Three teams are tied for first in the BABA South-Central Division standings.
The Waupaca Lakemen headed into the weekend with a 4-1 record and a one-game lead on Scandinavia, Manawa, New London and Rosholt.
The Lakemen fell to Plover 4-2 Sunday, June 12, and are now tied for the division lead with Scandinavia and Rosholt.
Waupaca also dropped a 2-1 decision to the Appleton Legends.
Plover 4, Waupaca 2
Plover came to town with its ace pitcher nursing an elbow injury. Backup Matt Simonson ended up going the distance and earning the win, as the tall righthander walked four and struck out six.
Jeff Riddle also went the distance without giving up a walk while striking out four.
“We had been winning with a combination of good pitching and defense with just enough hitting to pick up wins,” manager Dave Peterson said. “In this outing, the defense was not sharp, as we committed three errors and two of those came in a costly third inning. Possibly just as important was the lack of clutch hitting.”
Both teams had seven hits and three errors in the game. Plover came through once in a big way, while Waupaca got a couple of clutch hits.
“We stranded 11 men in the game, but that number is magnified when seven of those were in scoring position on second or third base,” Peterson said.
Three of Plover’s five stranded runners were in scoring position.
The Lakemen turned a double play to quickly end the first inning and put runners at the corners with one out, as Jason Wanty walked, stole second and moved to third on a Luke Behm single. Andy Wanty then bounced into a double play as the Pterodactyls returned the favor.
Plover went 1-2-3 in the second. The Lakemen had two runners reach on errors in their half of the second after an out, but two fly balls prevented any scoring.
Riddle retired the first two batters in the third before Derek Lemmens singled. Brad Archambeau bounced a grounder to short, but it got through his legs for an error. Shane Standifer reached on an error at third as one run scored and John Jasenovsky lined a double off of the fence in left center that plated two and made the score 3-0.
Waupaca responded immediately, as Jason Wanty singled with one out. Behm reached on a force out after Simonson snagged his hot shot up the middle. Andy Wanty walked before Braden Kaminske lined a double into the left field corner to cut Plover’s lead to 3-1. Simonson then got David Yeska on strikes to prevent further damage.
Neither team got a man on in the fourth, but Simonson led off the fifth with a single. He was sac bunted to second, but Riddle got the next batters to end the threat.
Jason Wanty walked for Waupaca’s only baserunner in the fifth and Jasenovsky led off the sixth with a towering home run over the road (and two Lakemen tailgaters in the lawn at the house beyond the left field fence) to give Plover a 4-1 lead. That was about it for the Plover offense, as the Pterodactyls only had one more runner via an error and another on a hit in the ninth.
That meant it was up to the Lakemen offense. They came close in each of the last three frames, but never got over the hump. Nate Nelson doubled off the center field fence with one out in the seventh and Jason Wanty drove him in with a two-out single. Behm walked, but Andy Wanty flew out to left to end that inning with a 4-2 Plover lead.
Yeska doubled off of the fence in right with one out in the eighth. Cam Nicewander then hit a popup into short center field, but Standifer made an amazing over-the-shoulder back-handed catch at second to rob Nicewander of a hit and possible RBI. Rocky Mondello then flew out in a pinch-hitting role.
Nelson led off the Waupaca ninth with a bunt single and reached second as the throw got by the first baseman. Pinch hitter Casey McDaniel struck out, Jason Wanty bounced sharply to first and Behm’s soft line drive was caught at the shoetops by shortstop Tyler Benzinger to end the game.
Nelson and Jason Wanty led Waupaca with two hits each, while Jasenovsky and Simonson had two each for Plover.
Appleton 2, Waupaca 1
APPLETON – The Appleton game featured a dominating performance by a pair of pitchers for Appleton, as B.J. Chase and Luke Watson stymied Lakemen hitters by holding them to only six hits in the seven-inning game. Five of those hits came in the last two innings.
The major factor was that they combined to strike out an amazing 17 batters with only 21 total outs. Chase did most of the damage with 13 strikeouts in his five innings of work. He also allowed only one hit, Behm’s clean single to right in the fourth. Yeska was later hit by a pitch in the same inning, but the last two hitters struck out.
In the top of the sixth, Yeska and Nicewander had back-to-back singles with one out. Yeska actually reached third on a throwing error by the rightfielder on Nicewander’s hit, but was thrown out at the plate as Will Marringa grounded to the shortstop. A strikeout also ended that inning.
Riddle started and allowed a hit batter in his two innings of work. Marringa followed and although he gave up baserunners in every frame, kept Appleton off the board until the bottom of the sixth. Appleton got a leadoff solo home run from Drew Eichstaedt, who also is the starting shortstop for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team. Marringa then walked a batter and hit two more to load the bases. He had injured his leg sometime in the inning, but tried to make it through. Yeska came on with the bases loaded and got a popout to end it with the Lakemen only trailing by a run.
The first two Lakemen batters struck out in the seventh, but Jason Wanty and Behm singled to set the stage. Andy Wanty followed suit with a line single to center to tie the game. Yeska hit a hard groundball to the hole at short, but it was fielded and turned into a forceout. The leadoff Legends batter reached off of Yeska in the bottom of the inning and was picked off on a nice move. The designated hitter then doubled to the gap in right center. After an intentional walk to Eichstaedt, the next batter flew out. The game came to a sudden end when the following hitter hit a soft fly into short center for a game-winning single.
The Lakemen outhit the Legends by one, but only Behm (with two) had more than one hit on either team. