Brookfield East goes 3-0 in GMC tournament
Finishes with 12-8 win over co-champion Knights
Brookfield East closed out the Greater Metro Conference Tournament on a high note, defeating co-champion Oak Creek on July 10, 12-8, at Brookfield Central.
The win gave the Spartans, playing in the consolation round of the tournament because of their last place finish in the regular season, a perfect 3-0 record in the tourney.
First-year coach Nicholas Wycklendt had a big smile on his face after the final victory.
"Oh, it's perfect timing," he said. "I've told them all year long, we've just got to keep battling, keep believing in themselves and eventually the ball is going to fall.
"Those hits that were going right at somebody were going to start falling in. The pitchers and defense were going to make plays. It's great momentum going into next week.
"To finish out the GMC season 3-0 against one of best teams in state and co-conference champion is fantastic."
East gave starter Dustin Brah a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Dan Magyar walked; Brad Carstens sacrificed him to second but reached first on the catcher's throw into the outfield trying to get courtesy runner Nick Davies at second. Davies then moved on to third.
Carstens then stole second, and after two pop-up outs to second, red-hot Andrew Holmes drilled a two-run single to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
But the Knights came back with three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead on Doran Turchin's sacrifice fly and Mitch Hart's two-run homer.
The Spartans then took control of the game in the third, scoring seven runs for a 9-3 lead. Highlights included two Oak Creek errors, three walks, a single by Carstens and two hits by Zach Breider — a single and a three-run double.
Brah walked in a run in the bottom of the inning, but East countered when Brah led off with a single, went to second on a ground out and, after a short fly out to right, scored when T.C. Swittel ripped an RBI double to right field.
Back-to-back doubles by Matt Hargreaves and Turchin made the score 10-5 in the bottom of the inning.
But the Spartans got the run back in the fifth after two were outs. Holmes reached on the shortstop's error, stole second and scored on Brah's single to left field for an 11-5 lead.
East added a run in the sixth when Jake Pagel led off with a single, moved to second on Swittel's ground out and scored on an error by the shortstop.
But Brah tired out in the eighth, allowing three singles and a two-run double by Turchin, leaving runners on second and third. Alex McGuire then came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jesse Sustacheck and got Josh Duchniak to ground out to second to end the inning.
He then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to preserve the 12-8 win.
"He's doing a really good job," Brah said of his teammate. "He's stepping up. We really needed him this year. He's doing a good job throwing strikes."
Brah battled through 51/3innings, scattering 11 hits, walking two and fanning one.
"We played them twice, and they've always hit the ball," Brah said. "But I've been feeling good warming up, and I felt today was going to be a good day. I hit my spots, but they still hit the ball on me pretty well."
Brah had a good day at the plate also, with three singles and two RBIs.
"I've been hitting the ball real well," he said. "I've been in a slump lately, but coming in yesterday and today, I was seeing the ball well, and I feel comfortable with my swing."
Wycklendt was happy when the Spartans kept coming back and answering each Oak Creek threat.
"That's exactly what we've talked about all year long," he said. "We got the lead, gave it back. But we battled back and got the big seven-run inning. It's been a tribute to them to keep it up."
He has seen a different team since a meeting during the Fourth of July break.
"Since we came out of the break," he said, "I see guys who are hungry, with a different attitude, playing together; it's a big team effort."
The Spartans played Catholic Memorial at Infinity Field on Tuesday night, July 15. If they won that game, they would advance to play the winner of Mukwonago/Wauwatosa East at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 18.
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