Lancers end season with difficult WIAA regional loss to Mukwonago
Big early lead goes to naught
Riding a five-run, two-out rally in the sixth and capping the day with a walk-off base hit, the Mukwonago baseball team rallied from the brink to stun Brookfield Central in the opening round of the WIAA baseball playoffs on July 10, 7-6.
Senior captain Jake Scheibe led off the seventh with a double, Chris Schiferl sacrificed Scheibe over and reached first base on an error, and Austin Bricco's shot down the right field line sent the Indians home happy.
"It was one of the most exciting games I've been a part of in a while," Mukwonago coach John Strohbusch said.
Mukwonago (13-16) advanced to a WIAA regional final against Pius XI on Friday while Central saw its season come to a frustrating conclusion at 11-20, including losses in its last three games.
"That whole season came down to that sixth inning," said Lancers coach Jeff Bigler, "and we had plenty of chances to stop it. We block the plate in one situation, or make a play at short in another or come up with a ball that scoots right by us.
"So many different ways we could have gotten it done, but didn't."
Mukwonago was on pace to suffer a rough loss, allowing six runs on just two hits. The Lancers plated four unearned runs in the second, and though Indians starter J.J. Crawford finished the frame with four strikeouts (and one reaching on a wild pitch), walks and a key error put Central in command.
"Even though his line is not great, (Crawford) is the guy that really kept us in the ball game," Strohbusch said. "Things really could have gotten ugly in that first inning. He's not really a strikeout pitcher, he's more of a finesse guy … we held one of the best hitting teams in the area to two hits. Unfortunately, with some bad defense, we got behind the eight ball early on."
But the Indians atoned with a two-out rally in the sixth. Devan Ott's two-run double to right center was the centerpiece of the five-run outburst and tied the score heading into the seventh.
Reliever Dan Timmers worked into immediate trouble, loading the bases with nobody out and without the benefit of a hit. But Timmers worked out of the jam and allowed the Indians to win the game in the bottom half.
"We had bases loaded and one out (in the seventh), but we missed on a squeeze play and the runner (from third) got hung up," said Bigler, "but we had only two hits. It was a tough way to lose, excruciating."
"It was a circus, but we got out of it," Strohbusch said. "Dan Timmers is a competitor, and that's what it comes down to."
Elijah Goodman hit a home run and scored twice for Central. He also worked six innings on the hill with seven strikeouts and four walks.
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