Chippewa Falls (WQOW) — For the second straight season, the Chippewa Falls’ softball team is heading back to the state tournament in Madison. However, this group of Cardinals is hungry to put last season’s quarterfinal loss behind them.
This year, Chippewa Falls was the 7-seed in their sectional, but even with a different path on the road they still ended up in the same spot. It’s been the Cardinals goal since day one to get back to Goodman Diamond, and put on a better showing in their first game. This group is different in many ways than 2018, including the experience they bring to state and the chip on their shoulders.
“Going back, it’s a big thing because we’ve been there,” says senior third basemen Bayleigh Dresel. “We’ve won it once and we know we can do it again, it’s just putting all the pieces together once again to make it happen.”
“Kind of a shell-shock I felt like that game was,” head coach Kate Fjelstad says. “They came out hitting, and we didn’t really know how to respond. I think that will be great this year. Yes we have the morning game, yes it’s early, but the other team is in the same boat. So I really feel that our experience last year, and those seniors leading us there is going to be beneficial for our team this year.”
After losing a pair of games to Hudson to close out the regular season and also snap their conference title streak, Chippewa Falls made some changes that have created a spark. The Cardinals have been clicking on all cylinders so far in this postseason run, and feel like they’re playing their best ball of 2019.
“I think once playoffs started and we beat Memorial, and then we beat Superior we knew we could do this,” says senior pitcher/third basemen Mallory Sterling. “The excitement in the dugout just got better, and everyone was playing for the team and after that its just got good.”
“Just getting to that spot and showing that we’re the team that we can be was a big thing,” Dresel says. “Switching spots around was something we did right before the game, and every girl knew that they had to pull their own weight and come together. And we definitely did that.”
Chippewa Falls will take on Kenosha Bradford/Reuther Thursday at Goodman Diamond in Madison. First pitch is scheduled for 8 a.m.