Tomahawk sports history: Softball
By Bob Skubal
Retired coach, historian, author of ‘History of Tomahawk Sports’
TOMAHAWK – Girls’ softball has been a varsity sport at Tomahawk High School (THS) since 1979.
Softball is the only varsity sport that all varsity coaches have a winning record. The list of varsity coaches includes Laurie Mitchell, Don Hanson, Ron Wilson, Dave Kukowski and John Larson. Ron Wilson leads the way with a 28-15-1 record for a .648 winning percentage. John Larson had the most wins with 322 and the longest tenure with 30 seasons at the helm.
We will take a look at the first season and aspects of each varsity coach’s time at THS, as well as special seasons and highlights, including the two trips to State.
Laurie Mitchell was the first varsity softball coach at THS.
Team members this season were Margie Renn, Lisa Kainz, Lynn Slaga, Jenny Stiff, Mary Theiler, Ruth Eiche, Peggy Genelin, Laurie Schoone, Julie Swan, Delores Reich, Terri DeBels, Lisa Bartz, Sheila Musch, Kris Nyberg, Brenda Leighton, Kim Findler, Joan Hanke, and Tony Buchanan.
Tomahawk produced a 3-5 record with wins of 30-5 over White Lake, 18-15 over Mellen, and 17-7 over Lakeland. Losses that season were 11-10 to Lakeland in eight innings and 15-5 to Elcho (a sub-regional game).
Season results were incomplete that season as this writer could not find all results; only that after the Mellen game Tomahawk’s record stood at 2-3, according to the Tomahawk Leader.
Don Hanson took over as varsity coach after being Mitchell’s assistant for three seasons. Don “Sarge” Hanson was assisted by Gary Nelmark.
Team members were Heather Imm, Kris Theiler, Kelly O’Leary, Carmen Schoone, Chris Jurgens, Diane Hess, Dorrie Hansen, Connie Theiler, Suzi Schell, Sue Hanson, Leslie DeBels, Hiromi Ogawa, Sue Schoen, Penny Radtke, Nancy VanStrydonk, Kathy Reich, Chris Morren, Kim Kruchten and Diane DuPlayee.
The team had a 13-7 record with a regional championship, a sectional championship and was state runner-up. Prior to playoffs, Tomahawk had wins over Wabeno 14-13 (Tomahawk had 14 hits and 14 errors) and 12-8, Lakeland 17-16 (Tomahawk had 21 hits and 12 errors) and 17-16, Three Lakes 13-12 (THS drew two bases loaded walks in the bottom of the 7th for the win), Crandon 18-11 (Kruchten hit a grand slam), DCE 21-11, and Wausau West 14-2. Losses prior to the playoffs were to Rhinelander 8-7, Crandon 8-4, Ashland 11-9 and 11-7, DCE 5-3 and Three Lakes 10-9 (10-inning game).
Playoffs started with an 8-6 win over Nekoosa (Sue Hanson pitched 7 strong innings) followed by a 4-3 win over Wittenberg-Birnamwood for the regional title. Sectionals saw THS defeat Cadott 7-4 (Cadott did not pitch their number one pitcher, Sally Peters; they were saving her for the second game and Tomahawk scored seven times in the first for the win).
In the sectional finals, THS defeated Ellsworth 8-3 by scoring five runs in the 6th inning. At state, Tomahawk opened with an 8-7 win over North Fond du Lac. This was an eight-inning game that saw Carmen Schoone score the lead run in the top of the 8th inning. During the game, Nancy VanStrydonk stabbed a liner for one out, stepped on first for the second out and threw to second base for the triple play. In the state finals, Tomahawk played hard but fell 17-6 to Denmark.
Ron Wilson was in his first year as varsity coach and was assisted by Gary Nelmark.
Team members were Gwen VanRyen, Monica Myre, D’Ann Haugen, Amy Hilgendorf. Kerri Storm, Heidi Younker, Tina Evans, Shannon Benda, Tracy Grigg, Shelly Russell, Jan Timm, Jenny Eisenman, Johanna Meier, Judi Schoone, Marie Bushar, Sandy Schell and Mary Turgeon.
