EagleHerald/Billy Betts
NIagara catcher Landon Kaldor blocks the plate to tag out Charlie Johnsen of Crivitz as he tries to score during their game in Crivitz on Tuesday.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts
NIagara catcher Landon Kaldor blocks the plate to tag out Charlie Johnsen of Crivitz as he tries to score during their game in Crivitz on Tuesday.
CRIVITZ — Free baseball took place in Crivitz on Thursday with Niagara and the Wolverines dueling it out in a classic M&O Conference baseball game.

Behind great hitting and clutch defense by Landon Kaldor, Niagara defeated Crivitz 5-4 in nine innings.

With the game tied at four in the top of the ninth, Kalvin Jeffords roped a one-out single up the middle.

A bunt by Zach Prideaux moved Jeffords over to second and Kaldor drilled his fourth hit of the game, this one up the middle as well to drive in Jeffords and give the Badgers a one-run lead.

“That’s how we drew it up, once Kalvin (Jeffords) got on first,” Niagara coach Dean Neveau said. “Landon has been swinging a great bat and we just needed to get a runner in scoring position, which we did.”

Crivitz had a chance to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth as Kershaw Stumbris drew a lead-off walk.

On a 2-2 pitch by Anthony Hansen, the speedy Stumbris attempted to steal second, but was gunned down by a perfect throw from Kaldor. Hansen followed with two strikeouts to end the game.

“We had opportunities and that was one of them, we just didn’t take advantage,” Crivitz coach Jeff Dorschner said. “It was a good high school baseball team and both teams responded and made plays.”

It was a duel from the start and Niagara drew first blood with three runs in the first inning off Wolverine starter Tommy Sawinski.

Kaldor led off the game with a single, but was thrown at trying to steal second. Ethan Blagec followed with a double, Dylan Neuens drew a walk and both scored on a two-run single by Hansen.

An error at short and a wild pitch drove in Hansen’s courtesy runner Alex Hagerty to put the Badgers up 3-0.

Crivitz plated a run in the bottom of the first. Jaden Werner led off with a walk, advanced to second and third on wild pitches and scored on a groundout to first by Stumbris.

After two scoreless innings, the Wolverines trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth.

Charlie Johnsen drew a lead-off walk and Dawson Andrist roped a double to put runners on second and third. Aaron Tormey then drilled a one-hop liner to third and Prideaux threw out Johnsen at third.

Andrist advanced to third on a fielder’s choice groundout and then scored on a balk,

The Wolverines were able to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Johnsen walked for the third time in the game, moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrist and scored on a single by Jakob Voss to shallow right.

Sawinski, who was nearly perfect after the first, tossed the first seven innings, but threw 94 pitches, eliminating him from pitching the rest of the game.

Crivitz reliever Karsten Olson walked Blagec and committed an error on an overthrow on a bunt by Dylan Lantagne, plating Blagec.

The Wolverines battled back in the eighth. Johnsen drew his fourth walk of the game, Andrist singled and Tormey drove in Johnsen with a base hit up the middle.

With runners on first and second with no outs, Hansen got a strikeout and a liner to Blagec at first, who stepped on the bag for a double play to end the inning.

“That was key for us and gave us confidence going into the ninth,” Neveau said. “I’m so proud of how we battled and never gave up. Two really good teams facing off until the end.”

Hansen, who started the game and pitched the first two innings, came on in relief in the eighth and closed the game out to earn the victory.

In total, Hansen allowed two runs on three hits with four strikeouts for Niagara (5-0 overall, 4-0 in the M&O Conference). Jacob Bousley relieved Hansen the first time and gave up just one run on one hit with a strikeout.

Werner took the loss for Crivitz (7-3 overall, 3-2 in the M&O), surrending one run on two hits with one punchout. Sawinski allowed just the three runs in seven innings with 11 K’s and five hits allowed.

“We wasted a good pitching performance by Tommy and overall, our pitchers wiggled their way out of some jams,” said Dorschner. “Our 3-6 hitters struggled today, but our bottom of the order hit well so we just need the other guys to step up. If you’re a fan of baseball, this was a good game to be it, but it’s tough to be on the losing end.”

WP — Anthony Hansen 4IP, 2R, 2ER, 3H, 4K, 5W

LP — Jaden Werner 1IP, 1R, 1ER, 2H, 1K, 1W

Leading hitters (Niagara): Landon Kaldor 4x5; Ethan Blagec 1x2, 2B; (Crivitz): Dawson Andrist 2x3, 2B; Aaron Tormay 2x4; Charlie Johnsen 4W

Niagara 300 000 011 — 5

Crivitz 100 101 010 — 4