Lakers' season ends
Pepin managed just two hits Friday in Boscobel, Wis., as it lost to Highland 2-1 and finished its season one game short of the Division 4 state semifinals.
Highland junior pitcher Emily Wolfe wasn't overpowering -- she tallied five strikeouts -- but she kept the Lakers (21-3) off balance in the sectional finals.
"We've been a pretty dynamic hitting team all year," Lakers coach Matt Bellerive said. "(But) she was mixing her speeds and hitting her spots pretty good."
Pepin had two chances to break the game open, but it couldn't get a clutch hit either time.
With one run already in thanks to a bases-loaded walk and a runner still at every base, Brianna Kircher popped out to the third baseman to end the first-inning threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tasha Heit led off with a double. That brought up the Lakers' three-, four- and five-hitters to the plate.
"I'm thinking we're going to score, we're going to tie it this inning," Bellerive said.
Ali Murray has been a productive hitter all season so Bellerive let her hit away instead of having her drop a sacrifice bunt, but Murray popped out to the first baseman. Then Breanna Ellison and Micky Dusek both struck out to end the inning.
"(With hindsight) it's easy to say I should have bunted her to third," Bellerive said.
Ellison gave her team a chance to win by allowing two earned runs in the first and keeping Highland off the scoreboard the remainder of the game. She struck out one, walked one and allowed seven hits.
She also recorded six 1-3 putouts.
"I've never seen so many balls hit up the middle," Bellerive said. "She played her best defensive game of the season by far. She was a vacuum cleaner."
Not only was Friday's game the end of Pepin's season, but it was the end of Lakers softball. Pepin had 10 players in its program this season and next year it will co-op with Alma and the team will be called the Eagles.
All but one of Pepin's players will be back as Kircher was the team's only senior.