On a beautiful Saturday morning on May 13, the West Regents hopped on the bus and went to Fort Atkinson to battle the Blackhawks. At the start of the game, there were a few raindrops that had the Regent and Fort faithful scurrying for the covered area of fabulous Jones Park, the venue for the day’s game. You’ve gotta love the small town baseball parks throughout southern Wisconsin. These communities embrace their teams, the players, the game, and really put together facilities to be proud of. It suuuuure would be nice if Madison could get on board with something like this. Hey, a man can dream, can’t he? This game was also part of a Strike Out Cancer fundraiser, a double header for the Blackhawks that saw them facing off against Sauk Prairie later in the day.
Our lineup and batting order looked like this:
Austin Cotharn – SS, Drake Baldwin -C, Otto Treichel-DH, Donovan O’Flahrity -1B, Tommy Hill – RF, Eli Sorensen – CF, Charlie Met – 3B, Max Hanson – LF, and John Frehner 2B. On the mount to start the game was none other than Colin Pulkrabek.
Fort started Jake Willey on the mound, and he ended up going the distance.
The first inning was uneventful for the Regents, as well as the Blackhawks, but the second featured Donovan O’Flahrity getting HBP on an 0-1 count. Tommy Hill followed by hitting a first pitch bullet to right, moving Dono to third. Hill advanced to third while Dono scored on a groundout by Eli to first base. Charlie Met followed with a fielders choice that got Tommy caught one step too far towards third. He slid head-first back to second and avoided the tag but Mr Umpire saw it differently and called him out. Tommy, and the entire bleacher section of fans from both teams disagreed. But as we all know, Mr Umpire’s decision is final. We moved on. 1-0 Regents.
The second inning for Fort saw them nab 2 runs. A single to Braden Wichsum was followed by a bunt by Ty Sheeber to get him to second. He scored when catcher Mason Emmrick doubled off Pulkrabek, who then sent left fielder Kastroski back to grab some bench with a strikeout looking. Centerfielder Zach Cortier followed with a bad hop single off the backhand of Cotharn at short. McGowan their second baseman walked, but Willey flew to center to end the inning. 2-1 Forties.
Our third inning was a librarian’s dream. Quiet. However Fort got their other two runs in their half. Connor O’Brien their third baseman started with a single on a 2-0 pitch by David Grunder in relief of Colin. Their first baseman Jo-Jo Crandal then doubled on a 2-2 pitch, moving O’Brien to third. Wichsum was K’d by Grunder, but Sheeber came next and singled on a 2-1 count to score two runs. David then struck out Emmrick to end the inning. 4-1 Blackhawks.
It would stay that way until the 6th, with only one hit for West between the 2nd and the 6th, another single by Hill on another 0-0 count. In the 6th, Drake Baldwin doubled when Willey did not learn from a previous pitch. BASEBALL LESSON UPCOMING: Drake worked the count to 3 balls and 2 strikes. A “full count” for you newbies. It is full because one can not have a count with more than 3 balls as 4 balls means that he is no longer a batter, he is now the runner at first. One can also not have more than 2 strikes, or again that batter is no longer batting, as he is of course sitting on the bench having just struck out. Anyhow, what Fort’s pitcher (or whoever was calling their pitches) missed is the fact that Drake, being the excellent hitter that he is, just barely missed the first 3-2 fastball that he threw, fouling it back. Willey came back with the same pitch, and Drake raked that mistake, driving a double to left center. He may have been wiser to come back with a breaking ball, although I imagine Drake would have been ready for that as well. Be ready for fastball, but hit the curve if in the zone. Drake was now at second, soon to be advanced to third on a single by Treichel, on a 3-1 count. O’Flahrity lofted a ball to center on an 0-1 count, to score a sacrifice fly as Drake trotted home. Tommy Hill followed with a shot to short on a 2-2 count that the shortstop missed for an error. Eli Sorensen singled to get Tommy to third, but the next two batters struck out. 4-3 Blackhawks. Things are now getting interesting…..
Nate Millmann was on the mound now since the 4th inning, relieving Grunder. He was like the aforementioned librarian…..keeping things nice and quiet. He allowed no more runs, and struck out two, with two walks and one single.
In the top of the 7th, we went down 1-2-3, and the game was over, 4-3 Fort Atkinson. West falls to 12-6 overall, still 9-5 in the Big 8 Conference, ahead of Verona for third place as we have beaten them twice. 🙂 We battle East at 5 PM at Mansfield on Tuesday the 16th, and come right back on Thursday the 18th to contest Sun Prairie, also at 5 PM, and as if you were not excited enough with those two games, we get to take on the Oconomowoc squad on Friday May 19 at 5:30, again at our home field of Mansfield.
We’ll see you there, and there, and there. Now go make dinner for your mother.