Prescott advances to Wisconsin Division 3 softball state final

Taylor Graf and Grace Franco propelled Prescott High School into uncharted softball territory. Graf tossed a three-hit shutout and Franco accounted for the only run with a first-inning RBI triple to lift Prescott to a 1-0 victory over Peshtigo in a Wisconsin Division 3 semifinal game Tuesday in Green Bay, sending the Cardinals to the […]

Prescott advances to Wisconsin Division 3 softball state final

Taylor Graf and Grace Franco propelled Prescott High School into uncharted softball territory.

Graf tossed a three-hit shutout and Franco accounted for the only run with a first-inning RBI triple to lift Prescott to a 1-0 victory over Peshtigo in a Wisconsin Division 3 semifinal game Tuesday in Green Bay, sending the Cardinals to the title game for the first time in six state tournament appearances.

The second-seeded Cardinals (24-3) advanced to Tuesday’s 7 p.m. title game at UW-Green Bay against top-seeded Dodgeville (27-3), which downed fourth-seeded Lomira 10-4 in the other semifinal.

Prescott lost in the state semifinals in 2018 and 2019 before last season’s tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. The Cardinals also lost their state tournament opener in 1993, 1998 and 2002.

Graf, a sophomore righthander, struck out 10 and walked none. Peshtigo sophomore Bethany Ahrens was almost as effective, allowing one run on six hits, striking out five and walking none.

Prescott took a 1-0 lead in the first. Sydney Matzek singled to open and advanced on a ground out. Franco’s two-out triple to right scored Matzek.

Graf made sure that the one run was enough.

Graf retired the first 11 hitters before Allison Peters reached on a two-out infield single in the fourth that second baseman Isabel Matzek gloved behind the bag, but had no play. Ahrens then reached on an infield single, but Graf struck out Allison Dudka to end the inning.

The Bulldogs (22-3) threatened again in the sixth when Grace Wickman doubled with one out, but Graf retired the next two hitters on a pop out to third and foul out to shallow left.

Two of Prescott’s three losses this season came in Middle Border Conference play against undefeated Baldwin-Woodville (21-0), the second-seeded team in the Division 2 tournament. Baldwin-Woodville faces third-seeded Marinette in the semifinals at noon Wednesday.