Ranger title dreams die hard
Greenwood capitalizes on walks
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 7:00 PM
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Patience at the plate is a virtue which advanced Greenwood to the state finals and ended Wausaukee's remarkable baseball season Wednesday.
Wausaukee head baseball coach Paul Moser (center) tries to keep his team upbeat between innings at the state tourney Wednesday at Fox Cities Stadium. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Greenwood defeated Wausaukee 11-1 in five innings at Fox Cities Stadium in a WIAA Division 4 state semifinal.
Beau DeLaet's pitches weren't off the plate by much, but Greenwood wasn't swinging at anything that wasn't a strike.
DeLaet cruised through a perfect first inning, then struck out Tyler Johnson to open the second. Then, Booker Bredlau fouled off a few pitches and coaxed a walk. James Hlavac and Blake Sterland walked to load the bases.
After a force play at home plate, No. 9 hitter Alexander Volovsek delivered a two-run single through the hole.
They were the first runs allowed by Wausaukee in five postseason games, and the impenetrable dam broke.
Kole Hinkers, Westin Wuethrich and Kody Learman walked to force in two more runs and chase DeLaet from the mound.
The key was that DeLaet fell behind the hitters.
"Being choosy at the plate," Greenwood coach Kent Hinker said. "When they're watching those pitches they didn't have two strikes on them."
Southpaw Cole Lewandowski relieved DeLaet for 21⁄3 innings. Before the nightmarish eight-run second inning was over, Johnson had an RBI infield single and Bredlau crushed a base-clearing triple deep to spacious center field.
"Beau struggled a little bit with the strike zone," Wausaukee coach Paul Moser said. "You've got to adjust to the ump. We're not blaming anything on that. We didn't throw strikes today."
The Indians added two more runs in the third on two walks, an error, Wuethrich's RBI single and Learman's RBI ground-out.
"Our defense was a little sloppy at times today," according to Moser. "It seemed like every ground ball we bobbled a little bit."
Greenwood started the hard-throwing Wuethrich on the mound. After he overpowered the Rangers in the bottom of the first and Greenwood built its 8-0 lead, Hlavac came on in relief to save Wuethrich for today's 9 a.m. championship game against Lake Country Lutheran.
"It couldn't get any better than that," the Greenwood coach said of his best-case scenario. "The lefty you saw (Hlavac), he's a great pitcher. I wasn't afraid to take him in tomorrow, but the scenario worked best today."
Hinker said he would have taken Wuethrich off the mound with a four- or five-run lead.
Hlavac came at the Rangers with a variety of arm motions, speeds and pitches. He pitched well but the Rangers had him in a bind in the third. Dillon Myers crushed a shot to the wall in left for a leadoff double. Conner Kempinski delivered a base hit to left, and Eddy Self walked to load the bases. DeLaet then lined an RBI single to left.
But Hlavac worked out of the bases loaded, no-out jam with two strikeouts and a popout.
"That was our chance," Moser said. "The guys were still up at that point. To only get one run, that will deflate you. I have to give credit - they have some very good pitchers on that team."
Volovsek doubled and scored on a passed ball to put the Indians up 11-1 in the fifth. The Rangers went down in order, and the 10-run rule went into effect.
"Maybe a little but of the nerves got to us," Lewandowski said. "Some of the guys were a little nervous this morning. It was tough to leave the bases loaded like that, but we felt like we had to keep fighting."
Lewandowski did his job on the mound, Moser said. The senior allowed two earned runs with two strikeouts and two walks in 21⁄3 innings in relief. Aaron Schlies got the final three outs in the fifth.
It was the final game for Ranger seniors Zach Struve, Michael Wojnicki, Lewandowski, Tyler Parr, Meyers and Zach Kowalski.
"The seniors, they kept everybody together," Moser said. "Our seniors, they're the heart and soul of our team."
Wausaukee finished the season 15-7.
"The run in the postseason, the fan support we have is unbelievable," Lewandowski said.
WP - James Hlavac 4 IP, 1R, 4H, 1W, 4K
LP - Beau DeLaet 12⁄3 IP, 7R, 7ER, 1H, 6W, 1K
Leading hitters (Wausaukee): Dillon Meyers 1x2, 2B; DeLaet 1x2, RBI; Conner Kempinski 1x1; Russell Smith 1x2; (Greenwood): Booker Bredlau 2x2, 3B, 3 RBIs; Alexander Volovsek 2x3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Westin Wuethrich 1x2, 2 RBIs
Greenwood 082 01 - 11
Wausaukee 001 00 - 1