When the Adams-Friendship softball team scored first, it seemed to only wake up the defending Division 2 champs.
The Green Devils got on the scoreboard in the third inning, only to watch New London run away with an 8-1 sectional semifinal victory on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bulldogs move one step closer to earning the right to defend their crown, as they take on Wrightstown, a 3-2 winner over Oconto Falls, at 5 p.m. Thursday in Freedom in a sectional championship game. The Green Devils reached their second straight sectional tournament, only to fall to New London for a second straight year.
Through the first two innings, pitchers Emma Roenneburg and Shelby Sommer had the opposing team’s batters off balance. In the third, however, the Green Devils broke the scoring drought.
Mandi Fallen hit a leadoff single up the middle, and then Roenneburg drove her in with a two-out line drive to left field.
“We put some pressure on them early, but they responded, and that’s what good teams do,” A-F coach Bryan Brom said. “New London is a great team, and we didn’t have an answer after they got rolling.”
New London answered A-F’s one run with four of its own on a four-hit barrage that included a pair of two-run singles. Jenna Mytton drove in two runs, then the next batter, Morgan Gorges belted a double to drive in two more.
The Bulldogs had two extra-base hits, including a triple in the bottom of the sixth by Alana Beyer, who went 4 for 4 with three runs scored to lead New London’s hitting attack. New London had 11 hits, while Sommer limited the Green Devils to four.
“I think the girls were a little anxious the first few innings,” Bulldogs coach Lauren Turner said. “Once they settled down, they swung at good pitches and made solid contact.”
The first Bulldogs to hit Roenneburg hard were Mytton and Gorges in the third inning.
New London scored twice in the fourth and twice more in the sixth to put the game out of reach for the Green Devils.
“Shelby moves the ball around, and whatever I call for her, she puts it there,” Turner said of her ace. “We talk about where we have to pitch the batters, but she’s the one who does it, so she deserves the credit.”
The Green Devils put runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and sixth innings but couldn’t get the clutch hit.
“The girls played with a lot of heart and character this year,” Brom said. “The games we’ve lost, we’ve had one or two bad innings and it came back to bite us.
“I’m proud of what the girls accomplished,” Brom added. “They played hard and left it all on the field.”
WP: Shelby Sommer (5K, 1BB). LP: Emma Roenneburg (5K, 2BB). 2B: NL, Morgan Gorges. 3B: NL, Alana Beyer.
Records: New London 17-5; Adams-Friendship 16-6.