Just about every time Verona senior ace pitcher Meghan Anderson got into a jam in its WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal against DeForest, she worked her way out of it.
Anderson pitched a complete game and struck out 11 on Tuesday, May 28, to help top-seeded Verona stave off a comeback bid at Prairie View Elementary School to pull out a nail-biter over DeForest 3-2.
Verona (22-4) will host Sun Prairie in a Division 1 sectional championship at 5 p.m. Thursday. Sun Prairie defeated Onalaska.
Anderson tossed a one-hitter Thursday, May 23 as the Wildcats advanced on to sectionals with 10-run victory at home against eighth-seeded Baraboo.
Verona 3, DeForest 2
Anderson proved up to the challenge with every test she faced in a Division 1 sectional semifinal on Tuesday against DeForest.
Coach Todd Anderson said a key for Meghan Anderson all year has been knowing she can pitch out of jams.
“As you get into the occasional jam, the more you are able to get out of it and trust your teammates to make a play and trust yourself to throw the right pitch,” Todd Anderson said. “She’s just got better and better.”
Verona will face Sun Prairie for the third time this season in a sectional final on Thursday with a state berth on the line.
“It’s just a huge team accomplishment,” said sophomore first baseman Alyssa Bostley who went 2-for-3 and had two RBIs. “We worked all season on coming together, and it really showed here.
“It got close in the end, but we used our connection to pull it out.”
Anderson pitched out of jams in the first and sixth innings, but her biggest test came in the top of the seventh, and the Wildcats’ defense rose to the occasion.
With the Wildcats leading by three runs, she got in trouble again, giving up two runs and putting the tying run on third base.
DeForest junior Taylor Tschumper singled to center, and an error by the Wildcats kept the inning going. Then, DeForest sophomore Marty Jordan ripped an RBI double into the gap in right center. When the ball squirted away on a relay throw to the infield, the Norskies scored a second run on the play.
Anderson then induced DeForest sophomore Kylee Jansen to hit a slow roller to Verona sophomore third baseman Sydney Toman, who made a pinpoint throw to first base for the final out.
“We call it one play to make, and it’s do-or-die,” coach Todd Anderson said. “The key is even though you need to be speedy, you can’t rush yourself so much that you throw the ball away. She practices that play and did a nice job.”
Junior Kasie Keyes went 2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI, and sophomore Maddie Patten was 2-for-3.
In the first, senior Molly McChesney walked and stole second. Bostley then delivered an RBI single to right off DeForest senior pitcher Taylor Shaw.
“I just thought to myself hit it in a gap,” Bostley said. “I just thought I’m going to do my part and score that run.”
The Wildcats added to their lead in the second. McChesney reached on a dropped fly ball in left field. Bostley came through with an RBI single. Keyes then ripped an RBI double to center to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
Verona 11, Baraboo 1 (6 inn.)
Anderson allowed one hit over six innings in the circle, striking out 11.
Offensively, the Wildcats tallied 18 hits.
Alina Yazek opened the scoring with a two-run single in the home of the first inning. The Wildcats kept the hammer down, adding three more runs in the second and four in the third.
Syndey Breitbach had a solo home run in the second inning. Bostley and Keyes also plated a run in the inning.
Keyes singled home two runs to highlight a four-run fourth inning. Patten scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth to cap the blowout.