THS was 12-4-1, a regional champion and came one game away from going to state.
Wins this season were over Eagle River 22-8 (VanRyen threw 170 pitches), 16-1 (VanRyen threw a one-hitter), and 15-1 (Evans was 3-5), Lakeland 19-2 (Grigg threw a four-hitter and Evans hit a three-run in-the-park home run) and 19-10, Flambeau 14-3, Ashland 9-5 and 13-6 (Bushar was 3-3), Wausau West 2-1 (Meier’s 4th inning double was the difference in the game), Wittenberg-Birnamwood 12-2 (Evans hit two home runs and had five RBIs), Clintonville 14-8 and Altoona 6-5 in the first game at sectionals.
Losses were to DCE 19-18 (Tomahawk was up by eight runs in the 6th; Grigg threw 176 pitches), Flambeau 4-3 (8 inning game), Crandon 6-2 and to Amery 13-12 in the sectional finals game.
Tina Evans hit .500 for the season.
Ron Wilson was assisted by Kris Kangas.
THS was 11-7 and 6-2 in their first season as a conference sport. The only conference losses were to Ashland 7-2 and 18-8.
All-Conference honors went to Johanna Meier, Jenny Eisenman, Angela Hagen and Becky Krueger, while Judi Schoone and Sara Theiler were honorable mention.
Dave Kukowski took over as varsity coach and was assisted by Steve Theiler.
Highlights this season were Becky Krueger throwing a one-hitter against Phillips, with All-Conference honors going to Angela Hagen and Becky Krueger.
Dave Kukowski and Steve Theiler led the Hatchets to a 12-3 overall and co-conference championship.
Team members were Tammy Davis, Stacy Theiler, Shawn Burroughs, Lisa Schiltz, Sonya Bablick, Sara Scholz, Alicia Derleth, Heather Andersen, Terri Krueger, Nora Whitaker, Tracy Lussow, Traci Hetzel, Kelly Buck, Laurel Eisenman and Laurenda Jelinek.
Wins this season were over Rib Lake 10-9 (Tomahawk scored four runs in the 7th, with Lisa Schiltz stealing home for the winning run), Medford 21-2 and 18-7, Ashland 14-2 and 19-2, Phillips 29-3 and 17-16, Lakeland 26-2 and 5-4 (Buck scored the winning run on a wild pitch), Eagle River 18-10 (Tomahawk scored 10 runs in the 8th inning of a suspended game from earlier in the season) and 14-4 and Park Falls 4-1.
Losses were 10-6 to Wausau West, 9-6 to Park Falls and Wittenberg-Birnamwood 7-0 in the playoffs.
All-Conference honors went to Tammy Davis, Terri Krueger, Alicia Derleth and Heather Andersen.
Dave Kukowski and Steve Theiler were voted Lumberjack Conference Coaches of the Year.
John Larson took over as head coach and was assisted by Steve Theiler.
Team members were Sonya Bablick, Kelly Buck, Lee Steigerwaldt, Linda Soward, Beth Reilly, Amy Hogeland, Nicki Myre, Michelle Ruka, Tammi Hetzel, Jenny Powell, Lisa Schiltz, Tracy VanRyen, Kim Skubal, Trinity Karl and Karen Meyers.
Tomahawk was regional champion for the first time since 1986.
All-Conference honors went to Sonya Bablick and Kelly Buck, with Nicki Myre and Beth Reilly honorable mention.
John Larson and Steve Theiler were assisted by Ron Wilson.
Team members were Michelle Foss, Bobbi Steinhafel, Billie Steinhafel, Kellie VanStrydonk, Ann Waldum, Kim Derleth, Natalie Nelmark, Amy Cottrell, Kris Liberty, Joelle Mott, Danielle Towle, Chris Pierce, Amanda Treder and Amy Smith.
Tomahawk was co-conference champion at 10-2 with Park Falls.
All-Conference honors went to Bobbi Steinhafel, Billie Steinhafel, Kris Liberty, Jonelle Mott, and Chris Pierce with Danielle Towle, Kim Derleth, and Kellie VanStrydonk all honorable mention.
