Kenna Kornely and Jessica Mermal share a tearful embrace following the loss to Kaukauna Monday in the semifinal round of the WIAA Division 1 state softball tournament. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

Lady Demons dominated in state semifinal

By Mike Ramczyk

Correspondent

Oh, what could have been.

The Burlington High School softball squad opened a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal Monday night at UW-Green Bay’s King Park just about as good as you can imagine, but they also left plenty to be desired.

The Demons jumped on top-seeded Kaukauna, the state’s fifth-ranked team, with one run right away in the top of the first, and the bases remained loaded with nobody out.

But Kaukauna pitcher Skyler Calmes took after her last name and stayed calm, cool and collected.

Two force-outs at home plate followed, along with a strikeout, and the 1-0 lead was really the lone bright spot as the Ghosts haunted the Demons for most of the rest of the game in an 11-1 drubbing that ended early in six innings.

Burlington saw its magical run fall just short, but it was the second time in three seasons it reached the state semifinals.

The Demons finished 22-5.

According to head coach Val Auseth, the Ghosts had Morgan Klein’s pitches timed just right, as the third, fourth and fifth innings saw Kaukauna score three, three and four runs, respectively.

“They’re a great team, they really are,” Auseth said about Kaukauna. “We’ve had our highs and our lows, and unfortunately this was one of our lows. This is our first doubleheader of the season, and it’s a lot for a pitcher and for a lot of the girls. And it’s emotional. This team has been phenomenal all season, and I’m so proud of them.”

For player Molly Berezowitz, it’s always sad when the season ends.

“Today was just not our night,” she said after the game. “Their pitcher was good. We played small ball, and we started strong. I give them credit. After the first, they came out and just hit the ball.

“It was a great season overall. This experience overall was just amazing. A lot of emotions…the culture of our team, we were cheering even in the last inning, down 10-1.”

“We’re like family.”

      To read the entire story and for complete coverage of the Demons run to the state tournament in stories and photos, see the July 1 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.