Three's not a crowd
Brookfield Central's Ausloos, Goodman, Sommerfeld on Now All-Suburban Team
Brookfield Central had a "Big Three" pitching staff this season, as good as any team in the state. When the chips were on the line, all three pitchers played key roles for the Lancers on their trip to winning the 2014 WIAA State Summer Baseball Championship.
Perhaps it was ironic, though, that the least-hyped of the three seniors — Matt Ausloos — left the biggest impression.
All three players made the 2014 Now All-Suburban Baseball Team, but only Ausloos made it as a pitcher.
Elijah Goodman made it has a utility player, because of his hitting and first-base skills, besides his pitching, while Luke Sommerfeld made it in the outfield, one of six positions that he played, because of his hitting. The fact that he was an excellent pitcher didn't hurt his case either.
"I never felt overlooked," the modest Ausloos said. "(Luke and Elijah) got more attention than I did because they throw 90 mph and are going to D1 schools. But coach (Jeff) Bigler and my teammates never overlooked me."
Here's a closer look at each of the Now Stars.
The quiet senior had the best curveball on the staff. He finished with an overall record of 9-1 with a 1.28 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) and he held teams to a .189 BA in 12 games, fanning 52 batters in 60 innings. He averaged 6.0 strikeouts, 1.7 walks and 4.6 hits per game and pitched the second no-hitter of his career this season.
But he stood out even more in the playoffs.
He worked 13 scoreless innings and allowed five hits while going 2-0, winning the regional title game and the state championship game.
First he tossed a two-hitter and defeated Kettle Moraine to win the regional. Then, in the state title game, he replaced Sommerfeld with runners on first and second with no outs and a run scored in the second inning.
Ausloos came in and got an out on a sacrifice bunt and, then made the play of the game when he grabbed a pop-up suicide squeeze bunt attempt and doubled the runner off third. Two pitches and three outs.
He ended up with the win, working six innings, allowing only three hits, one walk and fanning one hitter.
"That's what you get from Matt Ausloos every time he pitches," Bigler said. "He locates. He usually throws his breaking ball for a strike. And when he gets before hitters, he's tough to beat, because he's not going to beat himself.
"What makes Matt special is he knows who he is. He doesn't try to strike out 12 guys. He's confident on the hill."
When he wasn't pitching, he started in center field, hit .289 with a .425 on base percentage, and he was a clutch hitter, hitting .372 with runners in scoring position (RISP). He ranked second on the team with 26 runs scored.
A second-team All-State selection in the infield, a three-time All-Greater Metro Conference choice and a 2013 NOW All-Suburban selection, Goodman batted .431 with a .480 on base percentage, a .642 slugging mark and a 1.122 OPS (on base plus slugging).
He also was a clutch hitter, batting .356 with RISP. In 35 games, he had 24 runs scored and 36 RBIs. Of his 47 hits, 34 percent were for extra bases (12 doubles, one triple, three home runs). Defensively, he was a solid first baseman.
On the mound he was 5-2 with a 1.10 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 10 games with two saves. He fanned 72 batters in 51 innings, averaging 9.9 strikeouts, 3.0 walks and 4.0 hits a game.
Like Ausloos, Goodman came through in the post-season.
He was 2-0, beating Pewaukee, 6-1, in the sectional semifinal, and Plymouth, 2-1, in the state semifinal thriller. He allowed just five hits and fanned 25 in those two games.
"You could see his competitive juices bubbling to the top this year," Bigler said. "When he had to battle with runners on base, (he) would bear down and get hitters out. You could see him develop as the year went on."
Goodman felt the Lancers had the arms to make a good run at the state title.
"We weren't overconfident," he said. "But going into playoffs we knew we had the staff to give it everything we had.
"Me and Luke and Matt pitched in the playoffs, but we had five guys (pitchers) we had a lot of confidence in and knew they could get the job done if we needed them."
Sommerfeld had high praise for his teammate.
"He was a man among boys," he said, "Whether pitching or batting. He was a great teammate to have."
Goodman had particular praise for Ausloos, who didn't throw as hard as he and Sommerfeld did, but had a devastating 12-6 curveball.
"Throwing hard is overrated," he said. "All that really matters is getting batters out and he did that."
Sommerfeld could probably have made the Now All-Star Team in the infield and utility besides the outfield. He was second-team All-State in the infield, depending on which All-GMC Team you look at; he was nominated in the outfield and at utility.
When he didn't pitch he played first, third or the outfield, playing all three outfield spots during the year, which was impressive for a 6-foot-6, 240-pounder.
"I liked the corner infield positions best," Sommerfeld said. "Because I was involved in every play, it seemed like."
He batted .411 with a .514 OBP, a .689 slugging mark, a 1.203 OPS and an impressive .465 RISP, all outstanding numbers. Of his 37 hits, 38 percent were for extra bases (eight doubles, one triple, five home runs).
He slammed a mammoth three-run homer in the 6-1 sectional semifinal win over Pewaukee at Waukesha West that got the Lancers off to a fast start.
"Luke is a tremendous competitor," Bigler said. "He was someone who was something special when he took the hill. He could completely dominate the game. He made the high school level fun."
As a pitcher, he was 5-3 in 10 games with a 2.47 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and, his most impressive stat, he held teams to a .160 batting average. He allowed an average of 4.0 hits, 4.7 BB and 8.8 strikeouts per game. In 45.1 innings pitched, he fanned 57 hitters.
Having such impressive pitching depth took a lot of pressure off the starters, Sommerfeld said.
"I can't put it into words," he said. "If someone wasn't on their game, we had someone else who could come in behind you. It was unbelievable the guys we had who were able to back you up.
"We had pitchers in our back pockets. Other teams did not have that much pitching talent and depth."
All three players will play baseball at the next level. Sommerfeld will play at St. Louis University, Goodman will play at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Ausloos at Milwaukee School of Engineering.
"It felt like a second home when I toured the campus," said Sommerfeld, of St. Louis University. He also was recruited by Central Michigan, Air Force and Florida Gulf Coast.
Corey Bigler, the pitching coach at UWM and Jeff's brother, help convince Goodman to be a Panther.
"The campus is a good fit," he said.
Ausloos picked MSOE because of its engineering program and the chance to continuing playing baseball.
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