By Greg Seubert
One game doesn’t define a season.
That’s the message Weyauwega-Fremont softball coach Todd Breuer had for his team June 2 after the Indians came out on the short end of a 1-0 score to Laconia in a Division 3 sectional semifinal in Amherst.
“I told the girls there’s no way you should feel bad or hang your heads about anything,” he said. “This game is not going to define our season and I made sure the girls know that.”
Payton Kastenschmidt’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning turned out to be the only score of the day in a game that turned into a pitcher’s duel between the Indians’ Kiley Akey and the Spartans’ Kayla Schwebke.
While Akey held the Spartans to five hits, the Indians had only two off of Schwebke and struck out 13 times.
Laconia went on to hand Oconto a 5-4 eight-inning defeat June 4 in a sectional final in Marathon and will take on Bloomer Friday, June 12, in a state semifinal in Madison.
“Kiley did great and I know she’s going to shoulder a lot of the burden because of the home run,” Breuer said. “I called a changeup and (Kastenschmidt) was looking for it. Our scouting report said she was an aggressive hitter and likes to go after those pitches. I think it was the right call, but she’s a great batter. She got the job done for them. We’ve been in that position many times. That’s the game of softball and that’s what makes it fun.”
Breuer was hoping the Indians’ bats would come to life at some point against Schwebke, who came into the game with 331 strikeouts on the season.
“I was hoping that with the second or third time through the lineup that we’d string some hits together,” he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen, especially against a great pitcher. She has speed, she has control, she doesn’t walk anybody. She’s only a sophomore, but you know what? We have two freshmen (pitchers).”
Laconia threatened in the fourth by loading the bases, but didn’t score.
“I thought our bats would come alive after that,” Breuer said. “We were in the middle of the lineup and it was like, ‘OK, here we go, this is what we’ve been doing all year.’ It just didn’t happen today.”
Although the season is over, Breuer is already looking forward to next season.
“I’m going to take a couple of days before I do that, but a lot of kids are going to play this summer and continue to get better,” he said. “Kylie and Cadyn (Ehrenberg) are going to work their tail off and (Central Wisconsin 8 Conference player of the year) Karissa Akey’s not going away. It’s not only the chemistry, but it’s the commitment. We’ve always had committed girls from top to bottom, but I don’t think we’ve had this many committed girls. They’re going to continue to do that.”
The Indians won the CWC-8 championship with a 14-0 record that included a pair of wins over Pacelli, a team heading to state in Division 4.
“I don’t think that’s ever happened before,” Breuer said. “We picked up our third conference title in program history. Iola, Pacelli and Shiocton are all great teams and they did not lay down for anybody. Those games could’ve went either way.”
A six-game stretch in early May that included wins over defending state champions Mosinee and Oakfield helped set the tone for the rest of the season, according to Breuer.
“They just had each others’ back all year,” he said. “Nothing seemed to faze them and the team chemistry was outstanding. Now you add some talent to that and you have a great ballclub.”