John Larson, Steve Theiler and Ron Wilson were Lumberjack Conference Co-Coaches of the Year.
Coaches included John Larson, Ron Wilson, Jen Pfannerstill, Dan Towle and Jason Brunner.
Tomahawk was regional champions.
All-Conference honors went to Kim Derleth, Dawn Carey and Amy Smith, with Katie Klinger and Kellie VanStrydonk honorable mention.
Coaches were John Larson, Mark Wall, Ron Wilson and Andy Blodgett.
Team members were Jill Carey, Allie Anderson, Kersten Wilson, Katie Krueger, Kathy Borem, Katie Snyder, Abby Bartz, Abbie Amelse, Heidi Voermans, Deanna Freidel, Jenny Wilson, Christina Scholz, Lindsay Wadzinski, Mandy Freidel, Sam MacGlashing, Joelle Lund, Lacy Roberts, Emily Waldum and Lindsay Brottlund.
Tomahawk was 16-7 overall and co-conference champions with Medford at 9-3. Victories that season were over Wautoma 12-2, Rib Lake 15-0, Rhinelander 12-11, Medford 7-4 and 8-1, Lakeland 14-6, and 12-3, Ashland 1-0, Prentice 10-0, Phillips 8-3 and 6-2, Eagle River 24-1, and 23-1, Park Falls 4-3 and 7-1, and Maple Northwestern 6-1.
Losses were to Waupaca, 10-1, Phillips 4-3, Park Falls 9-8, Merrill 19-9, Ashland 7-6 (10-inning game), Antigo 14-13 (eight-inning game with Tomahawk leading 13-3 in the bottom of the 5th) and Amery 3-2 at sectionals.
All-Conference honors went to Kathy Borem, Lacy Roberts, Christina Scholz, Jenny Wilson, with honorable mention going to Joelle Lund, Kersten Wilson, Heidi Voermans, Abby Bartz, Lindsay Brottlund and Allie Anderson.
Tomahawk’s coaches were Lumberjack Conference Co-Coaches of the Year.
Tomahawk was second in the conference and regional champions.
Team members were Deanna Freidel, Lindsay Wadzinski, Kathy Borem, Lacy Roberts, Allie Anderson, Katie Krueger, Christiana Scholz, Heidi Voermans, Katie Heikkinen, Lindsay Brottlund, Abby Bartz, Kersten Wilson, Emily Waldum, Amie Haring, Melissa Derleth and Jenny Wilson.
Playoff games saw Tomahawk defeat Hayward 9-2, Eagle River 16-6, Maple Northwestern 10-0, and Prescott 6-5. THS would lose 13-3 to Altoona in the sectional finals.
Kersten Wilson was Lumberjack Conference Player of the Year.
Lindsay Brottlund threw a no-hitter against Phillips.
All-Conference honors went to Kersten Wilson, Kathy Borem, Christina Scholz, and Jenny Wilson, with Lindsay Brottlund, Abbie Bartz, Lacy Roberts and Allie Anderson honorable mention.
Jenny Wilson was Lumberjack Conference Player of the Year.
All-Conference honors went to Jenny Wilson, Allie Anderson, Abby Bartz and Lacy Roberts, with Amy Haring, Jamie Leverance and Katie Krueger honorable mention.
All-Conference honors went to Jenny Wilson, Allie Anderson, Mandy Freidel and Jamie Leverance, with Justine Cottrell and Michelle Boomer honorable mention.
Jenny Wilson was Lumberjack Conference Co-Player of the Year.
Jenny Wilson and Allie Anderson were selected to play on the Wisconsin High School All Star Softball Team.
All-Conference honors went to Amanda Maule, Justine Cottrell and Katie Morren, with Michelle Boomer, Rachael Wiedeman and Ashley Nelson honorable mention.
Amanda Maule was All-District and Lumberjack Conference Player of the Year.
Tomahawk was second in the conference for the fifth-straight year.
All-Conference honors went to Tasha Myre, with Ashley Nelson, Denise Borem, Shani Hanson, Amanda Roberets and Kyla Heikkinen honorable mention.
