DENMARK – A dramatic game ended in dramatic fashion when right fielder Breanna Collins threw out a Seymour runner at third base in the bottom of the ninth inning to send Denmark High School to a 9-8 victory over the top seed and a regional softball championship on Friday in Seymour.
The Vikings took the lead on Abigail Metz’s two-out RBI single that brought home pinch runner Abby Marique in the ninth. Marique was running for Abigail Chada, who had belted a one-out double to the fence.
Grace Nys, who went the distance for Denmark and pitched out a slew of jams — eventually stranding nine — gave up a leadoff single in the bottom half and Seymour, which came into the game with just one loss, bunted the runner to second. That runner attempted to advance on a short fly to right, but Collins throw to third baseman Taylor Ullman was right on the mark and the four seed Denmark pulled off a thriller of an upset and advances to the sectional semis on Tuesday at two seed West De Pere.
“I’m on cloud nine,” said Denmark head coach Mike Vakselis after his team improved to 20-9. “I couldn’t be more proud or happy for the girls, especially our seniors. Those girls have battled and battled to get to this point and it’s just a testament to our team character.”
The game was a series of emotional ups and downs for both teams, but the Vikings somehow managed to overcome a four-run Seymour sixth that was partly the result of several risky – and as it turned out, unsuccessful – defensive decisions, including twice passing up a sure out to try to get the runner trying to score. Seymour took full advantage to rally from an 8-4 deficit in the inning and knot the game.
The Thunder had a chance to win it in the seventh, advancing the winning run to second on a hit batter and a wild pitch. But Nys coaxed a fly ball to center fielder Abby O’Brien and the game advanced to the ninth.
Chada ripped the first offering to her to the fence in right-center and moved to third with two outs on Taylor Wochenske’s ground out. Metz’s game-winner wasn’t the hardest-hit ball, looping just out of the reach of both the second baseman and the right fielder, but it was perhaps the biggest hit of her career.
Earlier in the season, Collins had thrown out another runner at third base.
Metz staked the Vikings to a 2-0 lead with a two-out first-inning single, but Seymour used a four-run third to claim a 4-2 advantage. Lexie Habeck, who finished with three of Denmark’s 11 hits, stroked an RBI single in the fourth to draw the Vikings to within a run. Denmark then sent nine to the plate in the fifth and scored five runs. The big blow was Sophia Kinjerski’s two-run home run to left center that upped the Viking lead to 8-4.
Metz also finished with three hits and three RBI, while Collins and O’Brien each singled twice.
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