By Greg Bates
ACN & Times-Press sports correspondent
It’s the moment the Seymour softball team has been prepping for all season: the playoffs.
The top-seeded Thunder wasted little time and effort by opening with a 15-0 victory in four innings over No. 9-seeded Notre Dame in a WIAA Division 2 regional game on Thursday, May 25.
With the win, Seymour hosted No. 4-seeded Shawano the next day, a team the Thunder lost to twice in the regular season. If Seymour survived Shawano, it would host a game on May 30 against either No. 2 Luxemburg-Casco or No. 3 Denmark. The sectional championship is June 1 in Winneconne at 5 p.m.
In Seymour’s regular-season finale on Friday, May 19, the Thunder needed a win to earn a share of the Bay Conference title with New London. The Thunder took care of business quickly, downing Menasha 12-2 in six innings.
Notre Dame 0, four innings
Seymour didn’t mess around with Notre Dame, pounding the visiting Tritons 15-0 in four innings in the first round of regionals.
“With it being playoff time, we as a team know we have to play our best ball,” Joeley Bluma said. “And knowing you have your teammates there to back you up is the type of thing that gives us the motivation to make plays, hit the ball and get the win.”
The Thunder hitters were 11-for 21 at the plate. Seven girls drove in at least one run.
The team scored three times in both the first and second innings, twice in the third and seven in the fourth to hit the 15-run rule.
Bluma had a big game with a double, single and four RBI. Raven Vanden Langenberg had two hits including a home run and drove in two runs. Zoe Moehring added a pair of hits and an RBI. Diahanna walked twice, had a single and drove in a pair of teammates.
Paige Weyer was nearly flawless in the circle, allowing just one single and one walk and had three strikeouts in picking up the win.
Seymour coach Karri Vanden Langenberg was happy her team took care of business in the first game of the playoffs.
“All games from here on out are survive and advance. This is what we had to do,” Vanden Langenberg said. “Our goal was to keep the pitch count low and our offensive hits high. We did that tonight. Our pitching was on point, and so was our defense.”
Menasha 2, six innings
Needing a win to grab a share of the Bay Conference title, Seymour wasted little time in disposing of Menasha.
The Thunder scored nine runs in the first two innings en route to a 12-2 victory in six innings at home on May 19.
“This was a big win for us,” coach Vanden Langenberg said. “The team was focused and jumped out early, which was one of the goals for this game. It was great to see the hit, play solid defense – giving up no errors – and our pitching was on point as well. What a great win to clinch a share of the Bay Conference title.”
The Seymour offense was tough to stop, collecting 12 hits and four players tallied two RBI apiece — Bluma, Moehring, Dinah King and Deiondra Wussow.
“With runners in scoring position each time I was up to bat, I was glad I was able to help the team and bring the runs in,” Wussow said.
The Thunder tied the game at 2 after one inning and then put up seven runs in the second inning to pull away. The girls ended the contest early with a three-run sixth inning to win by the 10-run rule.
Bluma came through with three hits, and King and Wussow had two each.
Weyer was solid in the circle for Seymour, earning the win by going all six innings and allowing just three hits while striking out nine.
Look for regional final results at www.advertiserdommunity news and our next publication.
Lady Thunder baserunner Joeley Bluma gets thrown out at home during their regional game against Green Bay Notre Dame on Thursday, May 25. The out didn’t matter as host Seymour would defeat the Tritons 15-0 to advance to the regional championship. – Photo by Keith Skenandore
By Greg Bates