Kendall Nelson, Kacey Iwen and Kelsey Paramore were first team All-Conference, while Stephanie Welke was second team All-Conference. Saydee Juedes and Alex DuPlayee were honorable mention.
Kendall Nelson was voted Great Northern Conference Player of the Year. Nelson and Kacey Iwen were voted All-District and played in the Wisconsin High School All Star Game.
Rachel Dallman and Courtney Theiler were first team All-Conference. Taylor Shilts and Katy Volz were second team All-Conference, and Whitney Osero was honorable mention.
Rachel Dallman was voted Great Northern Conference Player of the Year.
John Larson, Ron Volz, Amanda Kovar and Kyla Dotter were Great Northern Conference Coaches of the Year.
Coaches were John Larson, Ron Volz, Amanda Kovar, Lisa Karau, and Lauren Pfeifer.
Team members were Tiffany DuPlayee, Taylor Shilts, Courtney Theiler, Whitney Osero, Haley Voermans-Dean, Sophie Wegner, Jennifer DuPlayee, Megan Marcks, Jordyn Kaminski, Katy Volz, Rachel Dallman, Gillian Buckwalter, Danielle Kurth and Brooklyn Nelson.
Tomahawk had a 16-8 overall record and were regional champions, sectional champions and state runner-up.
All-Conference honors went to Courtney Theiler and Rachel Dallman-first team; Katy Volz, Haley Voermans-Dean, and Whitney Osero-second team; and Sophie Wegner Megan Marcks, Taylor Shilts and Jordyn Kaminski, honorable mention.
The season started out with five straight losses to Orangeville, Ill., 8-7, Monroe 3-1, Waterford 13-2, and Mosinee 3-0 and 8-0.
Tomahawk ten won eight in a row, with victories over Antigo 9-4 and 15-4, Wausau East 7-2, Phillips 13-3, Lakeland 11-1 and 11-1, Eagle River 10-0 and 18-3 before losing to Merrill 11-2. THS won a twin bill over Medford 10-2 and 8-5 before losing to Rhinelander 3-2. Their last game of the regular season saw Tomahawk defeat Rhinelander 12-2.
The first game of playoffs was a 10-0 win over Wautoma, with Rachel Dallman throwing a no-hitter and a perfect game. A regional title was claimed with a 7-1 win over Peshtigo. Sectionals started with a 4-3 win over Oconto in a 10-inning game. Sectional finals saw a 2-0 win over Brillion at Chilton. In the sectional final game, Rachel Dallman threw a no-hitter and her second perfect game of the season. Brillion came into the game with a 16-2 record.
The first game at state saw Tomahawk defeat Prescott 2-1 in an eight-inning game, with Theiler scoring Kaminski for the winning run. State finals saw another hard fought game, with Poynette coming out on top 2-0.
Rachel Dallman was voted First Team All-District and First Team All-State. She also played in the Wisconsin High School All-Star Game. Courtney Theiler was voted honorable mention All-District.
Katy Volz, Haley Voermans-Dean and Megan Marcks were first team all-conference. Molly Mott and Taylor Shilts were second team all-conference, with Tiffany DuPlayee, Gillian Buckwalter and Whitney Osero honorable mention.
Katy Volz was All-District, and Haley Voermans-Dean was honorable mention All-District. Katy Volz was voted All-State honorable mention and played in the Wisconsin High School All-Star Game.
John Larson and Ron Volz were coaches for the Wisconsin High School All-Star Game.
Season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Molly Mott and Maddie Marino were voted first team All-Conference. Addison Bartz was second team, while Mackenzie Scholz, Meghan Scholz and Scout Stromberg were honorable mention.
Maddie Marino was honorable mention All-State.
Tomahawk defeated Rhinelander 12-0 and 13-0, with Maddie Marino throwing a no-hitter in one game and a two-hitter in the second. She had 25 Ks between the two games.
Maddie Marino was first team All-Conference. Scout Stromberg was second team All-Conference, while Bella Marino, Mary Jankiewicz and Sara Gebauer were honorable mention.
Once again, Maddie Marino was honorable mention All-State.
All-Conference honors went to Scout Stromberg second team, with Bella Marino and Khianna Vacho honorable mention.