As I mentioned last week, blogs are much more fun after a victory! Especially when you beat the #1 ranked team in the state of Wisconsin! I am nearly giddy at the moment. That was fun to watch.
Way to go boys, way to not roll over. You scored 6 more runs with 2 outs today. Has there been a tougher team with two outs in the history of West Baseball? The jury is still out on this one…..
Here is how it went down:
11-0 Janesville Craig’s starting pitcher was Mitchell Woelfle, a sizable sophomore with some serious zip. PBR (Prep Baseball Report) has him 23rd in the class of 2019, with a fastball in the range of 82-85. He showed some serious chops by setting us down with 5 out of 6 strikeouts in the first two innings, striking out the side in the second.
Our starting pitcher Eli Sorensen started strong, striking out leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Cougars, Jack Blomgren. Their next hitter was right fielder Austin Kraus, who reached on an error, and promptly stole second base. 3B Evan Spry popped out to Charlie Met, his counterpart at third. Jacob Campbell, Janesville’s catcher then laced a double to right center to score Kraus. Second baseman Noah Berghammer then flew out deeeeep to Jens Shager in RF for the third out. 1-0 Cougars.
In their second inning, the Cougars roared. First baseman Luke Malmanger got things started with a single past shortstop Nate Millman. Centerfielder Nick Cramer followed with a bloop to shallow center for another single. Their 8th hitter, DH Caleb White also singled, and the bases were juiced. Ducks on the pond. Cakes on the griddle. The Cougars 9th hitter was left fielder JJ Brennan. Sorensen gave him some bench with a strikeout looking. Blomgren then singled in Malmanger, and Kraus was walked which scored Cramer. Spry followed with a fielders choice that scored White. Jacob Campbell then flew out deeeep to right and Jens Shager hauled it in. Cougars 4, Regents 0. There is good news here folks. That was the last run the Cougars would score until the 6th.
In the Cougar’s half of the third, they threatened but we scoffed at these idle threats. Eli showed Berghammer where to sit (hint: it was the bench) with a strikeout looking. Malmanger then grounded out to our second baseman John Frehner. Cramer took a base on balls and then took off for second. The throw from catcher Drake Baldwin tipped off of Nate’s glove and went into center which allowed Cramer to make it to third base. Eli had a few more pitches to the next batter, Janesville’s DH Caleb White. Coach Greiber saw something, and rearranged the lineup to bring in Aiden Burgess to pitch, moving Austin Cotharn to LF, and Sorenson to CF. White walked, and JJ Brennan was struck by a pitch. He did seem a bit stunned, but was not scarred for life. He’ll be fine folks, it’s part of the game. Burgess bore down, baffling baller Blomgren with a backwards K. End of the threat. But still 4-Zip Cougars.
When West got it’s whacks in the third, we came back with the red-hot intensity of a thousand suns….with two outs that is. Shager looked at a third strike. Frehner flew to center, for West’s first solid contact of the game. Perhaps that chinked the armor of the Woelfle. He then walked Millman, who advanced to third on a double to right by LF Cotharn. Next up was Charlie Met, with two men on base. Met had flashed some chops of his own in previous games, with some warning track power….but this evening he would not be denied. Woelfle whistled a pitch on the outside corner that Met did not miss. He drove the ball deep, deep, deeeeeeeep to right. The right fielder Kraus went back, back, baaaaack, and ran out of room as the ball cleared the fence for a 3-run blast. Met was pumped. Pumped I tell you. After he touched the plate, he did not touch the ground again until he landed in the dugout. Drake singled to keep things going, but our DH Otto Treichel flew out to deep short to end our threat. 4-3 Cougars. We’ve got ourselves a ball game! We knew it, they knew it, and the near capacity crowd knew it.
In the Craig 4th, Burgess was in command. He faced their first batter Kraus, who hit a single up the middle off Frehner’s glove. He would have had a tough play if he fielded cleanly. Never fear teammate, as Aiden then induced a 4-6-3 double play hit by their 3 hitter Spry. Catcher Campbell whiffed for the third out. Still 4-3.
