AUSTIN –– Julia Schmoker has to call into work tomorrow and tell her bosses at the Wabasha Marina that she can't come in. The Wabasha-Kellogg senior has something way more important to get ready for.

The Falcons are going to state.

Wabasha-Kellogg entered Thursday's action needing not one, but two wins over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown to win the Section 1A championship. W-E-M had rallied for a pair of runs in the seventh inning on Tuesday against Schmoker and W-K knew beating a team twice in one day that had only lost three times all year wasn't going to be an easy task.

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But Schmoker has been the lynchpin for the Falcons all year long, and she delivered yet again on Thursday. The senior pitched gems in both Section 1A games, helping W-K win the first game 9-1 and then clinch its state-tournament bid with a huge 4-2 victory in the biggest game of the season.

Wabasha-Kellogg’s Ella Lineweaver slides back into second base as W-E-M’s Ellie Ready tags her out during a Section 1A softball championship game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Wabasha-Kellogg’s Ella Lineweaver slides back into second base as W-E-M’s Ellie Ready tags her out during a Section 1A softball championship game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

"It was a blast," Schmoker said. "We came out here with good thoughts and good intentions and we did it. We've been so close for so many years, so this is exciting. First time in a long time since we've gone to state."

In three of the last four years before COVID wiped out the 2020 season, Wabasha-Kellogg had advanced all the way to the Section finals before bowing out one win away from the state tournament.

"It’s been 15 years since we’ve been to state," veteran coach Mike Schumacher said. "To be so close for so many years but then to break through is amazing."

Wabasha-Kellogg celebrates after winning a Section 1A softball championship game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Wabasha-Kellogg celebrates after winning a Section 1A softball championship game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

The Falcons' bats supplied 11 hits in the decisive second title game, after scoring nine runs in the first game, but it was W-K's defense that really shined. First-baseman Sophie Graner made a fabulous lunging catch in the sixth inning on a bunt attempt and she turned and fired back to first to complete a double play and erase a would-be W-E-M rally.

"Way back in 2003, we had a similar play where our third baseman came flying in and made the catch and threw to first for a double play in the seventh inning against Southland in the section championship game," Schumacher said. "We went to state that year, and when (Sophie) made that play, I was like, 'Oh that's deja vu,' this really might be happening!"

Wabasha-Kellogg 4, W-E-M 2

Wabasha-Kellogg 002 010 1 — 4 11 1

W-E-M 000 000 2 — 2 3 2

Wabasha-Kellogg: Julia Schmoker 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Jacqueline Avilez 2-for-3; Hannah Johnson 1-for-3; Morgan Baker 2-for-4; Sophia Graner 1-for-3; Megan Solberg 2-for-4; Ella Lineweaver 1-for-4 Pitchers: Julia Schmoker 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 K

W-E-M: No stats provided.

Winona cruises past K-M in 1AAA

Winona’s Makayla Steffes slides into home during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Makayla Steffes slides into home during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Just minutes after celebrating a Section 1AAA crown with a 12-2, six-inning win over Kasson-Mantorville, Winona head coach Mitch Grossell didn't want to talk about the 12 runs or the 15 hits.

It was the Winhawks' impressive defense that really had his attention.

"Our new motto was to eat dirt and now it’s 'Eat grass,'" Grossell said. "I can't be prouder. They really worked, worked, worked."

Their other motto has been "Win every inning." When Kasson-Mantorville's Emma Simons cranked a no-doubt, two-run bomb to left field, that cut Winona's lead to 8-2. When the Winhawks came back into the dugout, they were talking about winning the inning. Even with a six-run advantage, they felt like they needed to score.

They did just that, tallying four runs in the sixth inning to end the game by 10-run rule and the celebration was on.

“It’s been our entire season," Grossell said. "We try to win or tie every inning. If we do that we’re fine. It’s worked so far this season. Hopefully, we have three more in us."

Winona will head to the Class AAA state tournament next week with a 19-5 record. Kasson-Mantorville's season comes to a close with a 15-9 record and a Section 1AAA runner-up finish.

Winona 12, Kasson-Mantorville 2

Kasson-Mantorville#000#002#0#—#2#5#0

Winona#240#024#0#—#12#15#0

Kasson-Mantorville: Emma Simons 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI; Avery Irish 2-for-3 1 R; Abby Zahn 1-for-1; Libby Maxson 1-for-2 Pitchers: Libby Maxson 3 IP 8 H, 6 ER, 2 K; Emma Simons 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 K

Winona: Makayla Steffes 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI; Macy McNally 1-for-4, 2 R; Grace Fricke 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 4 RBI; Paige Grafton 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Kayla Robinson 1 R; Olivia Poulin 4-for-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Ava Hamsund 2-for-3, 2B 1 R, 1 RBI; Alma Johnson 2-for-3, 1 R; Hannah Lee 2 R. Pitchers: Makayla Steffes 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8 K

Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Libby Maxson delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Libby Maxson delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Mackenzie Simmons cheers during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Mackenzie Simmons cheers during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville receives their runner-up trophy after being defeated by Winona during a Section 1AAA softball championship game on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville receives their runner-up trophy after being defeated by Winona during a Section 1AAA softball championship game on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Makayla Steffes (21) delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Makayla Steffes (21) delivers a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons (18) tags out Winona’s Olivia Poulon as she slides back into first base during a Section 1AAA softball championship game on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons (18) tags out Winona’s Olivia Poulon as she slides back into first base during a Section 1AAA softball championship game on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Libby Maxson high-fives teammate Hayley Murphy during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Libby Maxson high-fives teammate Hayley Murphy during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Alma Johnson bunts during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Alma Johnson bunts during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Hailey Rismeyer dives for a ball during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Hailey Rismeyer dives for a ball during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Hailey Rismeyer dives for a ball as Calleigh Richards backs her up during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Hailey Rismeyer dives for a ball as Calleigh Richards backs her up during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Ava Hamsund attempts to bunt during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Ava Hamsund attempts to bunt during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona celebrates after winning a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville cheers after their teammate  Emma Simons (not pictured) hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville cheers after their teammate Emma Simons (not pictured) hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Kasson-Mantorville’s Emma Simons hits a home run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Hannah Lee, left, is greeted by teammates in  the dugout after scoring a run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Winona’s Hannah Lee, left, is greeted by teammates in the dugout after scoring a run during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)