It was a frigid Saturday morning in Madison Wisconsin when Head Coach Ben Greiber was awoken from his cozy slumber by a phone call. It was Rory, head of the grounds crew at Mansfield Stadium. To his crack team of inspectors, the field was proclaimed to be in playable condition. His Madison West Regents would play today. He nearly leapt from bed, cooked a 5 course breakfast for his family, washed AND DRIED the dishes, kissed his wife and children, and darted out the door. The game was on!
The 7-3 West Regents faced off against Big 8 Conference foe, the 3-7 Janesville Parker Vikings at 10 AM Saturday April 29, 2017. It was frigid. Windy. Dank. Especially dank. But as always the Regents were prepared. Coaches had mittens, hats, snowmobile suits, and even a pair of moon boots. This was not their first frozen rodeo.
Now, do not let Janesville’s 3-7 record fool you. The Vikings lost 3 of their 7 games by one run, and another by just two runs. They also beat a team to which we lost. They were not to be taken lightly. No sir. No ma’am.
Here is how it went down:
When the ice melted the game began. Game time temperature was 43 degrees. Wind out of the north at 16-20 MPH, with gusts to 25. On the mound for Madison West was Eli Sorensen, the jaunty junior. The lead-off man for Parker was Kyle Barket their shortstop. He was nicked by a pitch, and went to first. Jordan Bailey the CF then flew out to Nate Millmann at shortstop for out #1. Cade Bohlman their catcher was next, and as it turns out he is quite the sketch artist as well. He drew a walk. He was followed by RF Sam Garvoille who was also gifted first on a base on balls. By my count, that puts runners on all of the bases, for Sam Nemetz the Vikes first baseman. He hit a grounder to Owen Christenson at first, which took a nasty hop up off of Owen’s left upper chestial region for an infield single. Barkett scored. Jaden Ellis, the left fielder then struck out swinging, and Casey Stone, the starting pitcher for Janesville grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. 1-0 Vikings.
Not to be outdone, the Regents stormed back in their half of the freezing first frame. Austin Cotharn, centerfielder, took a base on balls on 4 pitches. Third baseman Charlie Met flew out to LF, and catcher Drake Baldwin lined a single up the middle that nearly took all of the clothes off of pitcher Stone, ala Charlie Brown. Next up was Donovan O’Flahrity, manning LF today. He flew to center for the second out, as Otto Treichel the DH sauntered up to the plate. Calm, cool, and even collected, Otto laced a 2 run double to right to score Cotharn and Baldwin. Owen Christenson, (OC) our first baseman ended the inning with a ground out 4-3. 2-1 Regents. We would not trail again.
In the second, Parker DH Dalton Madsen stuck the bat out and singled to shallow right. The 9th hitter Nolan Aegerter struck out looking. Burkett walked, Bailey grounded out 1-3, and Madsen advanced to third. Bohlman then grounded to Charlie Met, who rifled a throw to OC for the third out. 2-1 Regents.
In our second, Eli Sorensen started things off by reaching on an error to the second baseman who backpedaled and bounced the pop up out of his glove, hampered by one of those gusts, no doubt. John Frehner, our second baseman then bloop-singled to shallow right to move up the runners. Sorensen had to stop half way to make sure this ball was not snagged, doing an excellent job with textbook base running. Right fielder Jens Shager then tried to sacrifice. The pitcher probably had a play at third, but his catcher yelled “two”, where there was no play. By the time this was deciphered, a hustling Shager had eliminated any chances of getting thrown out at first. Chalk up a base hit for that effort, or possibly a fielders choice without an out. Since I am not the official scorer, I will leave that up to those of you scoring at home.
The bases were now packed with Regents. Austin Cotharn singled just past a diving Janesville second baseman, to score both Eli and John. Charlie Met then K’d, as did Drake. 2 outs. Donovan O’Flahrity popped to first to end the inning. 4-1 Regents.
In the third, Janesville had a single from Jaden Ellis, but that’s it.
The bottom of the third for West featured a double by Eli Sorensen, but he was left stranded at second base.
In the Vikings half of the 4th, Madsen again poked a hit, this time a double to left center. Sorensen then plunked an agitated Aegerter. That was the end of the pitching day for Eli, who switched to CF, moving Cotharn to RF, and Gabe Hill in to pitch. The Tenacious Tower took to the mound. He induced a fly out to left by Barkett. Bailey followed with a single, and Bohlman was a strikeout victim. Garvoille walked, which forced in Madsen. Next in the lineup we were finding Nemetz, who was retired 2-3 on a swinging bunt. 4-2 Regents.
The bottom of the 4th for the Regent 9 featured no notable niceties.
The top of the fifth for the Vikings was equally nice. Gabe put them down with a strikeout looking for Ellis, a fly to center by Stone, and a pop to third by Madsen.
We got our money’s worth in the bottom of the 5th, scoring 9, but only 8 counted due to the 10-run rule. We started with a Baldwin single, an O’Flahrity single, a Treichel walk, and a single by Owen Christensen to knock in Drake. Eli was punched out. (Not really folks, this is a term for a strike out. Relax. We are baseball lovers, not fighters.) John Frehner followed with his second single of the game to score Dono. Gabe Hill got his second AB of the game, and he came through with what I believe was a walk. I am afraid I can not read my own writing on my score sheet. Hey, I had mittens on. Cut me some slack eh? Anyway, his walk scored Otto. Austin then came up and singled as OC scored, and John Frehner as well, I believe. Again I blame the mittens for my lack of complete certainty. Charlie Met followed with a sacrifice fly to center. Drake walked. Donovan O’Flahrity collected his second hit of the inning next, scoring Cotharn. Otto Treichel followed with his second double of the day, this one of the walk-off variety. This scored Drake and Dono, but only Drake counted as he was the 12th run to take our lead to 10 runs after 5 innings….I think. Check the newspaper if you are in doubt. Check the paper anyway, you can often learn a lot about current events.
West really has a good streak going. You’ve really been playing well, picking each other up. Stay healthy, get plenty of rest, as the season is nearing the half-way point. This is a good thing we’ve got going. In addition, there’s a certain player I know fairly well who has been itching to get back out there for the last 2 weeks, who is growing ever closer to being able to do so. Could be soon. Stay tuned…..