After what the New Berlin West softball team went through because of Thursday night's lightning and downpour, playing a little old softball game on Friday morning was a piece of cake — almost.
West's game was initially moved from 8 p.m. Thursday to 9:30 p.m. and then postponed until 8 a.m. Friday. The girls were up late as coach Greg Klotz and athletic director Jordan Napoli had to find hotel rooms, which they hadn't planned on.
'We were disappointed because it looked like we weren't going to play in the big stadium,' West ace Cheyenne Sowinski said. 'But then we had a chance to relax, come out, play the game and get the win. It was all good.'
The good news was the Vikings (25-5) overcame leaving 13 runners on base and a sixth-inning rally by New London and held on for a 4-3 win in the semifinals. They will play Delavan-Darien (25-6) at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Goodman Diamond in Madison for the 2016 State Softball Championship.
The Vikings left one runner on in the second inning; two runners on in the first, third and fifth innings; and three in the fourth and sixth innings. The score could have been by a bigger margin, as they let New London stay in the game.
With one out, Camryn Klotz walked in the first inning, and Sowinski was hit by pitch (Brianna Duszynski, courtesy runner). Duszynski advanced to second, and Klotz advanced to third on a wild pitch. Abbey Stoltenburg walked to load the bases.
Charlotte Ropas, who has been struggling lately, roped a single to center field, scoring Klotz. When the throw home bounced by the catcher, Duszynski advanced to third and then was sent home but was thrown out by the pitcher backing up the play.
In the third inning, Klotz walked, and Sowinski reached on a fielder's choice when the third baseman threw the ball into right field trying to retire Klotz going into second. Klotz went to third, and Duszynski pinch ran for Sowinski. After a strikeout, Ropas hit a ball that the third baseman tried to backhand down the line, scoring Klotz and moving Duszynski to second to give West a 2-0 lead.
'When we got the early lead, that made it all better, and it made me feel more confident,' Sowinski said.
Cheyenne comes through
West added another run in the fourth inning, when Corey Liebherr singled to left field and Danielle Nyenhuis pinch ran for her. After a fly out to center, Leah Marrari walked, moving Nyenhuis to second. After a strikeout, Sowinski singled to center field, driving in Nyenhuis with an RBI single, and Marrari moved to second.
'I'm just thinking I have to get the ball on the ground somewhere, so I can move the runners around,' Sowinski said, giving West a 3-0 lead
The Vikings then scored what was to be the winning run in the sixth inning for a 4-0 lead.
With one out, Sowinski singled through the right side (Duszynski pinch ran), and Stoltenburg walked. Ropas then ripped a single off the third baseman's glove, scoring Duszynski for West's final run.
Then came the sixth, and the Vikings almost saw the game slip away.
The Bulldogs' second hitter, Ashlee Moeller, singled to right center, and she moved to second on a grounder back to Sowinski for the first out. Sowinski walked cleanup hitter Abby Elsholtz, and McCoy Mix singled to right field, scoring Moeller and moving Elsholtz to third with Mix going to second on a throw.
Elsholtz scored on Sowinski's wild pitch, making it 4-2, and then Erin O'Connell doubled to left center, scoring Mix and cutting the score to one run, 4-3.
Faith Carothers singled to third base on a routine play that should have been error. Ellen Steckbauer then hit a grounder to Sowinski, who cut down the runner at third for the second out, and Carothers advanced to second. Maddie Ruckdashel grounded out to Sowinski to end the inning.
Stats an stuff
Sowinski earned the complete-game win, scattering eight hits, allowing three earned runs, walking one and fanning eight in seven innings of work. She also singled twice and drove in a run.
Ropas had two hits and three RBIs; Klotz walked twice and scored twice; and Stoltenberg walked twice.
Afterward, Ropas reflected on her big day.
'I think once I got a hit, everyone got excited and started hitting,' she said. 'Hitting is contagious.'
Coach Greg Klotz tipped his cap to his team, which overcame both New London and the messed up schedule caused by the weather.
'Yesterday was a very long day,' he said. 'We woke up at 6 a.m., and I told them this is like we usually do every morning, get up at 6 a.m. and go hit and have breakfast. So this morning we just flipped it around. We had breakfast, and then we came here and hit.'
Klotz was also proud his team beat a veteran squad like New London.
'There was a lot of stress on us, but they stuck with it,' he said. 'Then we came out and scored. We had a one-run lead in the seventh inning against a team that has been here four straight years. New London had to feel a little stress coming into the seventh inning down by one run.
'My girls did it. They did it.'