Platteville’s Halli Austin has been swinging a hot bat all season.
Last Thursday the third baseman’s scintillating senior season continued in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs.
Austin rapped out four hits in four consecutive at-bats, including a pair of ringing doubles, and drove in a game-high five runs to lead the Hillmen to a 10–5 regional quarterfinal win over visiting Dodgeville on a windy afternoon at Platteville’s Chamberlain Field.
The teams combined to commit 12 errors in the swirling winds that blew infield dirt around throughout the contest, but Platteville managed to capitalize on a pair of big innings to pull away for the five-run victory.
“It was a good victory,” said Hillmen coach Tina Davies. “The girls were poised and confident with the bats. The wind played some factor in the amount of errors, but the good thing was how we bounced back after making errors and not allowing more runs to come in.”
Platteville jumped out to a 4–0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed.
Austin ignited the Hillmen first with a two-run double that plated courtesy runner Madison Moon and center fielder Kelsey Spensley. Austin then stole home on the back end of a double steal with Katie Klar, who swiped second after a single.
Klar later scored when Taylor Triphan reached on an error.
Brittany Edge singled to lead off the Platteville second and later scored on Amber Edge’s RBI ground out.
Dodgeville plated a pair of runs in the second inning on a two-out, two-run double by starting pitcher Jill Arnold.
Those were the only two earned runs allowed by Hillmen starter Megan Schlueter, who improved to 10–8 on the season. She struck out six and walked two while allowing six hits in seven innings.
Dodgeville scored an unearned run in the fourth, then two more unearned runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 5–5.
Brooke Lee reached on an error to lead off the Dodger fifth and later scored on a two-out RBI by Faith Loy. Loy was brought around two batters later with a two-out RBI single by Megan Dalsing.
Platteville regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Austin one-hopped the center field fence with a booming RBI ground rule double in the fifth.
Austin scored to make it 7–5 when Klar reached on an error later in the inning.
Platteville provided the final margin of victory with three runs in the sixth.
Cathcer Emily Feyen double homed Amber Edge, then two batters later Austin cashed in yet another RBI opportunity.
Her two-run double down the left field line scored both Moon (running for Feyen) and Spensley.
“Halli’s stick is hot and she is one very confident young lady,” said Davies. “She is peaking at the right time and hitting like I always knew she could. I am hoping the bat stays hot throughout our postseason playing.”
Platteville improved to 13–10 on the season an advanced to face second-seeded Prairie du Chien (11–9) in a D2 regional semifinals that was scheduled to be played this past Tuesday.
Prairie du Chien swept Platteville in the season series beating the Hillmen 10–1 on April 17 and 11–0 on May 8.
WIAA Division 2 Regional Quarterfinal
Platteville 10, Dodgeville 5
(from Thursday, May 24 @ Platteville)
Dodgeville 020 120 0 — 5 6 6
Platteville 410 023 x — 10 8 6
Leading hitters — D: Lee 2x3; P: Emily Feyen 2x3, Halli Austin 4x4. 2B — D: Cushman; P: Feyen, Austin, Kelsey Spensley. W - Megan Schlueter (10–8, 7 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 6 SO, 2 BB). L – Arnold (6 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 6 ER, 3 SO, 3 BB).