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Junior aces pitches, hits Boscobel to regional softball title
Cuba City junior Payton Gile struck out 11 and allowed just one run on a solo homer, and drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single down the left field line to led the SWAL champion Cubans to a 2–1 victory over Boscobel in a WIAA D4 softball regional final last Thursday afternoon. (photo by Casey Lindecrantz)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday or Friday throughout the calendar year.

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal, Fennimore Times, Boscobel Dial

Payton Gile, Jr., P, Cuba City softball
CUBA CITY — The road to the WIAA Division 4 Sectional finals ran through Cuba City over the last week and junior pitcher Payton Gile was the biggest reason why.

Gile struck out seven and allowed just two runs on five hits in the pitching circle, and went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk at the plate to lead the SWAL champion Cubans (20–2, 12–2 SWAL) to a 13–2 WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal victory over No. 7 seed Argyle/Black Hawk (7–13) in six innings Monday, May 20.

Three days later, Gile led Cuba City with both her arm and bat in a nail-biting 2–1 regional final victory over SWAL co-runner-up Boscobel (16–5, 11–3) SWAL.

Gile struck out 11 and allowed only a single hit — a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning by D1 Mississippi State recruit Gretta Grassel — then delivered the game-winning hit on a RBI double down the left field line in the bottom of the sixth inning last Thursday afternoon. Ella Vosberg hit a one-out single to begin the game-winning rally and eventually scored on a sac fly by Alya Nolan, following a double by Brooke Droessler. Droessler scored the game-winning run on Gile's double.   

Tuesday afternoon Gile tossed a three-hit shutout, while striking out 11 and walking one, in a 2–0 D4 sectional semifinal victory over No. 4 seed Fennimore (13–8), which blanked Mineral Point (21–4) last Thursday to win its first regional softball title since 2002.

Gile and the #4-ranked Cubans were set to take on #3-ranked Horicon (21–2) Thursday at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to the WIAA State Tournament next week in Madison.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Cole Herbst, Fr., Platteville boys golf
Freshman Cole Herbst shot a 5-over-par 77 to win medalist honors and lead the Hillmen to a third-place finish at last Wednesday’s WIAA Division 2 Prairie du Chien Regional. The Hillmen shot a combined 357 to tie Cuba City/Southwestern/Benton to finish behind regional champion Lodi (349) and runner-up River Valley (355) and advance to this Tuesday's D2 River Valley Sectional.

Jenna James, Sr., C and Kayahna Furrer, So., P, Fennimore softball
James went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, and Furrer struck out five and pitched a two-hit shutout and scored three runs in Fennimore's 11–0 victory over No. 1 seed and #7-ranked Mineral Point in a WIAA Division 4 regional final last Thursday. It was Fennimore's first regional softball title since 2002.

Lucas Ludlum, Jr., SS, Platteville baseball
Ludlum went 4-for-4 with a triple, two RBI, two run scored and a stolen base to lead the SWC champion and No. 7 seed Hillmen (14–9) to a 7–6 WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal victory over SWC rival and No. 10 seed to a 7–6 comeback victory last Thursday evening. Platteville scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth, capped by a clutch two-out, two-run single by sophomore Carson Opgenorth. Ludlum tripled and scored in the fifth, had a two-run single and late scored in Platteville's six-run sixth inning, and had singles in the first and third innings.

Macoy Miles, Jr., SS/2B, Fennimore baseball
Junior catcher Macoy Miles did it again, this time under the bright lights of the WIAA playoffs. Seven days after beating SWAL runner-up Mineral Point with a walk-off three-run homer on May 14, Miles won last Thursday’s WIAA Division 3 regional quarterfinal with Onalaska Luther with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning. “Macoy had great at-bats all game and has been our hottest hitter, so I couldn’t want anyone better at that moment,” said Fennimore head coach Brent Sheckler. “He just had the walk-off homer against Point a week before as well. Macoy squared it up perfect and I knew it was over.”  

Alex Ross, Sr., Mineral Point boys golf
2024 SWAL Player of the Year Alex Ross shot a team-best 73 last Tuesday at the par 70 Dodge–Point Country Club to lead the SWAL champion Pointers to the team titles at the WIAA Division 3 Mineral Point Regional. This past Wednesday, Ross again led the way with a team-best 4-over-par 76 at Lawsonia Golf Course to finish second and lead his Pointers to the team title at the D3 Markesan Sectional. Mineral Point shot a combined 310 to beat runner-up Cochrane–Fountain City (336) by 26 strokes and advance to state for the fourth straight year.