The New Berlin Lakers and Brookfield Bulldogs each won division tournament championship games last weekend to qualify for the Grand Championships in Land O' Lakes baseball.
Brookfield played once last week and downed rival Pewaukee, 14-9, Sunday to claim the Western Division title.
"We've got a group of guys who love to go to battle with their teammates, and we're having another season of great team chemistry," Bulldogs coach Jason Booth said. "They have a blast playing baseball together."
Brookfield visits Rome at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and goes back to McCoy Field to take on Cedarburg at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The Bulldogs won last year's Grand Championships over Cedarburg.
Booth had high hopes to return to the Grand Championships round again after winning the 2011 title.
"Expectations were certainly high as we entered this season with the goal of defending last year's Grand Championship Title.
"We've gotten ourselves in a position to achieve that goal by getting back to the championships. We just have to stay focused, play our best ball and have a lot of fun along the way.
"Despite the loss of 116 innings of pitching from last year's championship team with the loss of Josh Eidt and Mark Erickson, Greg Basthemer and Josh Lemke stepped up and kept us in ball games all season long. Our offense leading the league in hitting certainly provided a boost as well."
Booth then credited some of the new blood on this year's team.
"I can't say enough about how much the younger guys have contributed to our success," he said. "Ryan Hinz, Mike Mierow, Nick Kanavas and Dan Barwick - I keep having to remind myself how young they are. They sure play like veterans and have tons of confidence."
Brookfield 14, Pewaukee 9
The Bulldogs had plenty of hitting stars.
Ernest Castro continued to prove that time and age are not factors, as he went 2-for-5 with a walk and four RBIs in the win over Pewaukee. Scott Booth was just as good, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and three RBIs. Mike Jacobs was 2-for-3, Barwick, 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, Kris Franzen was 2-for-5, Kanavas finished 2-for-5 and Jeff Lueck was 2-for-6.
Lemke got the start for the Bulldogs and came out pounding the strike zone and holding the Muskies at bay for 3 1/3 innings. Lueck pitched the next 3 2/3 innings and got the win for Brookfield.
Basthemer slammed the door on Pewaukee for the final two innings.
- Tom "Sky" Skibosh
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