The days of retired coach Mark Rohde and the mad-bombing, three-run home run hitting state champions of 2000 are long, long in the past for the Brookfield Central baseball team.
So current Lancer coach Jeff Bigler could only chuckle as he thought about the two bunts, the two sacrifice flies and the perfectly-executed hit-and-run in the fifth inning that accounted for all the runs in a tightly-played well-executed 2-0 win over host Menomonee Falls Tuesday night.
"We got those bunts down and we moved some runners around and we got the job done," said Bigler. "We needed to do that, because they didn't give us anything. That's a great ballclub (Falls), well-worthy of a number one seed (WIAA sectional seed)."
And thoughts of WIAA tournament play July 19 and 22 were well on the minds of both Bigler and Falls coach Pat Hansen as both are in the same sectional and the seeding meeting is Wednesday.
Falls is a candidate for a number one seed with a 12-6 GMC and 16-8 overall record while Central is fighting for a first-round home game at 8-9 and 13-9, respectively.
"As I told the kids (after the game) these are the types of games we'll be playing a couple of weeks from now," Hansen said. "Our pitching and our defense were just fine. We just need to get some work done on offense."
It was the second time in a week that the Indians were shut out. Cole Borek and Muskego did that job 1-0, in a game that had been suspended by rain and was completed last Friday.
It was senior Lancer senior Ryan Hinz who stymied the Indians this night. He got into some serious jams in the first two innings, as Falls loaded the bases in the first and put two men on in the second.
Each time, however, Hinz who allowed just five hits with four strikeouts and four walks, induced hard choppers to third baseman Brad Leachy to end the inning.
"We really had him on the ropes," said Hansen. "We worked the at bats and got people on. I think he (Hinz) must have had close to 60 pitches in those first two innings alone, but whenever we got close, boom, we couldn't get the big hit."
That became even more evident in the fifth, when Falls leadoff hitter Joel Zyhowski hit a triple to the right-centerfield gap.
Hinz bore down again and got a chopper back to himself, a pop-up to the first baseman and after a two-out walk, took a pop-up to himself to end the inning.
"Ryan is a kid who has been through the wars for four years now," said Bigler. "A few walks and a few baserunners are not going to get him rattled or force him to make a mistake. He made the pitches when he needed too and got us out of trouble."
And the Lancers gave him all the support he needed in the top of the frame. With the bottom of the order coming up, Central picked a perfect time to lay down some excellent small-ball execution.
Eight-spot hitter Jack Lawton laid down a perfect bunt between Falls pitcher Troy Kenkel and first base to get on to start the inning. He was followed by nine-hole batter Collin Dempsey who laid down another bunt that hugged the first base line carefully and left the Lancers with two men on and none out.
Lawton then dashed to third on a sacrifice fly by infielder Billy Calawerts, just barely beating the throw. That became important as catcher Collin O'Gorman launched a deep pop fly to right. The Indians rightfielder caught it made a good relay and just narrowly missed getting Lawton at the plate.
Lawton was so dusty after his two successful head-first slides that a parent in the crowd chuckled and said he looked like "Pig-Pen" in the Peanuts cartoons.
Danny Barwick then gave the Lancers some badly needed insurance when, with Dempsey on the move in a hit-rand-run situation, he ripped a ball deep into the right-centerfield gap. Dempsey scored easily and Central had an insurmountable lead.
"Getting that second run was huge," said Bigler. "Sometimes in a game like that, a two-run lead can seem like a four-run advantage."
And Hinz made that point valid, putting down six of the last seven batters in order, giving up only a harmless two-out walk in the seventh. He wound up striking out two in the seventh and getting an easy groundout to Calawerts at second to end the game.
Falls starter Kenkel wound up with seven strikeouts and three walks.
"It was just a well-played game," said Bigler. "One we'll happily take."
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