Don't judge Wabasha-Kellogg by its record.

The Falcons' 15-11 mark might not stand out with other teams' records at the Class A state tournament, but make no mistake, the Falcons plan on making plenty of noise.

Falcons head coach Mike Schumacher knew that this group could be special way back when they were in middle school. How special? It’s impossible to know how a group will grow and develop from middle school to high school, but Schumacher believed that they had a chance to make a deep run.

He was right.

RELATED: Wabasha-Kellogg and Winona take two different paths on journey to state

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“We knew we had the tools,” Schumacher said. "When these juniors and seniors were in seventh and eighth grade, they held their own against all the other eighth-grade teams. I knew they’d have a chance.”

Schumacher wasn’t afraid to play talented teams from far bigger schools during the regular season. It was all part of the master plan to prepare for a run in the Section 1A tournament. So, the Falcons played teams such as Winona Cotter. And even though W-K fell to the Ramblers 3-1 in nine innings, there was optimism surrounding the way the Falcons played against a top Class AA program. The Falcons also lost to Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Section 1AA champion St. Charles twice. They lost to Kasson-Mantorville 1-0 and Chatfield beat them a couple times, too.

But even through those losses, Schumacher stayed quietly confident about the nucleus of this Wabasha-Kellogg team. The coach knew that the Falcons were playing against really good teams and that they were also taking care of business against teams they’d face in the Section 1A playoffs.

St. Charles turned into the Section 1AA champion. Kasson-Mantorville played for the Section 1AAA title. Cotter was in the Final Four in Section 1AA.

"Our record might not look that great, but that’s because we played some really good teams,” Schumacher said. "All those losses helped us get to this point.”

When the Section 1A tournament rolled around, the teams that Wabasha-Kellogg was going up against were not as deep as some of the teams that they played throughout the regular season. And then, the Falcons' stars shined in the biggest moments.

Wabasha-Kellogg’s Julia Schmoker delivers a pitch 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 Julia Schmoker delivers a pitch 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)

Senior Julia Schmoker has been a terrific pitcher and hitter all year long. She’s the Falcons' alpha and the ace in the circle. When she’s in the circle, Wabasha-Kellogg plays with confidence and a swagger. The Falcons believe they’re going to win because she’s not going to let them lose. When they faced a do-or-die scenario against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Schmoker came up clutch with back-to-back gems. She shut down a powerful W-E-M lineup for 14 innings, allowing just three runs total across two Section 1A championship games, as the Falcons were able to clinch their state bid.

Wabasha-Kellogg will play No. 3 Browerville (23-0) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Caswell Park in Mankato.

"This team has a lot of grit,” Schumacher said. "Julia has been the cornerstone of this team. She's had home runs in almost every playoff game and she’s come through with pitching all season long.”

But Schmoker doesn't do it all alone. Second-baseman Jacqueline Avilez has been a dangerous leadoff hitter all year long. Senior catcher Morgan Baker and Schmoker have formed an incredible battery. Third-baseman Megan Solberg made some terrific defensive plays throughout the Section 1A tournament, and so did Sophie Graner at first base.

So don’t judge Wabasha-Kellogg on the 11 games that they’ve lost this year. The Falcons think they’re as good as any team in Class A because when Schmoker is in the circle and looming in the cleanup spot, they believe they can beat anyone.

"Early on, we weren’t putting things together defensively or offensively, but we’re jelling at the right time,” Schumacher said.

Wabasha-Kellogg’s Jacqueline Avilez makes a play to teammate Sophie Graner (8) during a Section 1A playoff game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Wabasha-Kellogg’s Jacqueline Avilez makes a play to teammate Sophie Graner (8) during a Section 1A playoff game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Wabasha-Kellogg’s projected starting lineup

2B Jacqueline Avilez, Jr.

CF Ella Lineweaver, Jr.

C Morgan Baker, Sr.

P Julia Schmoker, Sr.

3B Megan Solberg, Jr.

1B Sophie Graner, Jr.

RF Hannah Johnson, So.

SS Hayden Hawkins, 8th

DP Katie Loechler, Fr.

LF Klaire Johnson, So.

CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT

QUARTERFINALS

Caswell Park, Mankato

Tuesday, June 15

(All games at 3 p.m.)

No. 1 Randolph (24-0) vs. No. 8 Sebeka (18-6)

No. 5 Cherry vs. No. 4 Edgerton (19-3)

No. 2 Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (26-0) vs. No. 7 Springfield (19-5)

No. 3 Browerville (23-0) vs. Wabasha-Kellogg (15-11)

SEMIFINALS

Caswell Park, Mankato

Tuesday, June 15

(All games at 7 p.m.)

Randolph/Sebeka winner vs. Cherry/Edgerton winner

Badger-Greenbush-Middle River/Springfield winner vs. Browerville/Wabasha-Kellogg winner

CHAMPIONSHIP

Caswell Park, Mankato

Wednesday, June 16

Third-place game, 10 a.m.

Championship game, 12 p.m.