In the bottom of the 4th, Owen Christenson hit for first baseman Donovan O’Flahrity. He belted a single and would stay in the game. Eli Sorensen tried to sacrifice him to second, which he did. In the process he dove past an attempted tag on his great bunt, and was at first called safe on a “no tag” call by Mr Umpire. I had a strong suspicion that both Eli and our first base coach Kent Adler knew he had actually been tagged, and by the time everyone realized that he had been called NOT out, Craig figured things out and threw to first to officially retire Sorensen. Jens then flew to right, and John flew to left to end the inning. 4-3 Janesville.
The top of the fifth featured flies by Berghammer to Shager, Malmanger to Shager, and a groundout by Cramer 1-3, Burgess to Christenson.
Our bottom of the fifth started with a sinking ducksnort by Nate Millman to third for out #1. Cotharn followed with a walk. Charlie Met then flew out to center to set up West in their seemingly favorite situation, having two outs. Baldwin casually ambulated to the dish. It’s like he’s been here before. No stress. No worries. He fouled a number of pitches off, sending worried automobile owners into a tizzy, as balls were literally raining down in the direction of many windshields. But there he stood. Unfazed. Unwavering. As cool as the other side of the pillow. Next o-2 pitch? BOMB. And when I say BOMB, I mean a colossal, 2 run, 400 foot, no-doubter off the top of the far pole of the distant batting cage. 400 feet is not generous on this one. This was a tone-setter. And the tone was “don’t mess”. 5-4 Regents! Blam! Just like that. PBR has Drake as #5 in the 2019 class, and from what I understand, Drake bested his summer teammate today. That is good stuff right there. Fun baseball memories that may never be forgotten.
In the top of the 6th, Craig got one back to make things interesting. Blomgren singled after a Brennan groundout. He reached second on a balk. Kraus singled and ball bounded away from a charging Cotharn to score Blomgren and allow Kraus to continue to second. Spry was struck out, and Campbell grounded out to end the threat. Tie ballgame folks, going into the seventh. I was starting to panic as my score sheets only go up to 7 innings. Silly me.
Our 6th was silent off relief pitcher Jack Blomgren, the previous shortstop. Eli Sorensen flirted with a bomb of his own that was a few feet foul, and then struck out swinging. Jens followed with the same result, and John Frehner grounded to short to end the inning.
The top of the 7th featured a burgeoning Burgess baffling batters, as Berghammer flew to Center, Malmanger flew to left, and Cramer popped to Owen Christenson at first…setting the stage.
Donavan Parker got a piece of the action in a pinch-hit role for Millmann. He walked, and Millman returned on a re-entry. Austin then tried to bunt him to second on a sacrifice. The pitcher Blomgren threw high at second for an error/fielder’s choice and both runners were safe. Charlie Met was next, and struck out swinging. Drake Baldwin, fresh off his 400 foot blast, hit a 100 foot infield single near shortstop and hustled to first to give their fielder no chance to throw anyone out. Bases juiced. Ducks on the pond. Cakes on the griddle. DH Treichel steps to the plate. He hits into a fielder’s choice that retires Millman 4-2. 2 outs. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Well skootch forward! Still tied…..bringing to the plate O.C. You know him as Owen Christenson. You will now know him as OC. Original Clutch. Owen got down to a 2 strike count, with two outs mind you, when he singled up the middle to score Cotharn! Game Over! Regents Win in exciting fashion once again! Celebrate this one boys! This is good baseball!
P.S. – Last year, we also knocked off a highly rated Craig team….but then we struggled mightily for the next 4 games at least, as if we had accomplished our season goal. Let’s not have a repeat of this, gentlemen. No let ups. Keep it coming. You have proven what you can do when you play as a team, and you can beat anyone on any given day. Bring that attitude and 100% effort on every pitch, every grounder, every shot to the gap. Bring it. Feel good about this one, but your work is not done. No let ups.