BONDUEL — The Bonduel Bears are having a terrific season, co-conference champs in the Central Wisconsin - East conference which ended up propelling them to a one seed in the Division 4 playoffs and they’re now two wins away from a trip down to Madison.
“We just work hard all the time and it’s been great,” said Bonduel senior Abby Stoltenow. “We always have fun together and always build each other up. The friendships we build through softball is amazing, it’s unlike any other.”
When you see you the Bears step on the field, you can feel how close-knit they are.
“Never just a one man game,” said junior Hailee Thompson. “Everybody’s got everybody's back. At the end of the day, I think that’s why we do so well. Why we win games, because everybody is working together as a team.”
That’s thanks in large part to the leadership of the five seniors on the team.
“They’re very team oriented so they keep the younger kids involved in all of the activities,” said Bears head coach Christine Reinke. “They’re super encouraging and I think that makes kids want to be on the softball team because they’re so welcomed and included.”
They don’t just keep the younger players involved, they also inspire them.
“They’ve inspired me throughout it all,” said Thompson. “They’ve helped pick me up when maybe I wasn’t doing my best on the field or having my best game. In return we always try to pick them up..”
After leading their team to back to back conference titles and regional championships safe to say the Bonduel seniors have made a large impact on the program.
“It’s going to be really hard to see them go because there’s going to be big shoes to fill for future years and just on top of just the softball playing, they’re awesome, awesome kids,” said Reinke. “I would be proud to call any of them my daughter. Kudos to their parents.”
Now, the team is hoping to drag this season out as long as they can to give the seniors a proper send off – hopefully to their first state tournament appearance in about 40 years.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to make it to state,” said Stoltenow. “We just got to work hard and play great defense just like we know we can.”
But next for the Bears, they take on third-seeded Iola-Scandinavia in the sectional semis, they beat the T-Birds in both regular season meetings, it's the exact same scenario as last season... and Bonduel lost...those seniors, looking for a little revenge this time around.