The homefield advantage has worked out so far for the Iola-Scandinavia softball team.
The Thunderbirds won a Division 3 regional title May 23 with a 12-7 win over Manawa. I-S also opened state tournament play May 21 with a 12-8 win over Amherst.
The T-Birds were scheduled to face Shiocton in a sectional final May 28 in Amherst. The winner of that game will play Marathon or Stevens Point Pacelli at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) in a sectional final in Marathon.
I-S 12, Manawa 7
The T-Birds scored all 12 of their runs in the first three innings and held off the Wolves down the stretch.
I-S was two outs away from ending the game in the fifth inning due to the 10-run rule, but the Wolves battled back with five runs in the frame.
Payton Erickson pitched the first six innings to earn the victory, while Brianne Huettner pitched the final inning. Erickson allowed six hits and three walks while striking out 10 batters. Huettner allowed one hit and struck out one batter. Manawa’s Ansley Block allowed one walk while striking out six.
Brooke Phillips and Jane Oligney each had three hits for the T-Birds, including a double a pair of RBIs. Huettner, Amanda Aasen and Kiara Boutwell each had two hits. Huettner had a double and drove in two runs, while Aasen drove in three runs. Mariah Oppor also had a double.
I-S 12, Manawa 8
I-S rallied for six runs in the fifth inning for a come-from-behind victory.
The T-Birds had a 6-2 lead after three innings before the Falcons scored six of their own in the fourth to take an 8-6 lead before the T-Birds came up with six more runs.
Huettner relieved Erickson and was credited with the win. Erickson worked the first three innings. Huettner didn’t allow a hit, walked three and struck out seven, while Erickson allowed seven hits and two walks and finished with four strikeouts.
Aasen had three hits for the T-Birds, while Oppor, Phillips and Karina Welch added two each. Phillips drove in three runs with a two-run home run in the first inning and an RBI triple in the fifth. Huettner belted a two-run homer in the third and Oppor and Kylie Johnson doubled.
The T-Bird junior varsity team won their final two games of the season over Rosholt, 11-4 and 14-4, May 20 to finish the season with a 9-7 record.