Heat Wave: Sizzling to a win
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - Under a scorching sun that could fry bacon, the Menominee defense refused to wilt in a Legion baseball broiler at Spies Field Wednesday night.
The Red Wave kept their cool in the 90 degree heat, making just one harmless error, while capitalizing on White Lake miscues for a 6-4 win.
"That's three games in a row we've played good defense," coach Tony Hofer said. "We had just two errors in our last three games."
The Wave got clutch efforts from reserve players Caleb Kleiman, Jared Rivard and Michael Melchoir and Chris Kelley made his starting pitching debut.
Post 524 parlayed two hit batters, two walks, a dropped third strike and two hits into an early 3-0 lead.
Kyle Wolf scorched an RBI triple to center in the first inning to give White Lake the lead.
A 6-4-3 double play and a Kelley strikeout limited the first-inning damage.
"Chris held them to one run," said Hofer. "That was good for him to get a start in his last year."
Jaden Kleinke came on in relief in the second and labored through a 35-pitch, two-run inning. He struck out the side, but gave up two walks and a Dillion Gollihue single.
Kleinke allowed just one hit over the next three innings while earning the win. He struck out eight and overcame four walks.
Hofer noted that after four innings in the sun, Kleinke was cooked.
"He overheated. He was very hot."
Post 146 cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the second. Mason Kewley laced a one-out double to left and Kleiman laid down a chalk-line hugging bunt for a single. Kleinke ripped an infield single, scoring Kewley, and Kleiman raced home on a throwing error.
The White Lake defense cracked again in the third inning.
Ryan Woods poked a single and made a 270-foot sprint around the bases on two throwing errors to tie the game.
Derek Reiswitz and Landen Maccoux stung singles and Kewley drew a walk to load the bases. A wild pitch chopped the lead to a run and Rivard gave the Red Wave a 5-3 lead with his sac fly to cener.
"We should have been right there, but we made some mistakes," said White Lake coach Dan Wickersheim. "Plus, Menominee hit the ball well."
White Lake combined two walks and a Kevin Jacobsen single to chip the margin to 5-4 in the fifth. Post 524 loaded bases with two outs in the sixth, but Riley Hegg gloved Luke Wickersheim's liner to short to stuff the threat.
Rivard led off the Wave sixth with a single and Melchoir followed with an RBI single. Kleinke jacked a triple, but after a traffic jam at third base, White Lake tossed out the lead runner trying to scramble home.
Kleinke, who was raking North Division pitching at a .406 clip heading into Tuesday's doubleheader against Oconto, went 3 for 3. Eight players contributed hits to Menominee's 11-hit output.
Francour didn't allow a hit over the final two innings to earn the save.
"We've had a couple of good games now," said Hofer. "Hopefully we can keep it going (today)."
The Red Wave (5-6) can finish at .500 in the Fox River Valley North Division with a win at Peshtigo today.
White Lake, which was winless in its last two North Division seasons, finishes its Fox River Valley schedule with a 3-9 mark.
"The kids just got a little bit older," said coach Wicksheim. "We were playing with a lot of young kids. The kids we have today, 70 percent of them have played together the past several years."
WP - Jaden Kleinke 4IP, 2R, 2ER, 2H, 4W, 8K
LP - Jon Smits 7IP, 6R, 4Er, 11H, 1W, 2K
Leading hitters: Menominee (Jaden Kleinke 3x3, 3B, RBI; Mason Kewley 1x2, 2B; Jared Rivard 1x1, RBI, Sac; Caleb Kleiman 1x1) White Lake (Kyle Wolf 1x3, 3B)
White Lake 120 010 0 - 4
Menominee 023 001 x - 6