5:42 p.m. Bottom 7: Snider smacks a single to center for her second hit in the game. Prien nearly beats out a grounder, as Snider moves to second. Maurer then hits a cloud-scraper to short for the second out. Senior Betthauser steps to the plate for likely the last time of her prep career and singles to left. Updike then flairs a ball to the exact spot Evans blooped her hit, which allows Betthauser to get to third and Snider to score. Bobak then grounds out on the first pitch she sees to end the game.
Monroe falls 9-1 to Seymour for the program's fifth silver trophy.
5:35 p.m. - Top 7: Sophie Wery flies out to center to open the final inning, and Vanden Langenberg works a full-count walk. No. 8 hitter Olivia Wery steps back into the plate and immediately drops a sacrifice bunt. Samantha Nieland then ground out to short to end the frame.
Officially, just two of the nine runs against Bobak are earned. Cheesemakers come up with their 8-9-1 hitters for the final frame.
5:31 p.m. - Bottom 6: Tostrud grounds out to open the sixth, as does Hayes. Ambrose makes it three straight groundouts to the left side and a quick 1-2-3 inning sends this to the seventh. Seymour leads 9-0.
5:27 p.m. - Top 5: Evans, a power hitter with 12 HRs on the year, tries to bunt on the first pitch, but it goes foul. Bobak goes right after her with a called strike two, but an 0-2 weak fly into shallow right center drops for a hit. Maurer got spun around and couldn't make the catch and Evans kept chugging and reached second safely.
Real pressure here in the sixth, as King bounces to first, but an error on Tostrud allowed King to reach. Evans dances around at third to grab Monroe's attention, which allows King to get to sneak into second. Weyer is then intentionally walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Dinah King, the Thunder's No. 4 hitter with a .521 batting average is at the plate, grounds to third with Lizzie Snider making a diving stop, but her throw to the plate is late, allowing Evans to score. The throw actually bounced away from Hayes, which allowed a second run to score and the remaining runners to move up to second and third.
Patricia Nieland then ropes a 2-RBI single to right center to make it 4-0 Seymour with nobody out. Sophie Wery nearly had an extra base hit down the left field line, but the ball sails just wide. Wery then hits into a fielder's choice for the first out. Vanden Langenberg then walks to add to more pressure, bringing up Seymour's eighth batter of the inning. Olivia Wery then bunts back up the middle, but Bobak checks back the runner going to third and those late to third to again load the bases. Samantha Nieland, the No. 9 hitter, steps into the box, with Evans on deck.
Nieland bunts towards second, and Maurer tries to go home and throws wide, allowing two more runs to score. Evans will step to the plate with runners on second and third with just one out. Monroe coach Joe O'Leksy calls his second timeout of the inning to talk to his infield. All six runs this inning unearned. In fact, Monroe still leads Seymour in the hits column 6-5. Evans, 1 for 3 today, crushes a no-doubt 3-run home run into the wind in right center. The fence stands 218 feet from home plate, and she cleared it by nearly 20 feet.
It's now 9-0 Seymour and the Cheesemaker fan base is stunned at the turn of events, all coming from defensive miscues in both fielding and decision making.
Adding two it, King reaches on a liner that scoots past Maurer. Monroe has four errors in the inning, and Seymour has tied the D2 state record for runs in an inning. Bobak strikes out Weyer for her 8th K of the game. Dinah Weiher then hits a single to left to keep the inning alive. Patricia Nieland into the box now, with King advancing to second on a fielder's indifference. Nieland flies out to center to end the nightmare of an inning.
5:10 p.m. - Bottom 5: Maurer leads off for Monroe and reaches on another bunt single. She has power and extra base hitting ability, but the goal is to get on base and she does that again.
Betthauser, Monroe's No. 2 hitter, hits a fielder's choice to short for the first out. Winds now blowing in from right field. Updike grounds out to short, with Betthauser reaching second on the high chopper. Bobak appears to be trying to go to opposite field again today. That approach was pivotal in yesterday's semifinal win over New Berlin West. Bobak grounds out to second after a foul into the seats, and we are still scoreless at Goodman Diamond.
5:06 p.m. - Top 5: Seymour bringing up their 6-7-8 hitters to lead off this fifth inning. It's still a scoreless pitcher's duel, with Monroe's Olivia Bobak allowing just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Sophie Wery strikes out looking. Then Kylee Vanden Langenberg walks. Olivia Wery follows with a weak swing on a 2-2 count for the second out. No. 9-hitter Samantha Nieland goes to a full-count but strikes out looking to end the inning. That 7-8-9 for Seymour is far and away the Thunder's biggest weakness.
Monroe opens the bottom of the fifth with the top of the order. It might be time to capitalize on some opportunities and score some runs.
4:57 p.m. - Bottom 4: Tostrud leads off for Monroe and smacks a single into center, but tries to sneak into third and is thrown out by two steps. Hayes follows that up with a single to right, with Karis Paulson entering to courtesy run. Ambrose sacrifices Paulson to second, bringing Snider back up to the plate. Snider walks on a full count to put runners on again for Prien, Monroe's No. 9 hitter. Prien watches strike 3 right down the middle.
