The New London Bulldogs kept bunting the ball and Appleton Xavier kept making errors when trying to field those bunts.
That allowed New London to put five runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning May 29 in a 9-3 win in a Division 2 regional championship.
The Bulldogs, the defending Division 2 state champions, advanced to sectionals and played Adams-Friendship June 3 in a sectional semifinal in Waupaca. The winner will take on Oconto Falls or Wrightstown at 5 p.m. today (Thursday, June 5) in a sectional final.
New London also picked up tournament wins over Little Chute and Fox Valley Lutheran.
New London 9, Xavier 3
NEW LONDON – Both teams started hot, as Xavier tallied three runs in the top of the first inning and New London answered with four runs in the bottom half.
Xavier loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but Shelby Sommer pitched out of the jam without surrendering a run.
New London put runners on first and second base with two outs in the bottom of the third, but Xavier’s second baseman made a diving stop on a ground ball and flipped the ball to the shortstop covering second base for the third out of the inning.
Xavier put a runner on second with one out in the fourth. The runner advanced to third on a passed ball. The batter then bunted and the runner on third broke for home, but was thrown out at the plate.
Meanwhile, the batter rounded first and headed for second base. New London catcher Jenna Mytton threw to second, but the ball sailed into center field. Second baseman Alanna Beyer chased the ball into center field, while the runner rounded third and headed for home. Beyer threw a strike to the plate and Mytton tagged the runner out for a wild, inning-ending double play.
New London loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but Sommer fouled out to third base to end the inning.
Tanna Spencer drew a leadoff walk for New London in the sixth. Molly O’Connell followed with a single and Beyer bunted and was safe at first base on an errant throw which allowed Spencer to score and sent O’Connell to third.
Payton Mix stepped to the plate and laid down another bunt, drawing another bad throw from Xavier. Mix moved to second base on the throw, Beyer went to third and O’Connell scored.
Abby Elsholtz struck out for the first out of the inning, but Sommer followed with another bunt. She was safe at first base on a bad throw, while Beyer scored and Mix went to third.
Grace Mroczynski pinch ran for Sommer and stole second base. Leah Porath blooped a single behind first base to score Mix and send Mroczynski to third.
With Morgan Gorges up to bat, Porath stole second base. Gorges then hit a sacrifice fly to score Mroczynski.
A fly-out to center field ended the inning, but not before New London had scored five runs and had taken a commanding 9-3 lead.
Down to their last three outs, Xavier earned an infield single and the runner stole second base to get into scoring position. Sommer got the next batter to fly out to left field for the first out of the inning and the runner had to hold at second. The next batter grounded out to the pitcher for the second out and the next batter grounded out to third to end the game.
Sommer pitched all seven innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Porath, Mytton and O’Connell had two hits to lead New London, while Beyer, Mix, Elsholtz and Sommer had one each.
New London 3, FVL 1
APPLETON – The third-seeded Bulldogs knocked off the second-seeded Foxes May 27 in a regional semifinal.
New London led 1-0 after two innings and added two runs in the top of the seventh. FVL got on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, but it turned out to be the Foxes’ only run.
Mix led New London with two hits, while Beyer, Sommer, Mytton and O’Connell added one. Mix, Sommer and O’Connell each drove in a run.
Sommer allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts to get the complete-game win.
New London 13, Little Chute 0 (5 inn.)
NEW LONDON – The Bulldogs led 4-0 after two innings and put up nine runs in the fourth in a five-inning win over the Mustangs.
O’Connell, Mytton, Mix and Beyer had two hits for New London, while Elsholtz, Gorges, Porath and Mickey Roland added one each.
Sommer held Little Chute to one hit over four innings and struck out two batters. O’Connell worked the fifth inning to get the save and allowed one hit and one walk.