Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Krieger, Wenger save New London

Tiger softball team walks off in the seventh to keep season alive
Jul 05, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Alexa Wenger delivers a walk-off single to left-center field.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

NEW LONDON — The New London softball team had its back against the wall on Tuesday night in their regional quarterfinal against Montezuma. The Tigers trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh and were still reeling from a go-ahead homerun in the top of the frame.

The Tigers pulled themselves together, however, getting a game-tying hit from Kara Krieger and a walk-off single from Alexa Wenger to snatch victory from the hands of defeat.

The first six innings of the game went by in a flash. New London’s Sydni Coleman and Montezuma’s Hanna Jones traded shutout innings all night long. Both offenses were struggling mightily and it looked like the game could go into extra innings scoreless.

Montezuma sophomore Jazmine Lebahn came to the plate with one out in the top of the seventh and changed everything with one swing of the bat. She launched a shot to left-center field that easily cleared the fence to give the Bravettes a 1-0 advantage.

That homer put a chill into the New London fan base as all-of-the-sudden, the Tigers were three outs away from elimination. Another Montezuma hit followed, but Coleman got out of the inning with minimal damage and New London had their chance to bat.

Luckily for Tiger fans, the meat of the New London order was due up. Camryn Blint, who hits in the two-hole, led off the inning, and a bloop single to right field gave the Tigers life.

Layney Loyd, who has been the Tigers’ best hitter all year, came to the plate with one on and nobody out. To the surprise of those watching, Loyd laid down a bunt, sending a slow roller down the third base line for a bunt-single which put the pressure squarely back on Lynnville-Sully.

Breanna Mettler hit a hard ground ball to short stop, but the Bravettes were able to get the force out at third base. Coleman followed with a walk, which loaded the bases with one out for Krieger.

With two strikes, Krieger sent a hard bouncer to second base. The Montezuma second-baseman bobbled the ball before trying to get the lead runner at the plate. Loyd slid in ahead of the throw and everybody was safe.

“Going up there, I just really wanted to make really hard contact and get the ball somewhere,” Krieger said after the game. “I made hard contact, and it worked. I heard the crowd go crazy, so I figured she scored.”

Wenger was next up at the plate, and she delivered the knockout blow. The Tiger first-baseman sent a line drive over the short stop’s head and into the outfield, bringing home pinch-runner Kaylor Schulte and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

“I was freaking out,” Wenger said about her approach at the plate. “I don’t know what was going through my head. Just getting it in play, and hoping it would turn out well.”

Montezuma’s players walked off the field in defeat, the celebration was on, and a big sigh of relief came from New London coach Duane Blint.

“I told Coach Loyd in the fifth inning that I was really surprised one run would win this game,” Blint said. “And then they get a run and I’m thinking ‘uh oh.’ I knew we had it in us. We just can’t quit, and we didn’t quit tonight.”

The prize for New London is yet another postseason date with Sigourney. The Savages are currently ranked No. 8 in the Class 1A rankings, and this is the fourth year in a row the two teams have met in the tournament.

That regional semifinal match will take place on Friday, June 6, at 7 p.m., in Sigourney. The winner of that game will take on either Lynnville-Sully or North Mahaska for a spot in the Class 1A state tournament.

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