when everyone doubted Monroe.

"This group in some ways maybe overachieved," Buvid said. "We get spoiled in Monroe. To get here is not easy."