The Bulldogs opened the Grand Championship playoffs by rolling over Rome, 9-2, on Saturday on the road behind the pitching of Greg Basthemer.
The Bulldogs got nine strong innings from Basthemer, who gave up just one earned run on eight hits while striking out six and walking four.
"Basthemer came through for us when we needed him most," manager Jason Booth said. "We're lacking in pitching depth this season and for him to be able to throw a complete game really gave our team a boost."
Ernest Castro and Kris Franzen led Brookfield's 12-hit attack. Castro was 3-for-4 with two homers, a walk and four RBIs. He was also robbed of a third homer with a leaping catch of a ball over the right field fence. Franzen was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
"What can I say about Castro and Franzen?" Booth said. "They always seem to raise their level of play each postseason and provide us with big-time production at the plate. Seven hits, three home runs and seven RBIs between the two of them. Doesn't get any better than that."
Jason Rutz was 2-for-4 with a triple and Nick Kanavas was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and an RBI. Andy Monigal was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.
Rome plays at New Berlin at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 1. If Rome beats New Berlin, the Bulldogs are off Sunday and Rome will play at Cedarburg. If New Berlin beats Rome, the Bulldogs will play New Berlin on Sunday. Game location will be determined at a coin flip meeting.
After getting rained out against Cedarburg on Sunday, the Bulldogs will host the Mercs at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 1.
"This is the game that everyone's been waiting for," Booth said. "The rematch from last season's Championship Game. We know they're bringing a huge fan base from Cedarburg. We're hoping our Brookfield fans show up in big numbers to help support us."
The Mercs are a veteran team that hasn't lost a game all season.
"We'll need to be sharp in all aspects of the game to beat them," Booth said. "We know they'll be highly motivated to exact revenge after last season's loss."
Booth and the Bulldogs are excited to be in the postseason.
"This is what any competitive athlete dreams of," Booth said. "To play on the big stage against the best teams. We're having such a great time playing ball and sharing our success with one another. When you're still playing baseball in September, you know you're part of something special."
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