MADISON — The Milton High’s softball team was one out away from the end of its season, but a 3-run rally in the seventh inning propelled the Red Hawks to a 5-3 win over Kaukauna and an appearance Saturday in the WIAA Division 1 state title game.

The three-time defending champion Ghosts lacked the crisp execution it had shown all season and Milton hung around long enough to pull out the upset.

Kaukauna scored first in the bottom half of the first inning with an RBI single from Jozy Ebben sending Paige Bodenheimer across the plate.

Milton’s Ella Knoble’s double scored Lynden Briggs to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Then a Kenzie Marquardt double scored Knoble to go up 2-1.

Milton loaded the bases in the fifth, but Kaukauna got out of the jam, fueling the Ghosts’ bottom half of the inning.

Kaukauna’s Paige Bodenheimer started the rally with a perfectly placed bunt, then Karly Meredith followed with her first base hit of the night.

Jozy Ebben reached base on a Milton error, allowing Bodenheimer to score and tie the game. Then Meredith scored on a Summer Schmidt sacrifice bunt to give the Ghosts the lead back at 3-2.

The two teams traded punches until the Milton half of the seventh when a bases-loaded hit to right by Jenna Benash with two outs scored Julia Schultz and Lynden Briggs to put the Red Hawks up 4-3.

Julia Schultz scored on an error to push the lead to 5-3 to close out the win.

The Red Hawks play for the title Saturday about 6:30 p.m. against 2-seed Kenosha Bradford, a 1-0 winner over Watertown in the other semifinal game.

Saturday‚Äôs championship games will STREAM HERE ON WKOW or on WLUK (FOX)/WCWF(CW) in Green Bay/Appleton.

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak of Janesville is founder of the Janesville News Report