Entering Saturday’s Division 3 State Final, Weyauwega-Fremont knew they would have their work cut out for them, facing two-time defending state champion and undefeated Laconia. The Spartans continued their dominating season and handed Weyauwega-Fremont a 5-0 loss for their third straight state title.
The Indians struggled early in the field, committing five errors in the opening three innings, which only led to one run. Kiley Akey did what she could to limit the damage and stranded seven runners on base.
“To beat a team like this you can’t have five errors,” said Weyauwega-Fremont head coach Todd Breuer. “To beat a team like this you can’t have any errors, basically. When they scored that first unearned run, that kind of took a lot of wind out of our sails because they knew we had to keep this close until the end to have a chance.”
Laconia broke through in the fourth inning with a pair of runs to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead, which felt insurmountable against one of the best pitchers in the state, Kayla Schwebke.
Schwebke entered the state final with 299 strikeouts in 138 innings pitched, and had allowed only three earned runs in 138 innings. She finished with 10 more strikeouts, while scattering three hits. Cadyn Ehrenberg collected two of them.
Despite a shaky defensive performance behind her, Kiley Akey was solid in the circle, surrendering two runs on five hits in four innings. Errors made her work a bit more laborious, which is why coach Breuer decided to lift her in the fifth inning.
“Her pitches were working, the rise, curve and change-up, that’s the best I’ve seen her throw the change-up all year,” he said of his star pitcher. “The defense just wasn’t able to come through for her, which gave her extra batters, took a toll on her in the fourth, so I thought it was time to put our other pitcher in.”
It was Ehrenberg who pitched the final three frames for the Indians, giving up a pair of runs on four hits.
The loss marks the third consecutive year Weyauwega-Fremont’s season comes to an end at the hands of Laconia, but this time the Indians are taking home some hardware. They fell in the sectional semifinal round two years prior.
“We were happy to see [Laconia was in another sectional],” coach Breuer said with a slight smile. “We knew that they were going to be tough and it doesn’t surprise me that we ended up down here playing against them in the last game. When we saw the brackets we knew we had a great chance. We talked a lot about Laconia, we played them in the [regular] season, but when the playoffs started we didn’t say a word about Laconia. We took it one game at a time.”
Ultimately, it is another disappointing loss to end their season to a familiar foe, but coach Breuer knows his team has nothing to hang their heads about.
“For a long time this has been a goal and dream for a lot of these girls and to make it this far to play in this game, I think they did a great job and they should feel very proud of what they did,” he said. “I know there are a lot of tears right now, but they’re going to realize real soon they did a lot of great things this year.”
The Indians should feel optimistic about next season. The team will say goodbye to four graduating seniors, but will have a strong core of returning players, including First Team All-CWC 8 pitcher Kiley Akey. First, however, they should take time to enjoy a great run that ended in a state title appearance.
“I think kids have short memories and shortly here they’re going to understand, especially when they get out there with their families and friends, that this is a very special experience,” Breuer said. “This is something they’ll never forget. They’re going to be very proud of taking second place down the road against a very good team.”