SLINGER 鈥 If Slinger can pair defense with its offense, which averages over 8.5 runs per game, the Owls can make themselves an even tougher out in the upcoming Division 1 softball playoffs.

The hosts (14-7) played a relatively clean game in the field while piling up 11 hits in Friday鈥檚 9-3 win over Kewaskum (15-7), ranked ninth in Division 2 by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. Both teams have games with their respective conference leaders coming up in next week鈥檚 conclusion of the regular season before the postseason starts up.

"Our defense fueled our offense," Slinger coach Tanya Farhat said. "It's one of the first games of the year where we limited our errors."

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The Owls, winners of four straight and five of their last six, visit North Shore co-leader West Bend West Monday. Kewaskum, which took a 3-2 win over Slinger on April 5, held back ace Macy Sabish for what was likely load management.

A stretch of three East Central games in consecutive days finishes with a trip to No. 8 Waupun, which sits a game ahead of Kewaskum in the ECC, on Thursday. Sabish threw 1.2 innings in relief, so both teams got a good look before the challenging stretch run.

"It鈥檚 a good game to play and to see good pitching," Farhat said. "We have some games where we have a chance to help ourselves with seeding."

Slinger starter Adeline Bretz was able to work around a walk and a hit batter in the top of the first. Kewaskum freshman Milli Krief was not as fortunate, but could have just as easily gotten out of the first.

Brookie Tennies dropped a oneout single inside the right field line for a hit. With two out, Camden Fehrman鈥檚 pop up found the perfect spot between the middle infielders and the pitching circle for an infield hit.

Center fielder Kyli Baka got a bad read and break on Cece Kirsch鈥檚 fly to shallow center that turned into an RBI double. After Abby Weiterman hit an RBI single to center, a throw to the plate was air mailed, enabling Fehrman to score for a 3-0 edge.

Weiterman doubled to deep left with two outs in the third before Keira Lanting鈥檚 drive to right went off the glove of Lauren Rettler for another run. Kewaskum nearly erased the deficit in the fourth, starting with Rettler getting plunked by Bretz.

After Sabish sacrificed Rettler to second, Hannah Galasinski singled her in and Maya Beistle followed with another single. Krief then doubled down the left field line for two more runs, the second of which caused a stir.

Kewaskum courtesy runner Olivia Olson and the throw to the plate arrived at the same time, resulting in a collision with Weiterman, the Slinger catcher. It was ruled that Weiterman did not have the ball first and therefore obstructed Olson, with her run counting.

Slinger restored some of its cushion in the bottom of the inning when Morgan Riley鈥檚 leadoff double was followed by an RBI double from freshman KJ Burkel. Katie Parker鈥檚 sacrifice fly plated Burkel for a 6-3 advantage.

Sabish came on in relief in the fifth after Krief loaded the bases with a walk and two hit batters. She might not be that familiar with coming on in relief, as she hit Riley with her first pitch to force in a run and a wild pitch brought in yet another.

Lanting鈥檚 two out single in the sixth brought in Ferhman, who doubled to lead off that frame. Freshman Amber McCarthy pitched three innings of three-hit relief for the Owls.

Kewaskum visits Berlin Tuesday.

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