Seymour Thunder Softball Triumphs Over Notre Dame, Loses Heart breaker to Denmark in Extra Innings

The regular season is always a fun journey, but the playoffs are when the real stories are told and legends are formed.
Seymour might have a legend brewing in the dugout with sophomore standout Chloe Evans who would again take over a game for her Thunder.
On a hot Wednesday afternoon the playoffs got off to a bit of a cold start for Seymour who started the game with a sluggish offense.
The first inning looked to be a three up, three down affair for Paige Weyer, who pitched a complete game for Seymour, but a two strike, two out home run from Notre Dame would let the Tritons score first.
Seymour wouldn’t trail for long though with Evans leading the Thunder and started the game off with a bunt.
Some aggressive running early quickly had Evans stealing her way to third base with no outs.
When the Thunder laid down another bunt defensive indecision would lead to the tying run coming in as the Tritons couldn’t decide where to throw the ball and left home plate uncovered.
After some back to back doubles Seymour would plate a couple more runs and take a 3-1 lead over the Tritons.
The game would lock in to this narrow lead for the next few innings as both sides looked for a breakout, Notre Dame looking for a rally and Seymour looking to build a bigger lead.
Weyer would pitch herself into a few jams, but was usually able to work her team out of a jam without allowing any runs.
On the offensive side the Thunder bats were working, but it didn’t have the same boom Seymour has had all season long.
A few times Seymour was able to load the bases, but couldn’t bring a runner across and the game stayed tied at 3-1.
“It was a slower start than I wanted,” head coach Karri Vanden Langenberg said.
In need of an offensive spark to bury Notre Dame the hometown hero came to bat with a few runners already on base.
Evans ripped a double into right field to almost clear the bases, it would have been a triple if there wasn’t a moment of hesitation at third base.
“I’ve really picked it up a notch these past couple of weeks,” Evans said.
The runs started pouring on from that point on and the Thunder was churning out runs as fast as they could.
Notre Dame would try to get back into it with another home run, but it was too little too late, Seymour was already in the zone and when the Thunder get rolling it is hard to stop them.
Some more Triton indecision would lead to another Thunder run, sloppy defensive play at the end led to a mass of runs Seymour brought in.
Evans would end the game the same way she started the surge, a double into right field to plate two more runs.
“When I’m on base it’s a game changer, we get excited and things get going,” Evans said.
Evans as 5-5 on the day with two singles, three doubles, and five RBIs. The rest of the Thunder combined for five RBIs.
Weyer pitched six strikeouts while only allowing six hits, the two runs from Notre Dame both came off home runs.
“These kids are hungry, they really want it,” Vanden Langenberg said.
The game was called after six innings, mercy rule, and the Thunder advanced on to the next stage with a 12-2 win.
Moving onto the next round of regionals wouldn’t be as easy as the first round was for Seymour as it came to face off against the Denmark Vikings.
“We scouted early to see pitching and see hitting, I feel like the team is going to be ready.” Vanden Langenberg said.
The Vikings would get off to a fast start, putting two runners on base off a walk and a hit.
A deep single would score those two runners at put Denmark up 2-0.
While it seemed Denmark was already on a roll, the Thunder meanwhile couldn’t get going.
Weyer would settle down a bit in the second inning, pitching back to back strike outs.
Back on the offensive side of the ball Seymour would run into the first of a few questionable calls by umpires.
Seymour had a runner on base who tried to make it back to the bag before being thrown out, some on the Thunder side thought the Denmark first baseman interfered, but the umpire saw it differently.
After that a bunt was popped up into a double play and what little momentum Seymour had was gone.
Weyer was hitting her groove pitching though sending Denmark back to the dugout with a quick three up, three down inning.
The Thunder bats seemed to be booming again as well with runners finally getting to base.
There was another questionable call that went against Seymour, an infield fly rule was called against Evans.
The infield fly rule allows umpires to essentially give the defense an out if the ball could be caught in the outfield under normal effort, the confusion here was that the shortstop had to run out into the shallow outfield to chase down the ball and dropped it.
Despite that Seymour was able to get things going and overtook Denmark after some consistent hitting brought in four runs.
The game had hit a back and forth as both teams struggled against each other, heading into the fifth Denmark had tied things up at 4-4.
A rare wild pitch from Weyer brought in the lead run which was followed up by a home run that put the Vikings up 8-4.
Seymour started playing some strategic small ball to get back into things with what’s been its signature play all season.
The play essentially has the batter lay down a bunch and put the defense into decision mode: take the out at first or risk stopping the run and let a runner get on base?
The indecision usually ends in Seymour’s favor and it did this week as well.
A mix of bunts and swings brought the game to a tense 7th inning as Seymour scratched and clawed its way back to 8-8.
It was a quiet inning as both teams failed to score or get much going leading to a stressful ninth inning.
A pop fly was missed by Seymour which brought in the lead run which would prove to be enough as the Thunder failed to score in the ninth.
Paige Weyer readies to fire a pitch and keep her team in it against the Denmark Vikings. – Photo by Stephen Knoll