One foot. A dozen inches. Exactly 30.48 centimeters.
Those numbers made a big difference in Southern Door’s 3-0 loss to Campbellsport Friday in the semifinals of the Division 3 state softball tournament in Madison.
Campbellsport was leading 2-0 in the fourth inning, but after Kylie Neinas singled with two out and advanced to third on consecutive wild pitches, the Eagles had their best scoring chance of the game against Cambellsport’s Alyssa Muench.
Muench had a 2 and 2 count on Kendra Dantoin when Dantoin sent Muench’s next pitch deep down the left field line – foul by a foot. On the next pitch Muench struck out Dantoin looking to end the threat.
“Kendi hit that ball very hard,” Southern Door coach Courtney Renard said. “It tailed a little bit and that’s why it went foul. It was a very unique play as if it would have gone over the momentum of the game may have changed.”
The Cougars added a run on an error in the fifth inning, but it was meaningless as Muench didn’t allow a Southern Door baserunner in the last three innings. Muench finished with a three-hitter, struck out 12 and didn’t allow a walk while picking up her 16th victory of the season.
“Muench just has a great arsenal of pitches, and since the playoffs started she has raised it to a level I have not seen from her,” said Campbellsport coach Bill Heisdorf. “She sees things and isn’t afraid to shake off pitches if she wants to throw something else based on the batter’s stance or swing. She also has ice in her veins. Nothing rattles her.”
Campbellsport scored all the runs it would need in the first inning. The Cougars parlayed three walks, three hits and an error into two runs. The big hit was a single by Lauren Heisdorf that scored courtesy runner Andrea Yahr, who just beat the throw home from Southern Door left fielder Natalee Jandrin. Courtesy runner Carissa Heisdorf scored the second run on a throwing error.
After uncharacteristically issuing three walks in the first inning, Southern Door pitcher Lexi Wery settled down and limited the Cougars to two hits and struck out four batters the rest of the game. Only one of the Cougars’ three runs was earned.
“[Lexi] wasn’t herself at the beginning of the game but once her nerves calmed down she did a great job keeping them where they were at,” Renard said. “She had been strong for us all year and the program will truly miss her.”
The Eagles had a runner in scoring position in the second inning. Neinas had a one-out double to left field, but consecutive strikeouts by Muench ended the threat. Grace LeGrave had a two-out double in the third inning, but Muench foiled that rally with another strikeout.
“We just didn’t have our usual timely hitting,” Renard said. “[Muench] was very effective and took advantage of our liking of hitting high pitches. We had runners in scoring position but just couldn’t catch a break to get that hit we needed.”
The Eagles close out the season with a 21-4 record, regional and sectional titles and a Packerland Conference co championship with Algoma. The Eagles clinched their fifth state tournament bid in school history with a 5-0 win over conference rival Oconto.
Southern Door loses a group of seniors who were part of a program which won 76 games and two Packerland Conference titles in the last four years. The Eagles also won a sectional title and were sectional runners up twice during this span.
“I told the girls after the game that our season was not one to hang their heads about,” Renard said. “We worked hard all year long to get to that point and we should feel proud to have been there.”