April 27, 2011 | 08:37 AMWilliams Bay — On Monday night, the Williams Bay softball squad may have struck first against neighboring Big Foot.
But it was the Chiefs who had the last laugh.
Big Foot benefited from big innings in the third and seventh en route to an 8-5 victory over the host Bulldogs.
Big Foot improved to 2-4 overall with the win. The Bay dropped to 3-4.
The Chiefs were able to put together a couple big innings against Williams Bay ace Sam Storms, who went the distance on the mound. Big Foot coach Craig Utesch commended his team's hitting.
"They did a nice job," he said. "We hit hard-throwing pitchers pretty well. We got some bunts down at the right time and got some hits at the right time. We ran the bases really well. I was happy with the performance. The Bay always gives us a good game, and it was nice to get a win."
Big Foot starting pitcher Courtney Glade pitched five solid innings and left the game with a 5-3 lead. Sophomore Jen Petkoff was able to keep the Bay in check for the final two innings.
But it was Petkoff's bat that gave Big Foot the lead in the third inning. After a Claudia Wautlet sacrifice fly scored Alyssa Alheid in the first inning, the Bay held a 1-0 advantage until the top of the third. Big Foot had runners on second and third with nobody out, and Petkoff ripped a two-run double to left center to give Big Foot a 2-1 lead. Petkoff would eventually score on a passed ball to make it 3-1, and later Lindsay Worland scored on a wild pitch to extend Big Foot's lead to 4-1. Worland struck out, but reached first base because the catcher dropped the ball and couldn't toss Worland out at first.
Worland's RBI single in the fifth increased Big Foot's lead to 5-1, but the Bay answered in the sixth. Wautlet blooped a two-run single down the right-field line before being thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, cutting the lead to 5-3.
However, the Chiefs struck back with another big inning in the top of the seventh. Jordan Miller reached first base after a strikeout and throwing error, and Glade scored from second to make it 6-3 Big Foot. Then, a Dana Hinske single plated Miller for a 7-3 lead. Sam Wrezinski tacked on an RBI single for another insurance run, and the Chiefs led 8-3.
In the Bay's last at-bat, Storms and Leah Newell each scored on wild pitches to cut the lead to 8-5. With two outs and two runners on, Petkoff struck out Molly Perkins looking to end the game.
Utesch was pleased Petkoff was able to hold off the Bay late.
"Jen hadn't pitched in a week," he said. "She had a good two innings and had some pressure on her. It was good for her to have that pressure on her. She came back and made them hit their way on. The insurance runs late helped us and allowed us to put Jen in."
After the game, Bay coach Jeff Kuespert was frustrated his team gave up a couple bad innings.
"As a young team, we have to figure out how to avoid the snowball inning," he said. "One bad thing happens, and all of a sudden our heads are out of the game. That will come with more experience. We can't keep doing the same things over and over. Big Foot is a decent hitting team. It's a fun rivalry, and it makes us better to play them."
Kuespert was pleased with his team's late rally.
"We did battle back," he said. "We could've tanked it in the seventh, but we didn't. That showed a lot of grit and spirit."
Glade was 2-for-3 for the Chiefs, and Krystin Rossier went 2-for-2. Storms led the Bay with two hits including a double. Newell added a 2-for-4 performance at the plate.
Last Thursday, the Chiefs fell at Palmyra-Eagle, 5-2. Glade struck out 13 Panthers. Utesch said his team had one bad inning, and it was the difference.
Big Foot returns home to battle Clinton in a doubleheader Friday.
As for the Bay, the Bulldogs travel to Dodgeland Friday before the Elkhorn Invite Saturday.
"We have to be more mentally prepared," Kuespert said about his team. "Sometimes we're not mentally focused. We can be very good if the girls want to."
A good cause
The game was a Coaches vs. Cancer game, where sponsors and spectators donated money to help fight cancer. All proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. The Chiefs wore special purple T-shirts during the game, and the Bulldogs wore white ones in honor of the cause.
According to Utesch, around $1,400 was raised, and Big Foot is still holding a hit-a-thon later this week to raise more money. He was pleased with the support.
"It was a big success," he said. "I believe we had over 30 corporate sponsors and there were plenty of individuals. We're going to have roughly around $1,800 when it's all said and done, which is outstanding. Thanks to the community and those who supported us."
Kuespert was also excited about the support.
"It's nice for two rival teams to come together for one cause," he said. "It's a good thing to do."