Division 3 state title on the line
By Greg Seubert
Laconia has ended the season for the Weyauwega-Fremont softball team the past two years.
The two teams will meet again Saturday, June 10, but this time a state championship is on the line.
W-F and Laconia, the defending WIAA Division 3 state champion, will meet at noon at Goodman Diamond in Madison for this year’s D3 state title.
Both teams advanced to the championship game June 9 with 2-0 wins over Marshall and Bloomer, respectively.
Laconia took advantage of five Bloomer errors and came up with runs in the sixth and seventh innings. W-F also used a pair of late runs to keep its season alive, as the Indians scored twice in the top of the seventh.
W-F and Marshall played scoreless softball for six innings before Kiley Akey led off the seventh inning with a home run over the left-field fence.
“When I saw that, I knew she had got it,” coach Todd Breuer said. “She was due. She had been struggling a little bit at the plate lately. That’s just her being a competitor in that situation.”
The Indians weren’t finished, however, Kati Kettleson and Taylor Flease followed with two-out singles. Kettleson made it to third base on an error and later scored on Taylor Pache’s wild pitch to make it 2-0.
“The insurance run was probably just as big as Kiley’s home run, if not bigger,” Breuer said.
Meanwhile, Akey caught Bailey Neuberger looking for her 11th strikeout and the final out of the game.
The Cardinals managed to get five hits off of Akey, but never had a runner reach second base.
“She was in the zone and she was feeling it,” Breuer said. “I can tell she’s just exhausted right now, but that’s the kind of kid she is. She puts everything into it. She pitched her heart out today.”
The Indians have a knack of making things happen late in games, according to Breuer.
“They always like to wait to the end, for some reason,” he said. “They have it their mind that the fifth inning’s our inning and we missed that opportunity. I guess they just waited until the seventh and that’s kind of how it’s been lately.”
Pache ended up taking the loss despite giving up only four hits.
“I felt Marshall’s pitcher got much stronger toward the end of the game than at the beginning,” Breuer said. “She got better and we didn’t look as good at the plate. All of a sudden in the seventh inning, there it is, those timely hits. We’ve been relying on that a lot this year.”
Laconia’s 23-0 record includes a 7-0 win over the Indians late in the regular season, one of 20 shutouts for the Spartans. The Indians will take a 23-9 record into their first state championship game since 2004 and first trip to state since 2009.
“I wanted them on our schedule and our AD did a great job getting them on our schedule,” Breuer said. “They’re a great team. We’re not supposed to win tomorrow and the girls know that. I think that’s going to take a tremendous amount of pressure off of them. We’re just going to go in relaxed and play our game. I’m not going to teach them something tonight that they don’t already know. Whatever happens happens.
“I told them, ‘Guess what, this is our last chance,’” he added. “(Pitcher) Kayla Schwebke is graduating. Let’s get another shot at her. Let us be the one to knock them off. I think the girls would have like to see Bloomer, but that’s the message I’m trying to send.”
• The Indians aren’t the only Central Wisconsin 8 Conference team playing for a state championship June 10. Pacelli shut out Shiocton, another CWC-8 team at state, 3-0 in a Division 4 semifinal June 9. The Cardinals will now face Juda/Albany for a state championship at 10:30 a.m.