New London spring season athletes recognized
By Scott Bellile
Nineteen New London High School athletes were named to All-Bay Conference teams after a spring season highlighted by a journey to state for softball and sectional trips for boys’ golf and girls’ soccer.
New London’s contributed to the All-Conference list six state-qualifying softball players, the entire sectional-qualifying golf team, four honorable mentions for baseball, two sectional runner-up soccer players and two track athletes.
Abby Elsholtz, a versatile player for the Bulldogs, was a unanimous First Team All-Bay Conference selection. Elsholtz produced the second most RBIs (30) and home runs (4). She was one of four seniors who played varsity all four years and made the Bulldogs’ three state trips between 2013 and 2015.
“Abby was a player that could play many positions for us and had no complaints about doing it,” Co-Head Coach Tony Porath said. “She has a great arm and was a big offensive player for us who added power to our team.”
Alanna Beyer, shortstop and second baseman, earned First Team All-Bay Conference honors. Beyer led the Bulldogs in batting average (.524), plate appearances (121), assists (64), hits (54), runs (41), singles (36) and home runs (five). Beyer graduated in May after four years on varsity.
“Alanna was a great lead-off hitter for us,” Porath said. “Not sure there is anyone any better than her. Defensively no one played second any better or harder than she did.”
Payton Mix, shortstop and second baseman, made First Team All-Bay Conference honors. A senior, Mix had the second most runs (38) and singles (35) and third most hits (42). At the WIAA State Softball game against La Crosse Logan on June 12 she scored New London’s sole run.
“Payton came to us last year and helped solidify our middle infield,” Porath said. “Payton and Alanna seemed to really work well together, which made us solid defensively. Payton was also one of the top hitters in our conference.”
Shelby Sommer, pitcher and versatile player, played 147 innings on the mound and earned Second Team All-Bay Conference honors. A four-year-varsity player, Sommer pitched 19 wins, including complete games from regionals onward. Of her 2,083 pitches, 64 percent were strikes. At the state semifinal in May she had 11 strikeouts.
Offensively Sommer had the most RBIs (32) and doubles (14), and she cranked out the second most hits (43).
“Shelby has been a rock for us on the mound [for] seems like forever,” Porath said. “She will be very hard to replace. Along with pitching she could hit for power and is such a positive kid.”
Molly O’Connell, pitcher and utility player, landed Second Team All-Bay Conference honors. Offensively, O’Connell racked up the third most hits (39) and singles (32). She concluded her four-year varsity career by hitting New London’s sole RBI at the bottom of the seventh inning at last month’s state semifinal.
O’Connell pitched 46 innings over 11 games to land three wins. Of her 494 pitches, 65 percent were strikes.
“I think Molly was the best defensive center fielder in the area,” Porath said. “She is super fast in the field and on the base path.”
Grace Mroczynski, senior and versatile player, landed All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. Mroczynski had 14 hits, 12 RBIs and 11 runs this past season.
“Grace did a great job being that final piece to our outfield, making it one of the best outfields in the Bay,” Porath said. “She has a great attitude and really improved throughout the year.”
Landon Elsner, sophomore, earned First Team All-Bay Conference recognition. Elsner won the golf regional in New London on May 27, where his score of 71 became the fourth best 18-hole round played in New London High School history. He also set the 10th best nine-hole average in school history with 40.8.
Mitch Dey, junior, golfed his way to Second Team All-Bay Conference honors. Dey finished third overall at the home regional with a 77, and he placed seventh with an 86 at the Bay Conference Tournament in Oneida on May 19.
Matt Fletcher, sophomore, was a Second Team All-Bay Conference selection. Fletcher won the Bay Conference Tournament with an 18-hole score of 80 in May. His victory combined with the work of his teammates gave New London the title of 2015 Bay Conference champions.
Sam Porath, senior, landed Second Team All-Bay Conference honors. Porath finished fifth at the Bay Conference Tournament with an 83. He was named a Golf Coaches of Wisconsin Academic All-State honoree for his second time. He set the 27th best nine-hole average at New London High School with 42.8.
Dillon Kluge, junior, was an All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. Kluge shot 89s at the Bay Conference and regional tournaments. He was named a Golf Coaches of Wisconsin Academic All-State honoree this past season for maintaining a GPA of 3.25 or higher and participating in at least 75 percent of the school’s varsity matches.
Tylan Brown, junior, landed an All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. Brown split duties between catching, pitching and infield and hit .265 in conference play.
“He was a workhorse behind the plate for us, twice catching both games of a doubleheader,” Coach Tom Frederick said. “Great team leader who is always supporting his teammates.”
Tyler Jagiello, senior, earned an All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. Frederick said Jagiello was the team’s best pitcher the past two years. He had 58 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched with a 1.37 ERA.
“He worked very hard over the past two years to become a very good pitcher,” Frederick said. “He became a very confident pitcher on the mound and he was really fun to watch.
“He suffered a freak pectoral injury on his non-throwing side in mid-May and that really hurt our chances to win in those last three weeks of the season. I am hoping that he gives college baseball a try at UW-Whitewater.”
Brayden Kurth, freshman, was an All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. A pitcher and left-field player, Kurth led the team with a .357 batting average.
“Brayden is very athletic,” Frederick said. “With his speed and ability to hit the ball, he has a chance to be a very good player someday.”
Tommy Thurber, senior, earned an All-Bay Conference Honorable Mention. Thurber had the second best batting average on the team with a .348 but Frederick said he led the team in almost every other offensive category, including a .500 on-base percentage.
Frederick called Thurber an “outstanding centerfielder” who displayed several impressive catches in centerfield.
Maddie Sanderfoot, senior, was a unanimous First Team All-Bay Conference selection. Sanderfoot scored 12 goals and had 10 assists to finish out her high school soccer career.
Sanderfoot injured her ankle at the sectional final in Rice Lake on June 13 and sat out for the rest of the game, but that didn’t stop her from limping across the field to accept her sectional runner-up medal.
Marina Solberg, junior, earned Second Team All-Bay Conference honors. Solberg scored 32 goals this past spring to break New London High School’s record for most goals scored by a player in one season. She had 13 assists and seven game-winning goals.
Track and Field
Nick Thomas, senior, earned Second Team All-Bay Conference honors for his performance in the long jump. A captain and team MVP, Thomas set personal records in the long jump (20 feet, 4.75 inches), 4×200 relay (1:34.57) and 4×400 relay (3 40.82). He ran on New London’s 4×200 relay team that qualified for sectionals.
Candice Zehner, senior, received Second Team All-Bay Conference honors for her work in the 300-meter hurdles this past season. Zehner was a team captain and MVP, and she set personal bests in the 300 hurdles (50.13 seconds) and long jump (14 feet, 4 inches).
“[Thomas and Zehner] are excellent leaders encompassing the focus, commitment and drive that makes a great leader,” Co-Head Track Coach Amber Yerkey said. “They are both strong competitors and humble about their performances, and they will be missed next year.”