The Seymour Thunder softball team has raced out to a 5-0 start, which includes a 4-0 conference record, leaving the team in sole possession of the top spot in the Bay.
The team maintained their unblemished record Tuesday, following a thrilling eight-inning pitcher’s duel that saw Paige Weyer best New London’s Leah Porath, in a matchup of a pair of Bay Conference unbeatens.
Pitching has been a point of strength for Seymour this season. Between Joeley Bluma and Weyer, it’s given head coach Karri VandenLangenberg a depth she’s never had before in the circle.
“It is absolutely huge, something that we’ve worked for for so long,” coach VandenLangenberg said of her pitching staff. “In my seven years, we’ve had good pitchers, but just not that couple standout pitchers. It’s the confidence that they bring to the team, and the leadership they bring to the team that helps the team stay focused and win games.”
Offensively, the team has also swung the bats well in their first five games. The Thunder average just under nine runs per ballgame, and prior to their matchup with New London Tuesday, their lowest scoring total in a game had been seven runs.
“We have been jumping out to quick starts lately,” said junior Raven VandenLangenberg. “We’ve been working on hitting a lot in the offseason, so that’s really working for us.”
While there is plenty of talent on this year’s team, coach VandenLangenberg has been pleasantly surprised by the early results, given the spring weather limiting the team’s chances to get outdoor repetitions in the season’s opening weeks.
“Being stuck in the gym and not being able to get out on a field is always tough,” she said. “Last year we were able to go to Florida to get some games in. This year we didn’t have that opportunity, so it’s huge for us to get this big start and this big lead in the conference.”
Seymour currently holds a narrow one-game advantage over three second place teams in the Bay. New London, Shawano, and West De Pere all remain close in sight.
Overall, this Seymour team has experience and plays relatively loose on the diamond. That was evident while they were shutout by New London for six innings, but rallied to force extra innings and eventually earn the win.
“We all play a lot of ball,” Paige Weyer said describing the team. “We always stay excited. If somebody is down, we help them up. We have really good team chemistry and I really think that’s helping us with our wins.”
“I think our chemistry is the best it has been since I’ve been on varsity,” Raven VandenLangenberg agreed. “We’re just one big happy family. We have some ups and downs, like regular sisters do, but we always come back around and can joke with each other. It’s great.”
The Thunder are midway through a week that will test them in the conference season. After already taking down one challenge in New London, Seymour prepares for another opportunity to distance themselves from the pack, when they travel to Shawano on Thursday, weather permitting.
“We have some big goals this year, but we have two teams that stand in our way this week,” said coach VandenLangenberg, referring to New London and Shawano. “Shawano’s a great team. It’s probably going to be the three of us in conference and we’re going to have to battle hard, but we look forward to the challenge.”
Seymour and Shawano’s game Thursday has been postponed, due to unplayable field conditions.