W-F pitching duo ready for next level
By Greg Seubert
There were plenty of reasons behind the Weyauwega-Fremont softball team’s successful 2017 season that ended one win away from a state championship.
Two of those reasons now have an opportunity to play the game they love in college.
Seniors Kiley Akey and Cadyn Ehrenberg signed their National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Rock Valley College, respectively. UW-Parkside is located near Kenosha and Rock Valley is a community college in Rockford, Illinois.
The pair have been an effective one-two pitching punch for coach Todd Breuer since their freshman season in 2015.
“It’s great to have two pitchers when we’re playing 26 games and five or six games a week,” he said. “It’s always an advantage when we play teams in our conference two times. We can show them one and then show them the other. It definitely was a benefit to have both of them.
“I’m very confident that they’re going to be able to go on next year and fit right in and contribute,” he said. “It may not be as freshmen right away, but they will be definitely be a huge part of their program as much as they were part of our program here at Weyauwega. What coach would not want to see their kids play at the next level I think it’s great to have that talent, those types of kids. Just look what it does for the program and the community. People know and that brings out more fans to the field. I know it carries over to our younger kids. It already has.”
Akey is following in the footsteps of older sisters Kaitlyn and Karissa. Kaitlyn played softball at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is now a teacher in New London. Karissa, a standout in softball, basketball, volleyball and track at Weyauwega-Fremont, will play softball at UW-La Crosse after transferring from Upper Iowa University, where she played this spring.
“They just said to enjoy it and make the best of it because I probably won’t get to play softball competitively after that,” Kiley Akey said. “They both loved it and getting to know their teammates and making new friends. (College softball) is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do. I set a goal as something I wanted to do.
“It’s nice that I finally reached my goal and made it that far,” she said. “It’s really nice to know that (Parkside) is exactly where I want to go and it fit perfectly. The coach wanted to make sure that I not only liked the softball program, but the school, too. When I got to campus, I really liked it. It’s like a small-town feeling, which reminds me of home.”
Ehrenberg is heading to a program that has won the last four junior college national championships.
“I wanted to go somewhere that had a good program, but that’s not the only thing that affected my choice,” she said. “There are great academic programs and the coach is very involved with my academics. I’m getting an education, I’m not going to play softball forever.”
Ehrenberg’s plans include transferring to another school after two years, but that’s down the road.
“I’m just going to roll with however it takes me,” she said. “I’m super-excited. I’m also very blessed to be able to have the talent to keep going. I’m just thankful to everybody who made me the player that I am today.”
Akey and Ehrenberg were teammates on the W-F team that fell to Laconia 5-0 in the WIAA Division 3 state championship game in June.
The team finished the season with a 22-10 record and won the Central Wisconsin 8 Conference with a 13-1 mark.
“We were kind of an underdog, which was exciting to me because we had a lot to prove and we proved it, except for the last game,” Ehrenberg said. “We still played our hearts out and left it all on the field.”
Now that their college choices have been made, Akey and Ehrenberg can turn their attention to their final season of high school softball, which gets underway next spring.
“I love how it’s a team sport and not one single person can win the game for you,” Akey said. “It takes every person behind you. It can came down to the last inning. I just love how competitive it is. Coach Breuer makes it very hard in practices to make us better. We know what it feels like to be successful, so we understand why it needs to be hard.”
“I’ve gotten more used to the competitiveness and the speed of the game,” Ehrenberg said. “You always have to play like you’ve never played a game before. You have to play with the same heart in every game. It’s emotionally tolling as well as physically.
“It’s just the excitement of stepping on the field. It’s an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport,” she added. “It’s an individual sport because you have to make the play, you have to hit the ball, you have to do everything for your team. Your teammates have to back you up, too. You can’t win a game with one person, you have to win with the team.”
“I hope we can make it as far as we did last year and hopefully bring home the gold this time,” Akey said. “I definitely think we have the team for it. We just have to work hard like we did last year.”
“We have a target on our back and that makes it more exciting,” Ehrenberg said. “We just have to come out and play like we have. I would love to go back to Goodman (Diamond in Madison) and take home the gold this time and finish the senior season off the way we worked for.”
“I know and these two girls know that it’s not going to be easy,” Breuer said. “Because they understand that, they’re going to come back this year working just as hard as they have the last three years. Every year is different, but when you have two girls like this, there’s always a possibility for something special to happen.”