Indians strand 11 in loss
Thorp wins on walk-off hit
By Greg Seubert
Putting runners on base was not a problem for the Weyauwega-Fremont softball team.
Bringing them home, however, was another story.
The Indians stranded 11 runners and left the bases loaded twice June 7 in a 5-4 loss to Thorp in a WIAA Division 4 state semifinal game at Goodman Diamond in Madison.
Hailey Zurakowski’s single that scored Kasey Moskiewicz in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie and sent the Cardinals to the Division 4 championship game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9, against Horicon, a 10-0 winner over Pacelli June 8 in the other semifinal.
“We had our chances,” coach Todd Breuer said. “If we go back and look at one thing, we just left too many runners on, especially when we had the bases loaded with nobody out (in the third inning), but you know what? That’s the way the game is played. It’s all part of the game. We stuck with it. They were able to get that one run across in the seventh and we weren’t.”
The Indians went down in order in the top of the first inning, but the Cardinals came up with an unearned run in their half of the inning.
Elektra Zurakowski led off with a single and moved to second base on one of the Indians’ two errors before advancing to third and scoring on a pair of wild pitches from Cadyn Ehrenberg.
Ehrenberg then ended the inning by striking out Hailey Zurakowski and Kaitlyn Tyznik.
Ashley Johnson and Taylor Folk reached on one-out singles for the Indians in the second, but Tyznik got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Ehrenberg picked up two more strikeouts in the second while retiring the Cardinals in order.
The Indians loaded the bases in the third, as Julia Rice and Ehrenberg walked and Alexa Greening reached on a bunt single. Neither runner scored, however, as Tyznik retired the next three batters.
The Cardinals went down in order in the third, but the Indians took the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth.
Makena McClone reached on one of three Thorp errors in the inning, Tyznik hit Rylee Bartel with a pitch and Rice reached on another error. McClone and Bartel scored on Ehrenberg’s single to make it 2-1. The Cardinals intentionally walked Kiley Akey to load the bases, but the Indians couldn’t add to their lead and W-F left the bases loaded for the second straight inning.
Thorp regained the lead in its half of the fourth with two runs on three hits. Cassidy Stroinski and Brittany Rosemeyer singled and both runners scored on Brooklyn Anderson’s single.
The Indians tied the game for the second time in the fifth on a hit and an error. Johnson led off with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. McClone reached on an error and Hannah Timm, running for Johnson, scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-3.
Thorp broke the tie in its half of the fifth, as Elektra Zurakowski walked and Raleigh Frankewicz reached on a bunt single. Zurakowski moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hailey Zurakowski’s sacrifice fly.
W-F tied the game in the top of the sixth on a hit and error. Ehrenberg led off the inning with a double and Greening reached on a two-base error, with Ehrenberg scoring on the play.
Kati Kettleson drew a one-out walk and went to second on a wild pitch, while Greening ended up at third on a wild pitch. However, Tyznik ended the threat with a strikeout and a groundout.
Tyznik also retired the Indians in order in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout and the teams went into the bottom of the seventh tied at 4-4.
Moskiewicz reached on an error after Akey dropped her fly ball with one out. Elektra Zurakowski followed with a single and Moskiewicz ended up at third on the play. The Indians gave up an intentional walk to Frankewicz that loaded the bases before Hailey Zurakowski ended the game with an RBI single to left field.
“I thought it was a great game back and forth,” Breuer said. “There were a few mistakes, but when you get to this level, these are still kids playing a game. Give a lot of credit to Thorp, a very good softball team with very good hitters.”
Thorp outhit the Indians 7-6 in the final game for seniors Akey, Ehrenberg, Kettleson and Greening.
“They have to know that this one game down here cannot define their career,” Breuer said. “I know they’re hurting right now and they didn’t want it to end tonight.
“What they’ve done for this team – not only this year and the last four years, but ever since they started playing in 10U – they’ve done so much for this program,” he said. “Lots of kids have seen what they’ve done and want to be like them. They’ve done an outstanding job for this program in Weyauwega and I’m so proud of them. Everyone in the community and on the team should be proud of all four of them.”
The Indians, last year’s runner-up in Division 3, finished 21-5 and relied on the pitching duo of Ehrenberg and Akey the last four seasons.
Breuer knows those are big shoes to fill.
“Ashley Johnson, a freshman, is probably going to be pitching a lot of innings next year and Taylor Folk, a sophomore who caught tonight, is going to pitch some innings,” he said. “We have a couple freshman throwing. Will we ever see two pitchers like Kiley and Cadyn go through the program again? Maybe, maybe not.
“We have girls that are going to keep us competitive,” he added. “Do we expect to be back here? No, but the expectations of what we have to do every day – the commitment, the hard work, the sacrifice – that doesn’t change no matter who we have.”
Ehrenberg’s final high school game included two of her team’s six hits and a pair of RBIs. Johnson also had two hits.
“I just can’t say enough about these seniors and this group overall, just a great group of kids and a lot of fun to coach,” Breuer said. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer group of kids to coach. They work hard, they listen to you, they’ll do whatever you tell them to do. It makes coaching a lot of fun.”