Softball: Strong pitching helps Oconto Falls sweep Clintonville

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Josie Tolzman, Haley Bell each toss gems
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Oconto Falls' Josie Tolzman delivers a pitch during a doubleheader in Clintonville on May 3. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The Oconto Falls High School softball pitching duo of senior Josie Tolzman and junior Haley Bell held Clintonville to one run during a North Eastern Conference doubleheader sweep on Friday (May 3) in Clintonville.

Tolzman pitched a complete game in a 7-0 victory in game one. Bell was just as dominant in the Panthers’ 9-1 win in game two.

Tolzman allowed just two hits and two walks in her outing. She struck out five batters and needed just 79 pitches to get through the seven innings.

“It’s not like we (including Bell) were striking them out every time, our defense really helped us a lot and didn’t make a lot of errors,” said Tolzman. “I guess both of us were trying to hit our spots consistently and the pitch-calling was there too and that helped a lot.”

In her seven-inning outing, Bell surrendered four hits and one walk while striking out five batters. The only run she allowed was an unearned one in the fifth inning.

“It was more than just our pitching — our defense is very, very good this year. I was focusing more on hitting the outside corners and spins,” said Bell. “Everything seemed to be working today.”

The Panthers collected seven hits in game one, but also took advantage of three walks and six Clintonville errors.

Senior Caitlin Johnson got Oconto Falls on the scoreboard in the second inning, delivering a two-out, two-strike, two-RBI single.

Bell and senior Katelyn Albrecht scored on passed balls in the third before senior Kaelyn Allen laid down a bunt to score junior Alyson Fabry and make it 5-0.

Oconto Falls tacked on a run in the fifth and seventh innings to cap the win.

Senior Sammy Shallow doubled in junior Brooke Nasgovitz, a courtesy runner for Tolzman, in the fifth. Tolzman singled home sophomore Abigail Remic, a courtesy runner for senior catcher Emma Huberty, in the seventh.

The Panthers got off to a fast start in game two, scoring in the first when Fabry doubled in Bell with two outs.

Oconto Falls’ offense went quiet for the next few innings before erupting for seven in the fourth to seize control.

The Panthers nearly lost their lead in the prior half inning, as the Truckers loaded the bases with no outs, but Bell struck out the next three batters to continue the shutout.

Huberty doubled to open the inning. Sophomore Taylor Ash, a courtesy runner, then scored on Remic’s single with one out.

With two outs, the Panthers strung together six straight hits.

Shallow, Allen, Bell, Albrecht and Fabry all doubled to run the lead to 7-0. Huberty then singled to score Fabry and make it 8-0.

“This was probably one of the top three pitchers we’ve faced all year,” said coach Cory Albrecht of Clintonville’s Hannah Baird. “She’s a very nice pitcher and it kind of gave us a little bit of a surprise.”

“It was a frustrating night for us because we pride ourselves on being a good hitting team. That one inning there where it was (seven) runs, where most came with two outs — that’s the kind of thing we expected all night.”

After Clintonville answered with a run in the fifth, Oconto Falls, which was the home team for game two, put a stamp on the sweep with a run in the sixth. Huberty capped a three-hit game by driving in Albrecht with a double.

The Panthers pounded out 14 hits in the game and struck out just twice. Nine of those hits were doubles.