Softball: Thunder lose to Irish, beat Lakers to stay alive

The Zimmerman softball team lost to Maple Lake 2-1, then stayed alive with an 18-1 rout of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, in sub-section play Wednesday in Maple Lake.

The Thunder, 12-8 overall and 2-1 in playoffs, return to Maple Lake on Thursday needing a win to advance to the Section 5AA tournament starting Tuesday in Watertown. Their opponent will be the loser of the Maple Lake vs. Watertown-Mayer game.

Maple Lake 2, Thunder 1

Maple Lake’s Chloe Callahan prevailed in the pitchers duel over Zimmerman’s McKenna Butau, who allowed just four hits and struck out six.

The Irish lost to the Thunder three times last year, but won this one and improved to 18-3.

The Thunder got a first-inning run on a double steal. Maddie Jacobs singled and moved to third on a bunt, and Carlie Lage walked. When Lage stole second and drew the throw, Jacobs scampered home.

However, Maple Lake tied the score right away on a leadoff homer in the first, ending a string of 16 shutout innings by Butau, and pushed across another run in the fourth.

Jacob was 3-for-4 and Gabby Antolak 2-for-3 with a double for Zimmerman.

Thunder 18, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 1

While Laker pitchers struggled with control, Thunder hitting was led by Kayla Christopherson, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, Jacobs with a two-run triple and Antolak with a double, triple and two walks. Savannah Olson was 2-for-3 and Ashley Pool drew three walks and scored four runs.

Pool pitched the five-inning win, allowing two hits and two walks, striking out four.