New London, Hortonville power on to sectionals
By Scott Bellile
Softball teams from New London and Hortonville advanced to sectionals last week while Clintonville lost its chance in the first round of regionals.
Hours before the regional final against Freedom Friday, May 27, New London Head Coach Tony Porath said about their opponent, “I consider them a huge threat. It will be a very tough game and we need to play our best to win.”
That turned out to be the case. The No. 1-seeded Bay Conference champ New London beat No. 4 Freedom 12-7, but not without some close calls. To make things different, the game was moved from the Bulldogs’ home field at Memorial Park to the high school due to wet field conditions.
Propelled by a six-run second inning, New London gained an 11-1 lead by the end of the third inning. Then came a tough two-inning stretch late in the game where the Bulldogs gave up six runs. As rain dampened the field during the fifth and sixth, New London defense struggled to catch and chased after some hits through the grass.
“Freedom is a good team and they battled to the end,” New London Head Coach Tony Porath said. “The rain didn’t help the conditions, so it was a good thing we built up a lead.”
Leah Porath closed out the sixth inning with her own one-run homer, and Freedom didn’t score in the seventh.
She hit two homers in the game for four total RBIs total while Molly O’Connell batted in two runs with her own home run in the second inning.
O’Connell pitched a complete game, allowing 12 hits and producing seven strikeouts. New London’s offense produced 13 hits.
The Bulldogs had advanced to the regional final by defeating No. 9 seed Xavier in the semifinal on May 25. Five innings in with the score 9-0, thunder rumbled above Memorial Park and the game had to be delayed.
Xavier at first opted to wait the minimum half hour for the weather to clear, but ultimately the teams called the game off.
“No one wants their season to end, so I understand them wanting to continue,” Porath said.
On Tuesday, May 31, the Bulldogs were scheduled to play No. 2 Wrightstown at Winneconne in the sectional semifinal. If they won, then they will play No. 1 Luxemburg-Casco or No. 7 Southern Door on Thursday, June 2, at 4 p.m. at Little Chute.
Stat leaders vs. Freedom: Leah Porath 2×3, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 runs. Molly O’Connell 1×4, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 run. McCoy Mix 2×4, 2 RBIs, 1 run. Faith Carothers 2×4, 2 RBIs. Ashley Moeller 2×3, 3 runs. Abby Elsholtz 2×4, 2 runs.
Stat leaders vs. Xavier: Moeller 2×4, 3 RBIs. Elsholtz 3×4, 2 runs, 1 RBI. Porath 2×4, 2 runs, 1 RBI. Molly O’Connell 1×4, 2 runs, 1 RBI.
No. 2 seed Hortonville blanked No. 7 Appleton East 5-0 to knock the Patriots out of tournament play on Friday, May 27.
Stats from the game were not available on Wisconsin Sports Network as of press time.
Hortonville (19-7 overall, 13-5 in Fox Valley Association) sat out of the first round of regionals after earning a bye.
The Polar Bears were scheduled to take on No. 6 Appleton North Tuesday, May 31, after press time. If Hortonville won the game, it will take on either No. 1 Pulaski or No. 4 Ashwaubenon at Bay Port on Thursday, June 2, at 4 p.m.
No. 3 seed Marinette shut out No. 14 Clintonville on May 24.
Clintonville finished its season 2-20 overall and 1-17 in conference play.