4:50 p.m. - Top 4: Weyer hits a loud out to left, with Prien tracking the hard liner two steps to her left. Dinah King then smokes a hard liner straight to Betthauser in center, and the all-conference Monroe CF adjusts at the last second and catches the ball on the hand pad of the glove. Patricia Nieland then weakly pops out to second to end the frame. A couple of hard hit balls, but Bobak stays efficient on the mound.
4:45 p.m. - Bottom 3: Snider leads off the frame for Monroe. She has a .320 average on the season and came up with a couple of clutch hits in the sectional final win over McFarland. She singles up the middle to start it off and Sarah Prien's bunt is bobbled by the third baseman Sophie Wery and all runners are safe. Almost an identical start to the key 3-run inning the Cheesemakers had in that win over McFarland.
Maurer then drops a bunt, but a miscommunication on the defense has no one covering first, and now the bases are loaded for Betthauser, a senior. Betthauser grounds into a fielder's choice to short, with the throw coming home to keep a run off the board. Updike then strikes out with bases loaded. Bobak, as clutch as Monroe has been able to ask for all season, tries to go to right but the ball catches the end of the bat and she grounds out to end the threat.
Tough break for the Cheesemakers, who were unable to plate a run. Still tied 0-0.
4: 40 p.m. - Top 3: Samantha Nieland grounds out back up the middle to Bobak for the first out, and then Evans sees her batting average drop even further with a pop out to Lizzie Snider in foul territory along third base. Evans hit 6.35 in the regular season with a 2.075 OPS and a .697 on-base percentage and is 0 for 2 today. Diahannah King hitting .459, pops out to the infield as Bobak has a very quick 1-2-3 inning.
Cheesemakers sending their 8-9-1 to the plate coming up.
4:36 p.m. - Bottom 2: Grace Tostrud nearly takes one on the shin and then misses a hit down the third base line by just inches. Instead she grounds a 2-2 pitch to first for the first out. Katie Hayes, Monroe's power-hitting sophomore catcher, goes down looking for the second out. Sloane Ambrose falls behind 0-2 and strikes out to end the inning. This is turning into a real pitcher's duel. Weyer is getting ahead in the count, and that is playing a big part in her dominance.
4:29 p.m. - Top 2: Seymour has four sets of siblings on their roster, a high number for a D2 school. That's a number normally seen at the D4 and D5 levels when more freshmen and sophomores are needed to fill out roster depth.
That said, Seymour junior Dinah King steps to the plate with a .521 batting average. She doesn't hit much for power - just six extra base hits so far this season. She singles with a light bloop down the right field line, fair by just inches. Patricia Nieland , the Thunder's No. 5 hitter with a .424 batting average, hits a weak spinner to short that had enough English on it for Nieland to reach safely on a bang-bang play at first.
Sophie Wery has 10 homers this year, goes down swinging. One positive for Monroe is that Seymour's 7-8-9 hitters are all batting under .228 this season, so in situations like this with two runners on, the threat of a big hit is slightly diminished. Kylee Vanden Langenberg goes down looking, but King swipes third on a delayed steal. Olivia Wery, batting just .156 on the season, strikes out swinging to end the threat.
Still 0-0 after 1 1/2 innings.
4:17 p.m. - Bottom 1: Weyer takes the mound with Monroe sending up Alyse Maurer, Hailey Betthauser and Sydney Updike as the top three hitters. Maurer gets called out on strikes on a pitch that looked a little up and a little in. But it's one out just the same.
Betthauser leads Monroe with 6 HRs on the year and has a healthy .705 slugging percentage, but she pops up to Evans the catcher in foul territory for the second out. Updike records the game's first hit with a seeing-eye single through the hole between third and short. Bobak then grounds out on a check-swing grounder back to the mound. We've played a scoreless first inning.
4:10 p.m. - Top 1: Evans leads off with a flyout to left on the second pitch of the game. Diahanna King, a junior slap hitter, is hitting .459 from the left side this year and bats second. King works Bobak a bit and sends a high fly into right center, but Monroe's Sloane Ambrose tracks it down. I think wind might have helped keep that ball from getting deeper in the alley. Paige Weyer then strikes out to close the frame.
4:05 p.m. - First pitch is about here as the Cheesemakers take the field!
3:54 p.m. - Monroe will be the home team, the second straight day the Cheesemakers have won the 50/50 coin flip. As nice as it is to have the chance to end a game on offense, it's still going to take 21 outs to win it all. Or 15, if the bats get hot. With this wind blowing straight in from center, HRs on the already deep outfield fence are even more unlikely anyway. Given the pitching talent on each squad, doubly so.
3:42 p.m. - Monroe faces Seymour in the WIAA Division 2 state softball championship.
The Thunder (25-1) have six regular starters batting above .400 on the season, with junior catcher Chloe Evans leading the way at .635. Evans also had 12 homers and 15 doubles through regionals. Sophomore teammate Sophie Wery has 10 HRs and 37 RBIs with a .415 average.
Seymour is known for their bats, as well as the stellar pitching of senior Paige Weyer, who carries a 1.78 ERA in 122 innings with 157 Ks prior to the state tournament.
Not to be outdone, Monroe's Olivia Bobak also has a 1.54 ERA with 222 strikeouts for the Cheesemakers (23-4).
Monroe seeks the second state title in program history (2003), while the Thunder are searching for their first ever championship.