Brookfield Bulldogs manager Jason Booth is crediting his team with a better mental approach going into the Land O' Lakes Grand Championship playoffs this year. After the first weekend, it looks like it's working.
The Brookfield Bulldogs beat East Troy, 5-2, Sunday at McCoy Field and remained the only unbeaten team in the double elimination Land O' Lakes Grand Championship series. On Saturday at McCoy Field they crushed West Allis, 16-0.
Cedarburg (1-1), who beat East Troy, 11-5, Saturday, lost to West Allis, 4-3, Sunday. The Mercs then won a coin flip to host the Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday at Behling Field. West Allis (1-1) gets a bye and will face Brookfield/Cedarburg on Sunday or Monday.
A Bulldogs win Saturday would eliminate Cedarburg, and Brookfield would host West Allis on Sunday at McCoy with a chance to win the championship. However, if Cedarburg beats the Bulldogs, all three teams will have one loss. Cedarburg and Brookfield would then flip a coin, with the winner having the choice of playing West Allis on Sunday or Monday. The loser of the coin flip is off until next week.
"It all starts with mentality," Booth said. "Our makeup of this team this year is different compared to 2008 (the first time the Bulldogs made it). I think back then we were hoping to survive, whereas this year we want to eliminate teams. It's just great team chemistry."
After crushing West Allis on Saturday, Booth felt it was important to not have a letdown against East Troy.
"Not having an emotional letdown was key," Booth said. "We talked to the guys before the game. One of the big things is getting out early - playing small ball when we need to, trying to be aggressive, take extra bases when we need to.
"Today more than anything was more of a mental thing. We had to stay focused. We knew we were the better team. We knew we had the talent. But you have to go out there and play like that because it's determined on the field."
On Sunday, the Bulldogs trailed 1-0 when they scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead for good.
Jeff Lueck singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Mike Mierow's single to center, Mierow taking second on the throw home. Brandon Reddinger then doubled to left, scoring Mierow, and moved to third on Mike Jacobs' ground out catcher to first. Andy Monigal then singled in Reddinger for the 3-1 lead.
After East Troy scored their second unearned run of the game in the fourth, Reddinger had an inside-the-park homer when Express centerfielder Justin Keagan dove for the ball and missed it.
Veteran Ernest Castro drilled a homer to right field for the final run to lead off the sixth inning.
Greg Basthemer scattered 10 hits, walked two, hit a batter and fanned two, and allowed two unearned runs. Mark Erickson allowed a two-out double and a walk, but fanned Matt Lang to get the save.
Playing West Allis
The Bulldogs used four home runs - two each from Scott Booth and Lueck - to crush the West Allis Nighthawks, 16-0, Saturday afternoon at McCoy Field.
Leading 2-0 through three innings, Brookfield exploded for nine runs in the fourth inning, as Lueck led the inning off with a solo homer and then eight hitters slammed a three-run homer.
"Jeff Leuck comes over from Menomonee Falls," Booth said of the veteran third baseman, "and he has been an unbelievable leader. People wondered, what is the new player like? He put the fears to rest right away."
Scott Booth homered in the third, had an RBI-single in the fifth and slammed a lead-off homer in the seventh to spark a 16-hit attack.
Fiery shortstop Jason Rutz singled, doubled and tripled, walked and scored twice. Kris Franzen had two singles and two RBIS; Castro singled, had a sacrifice fly and walked three times; Jacobs singled twice, scored three times and drove in a run; and Monigal singled twice, scored twice and drove in a run.
Josh Eidt pitched a complete game victory, striking out seven, allowing three hits, walking two and hitting a batter.
West Allis, which could not find a field to play on, played at McCoy Field and was the home team.
"Our team pitching, it all starts there," Jason Booth said. "We've been producing runs like you wouldn't believe. We have three of the top pitchers in all the Land O' Lakes; what's that, 44 teams.
"It showed the last two games with Josh, Greg and Mark."
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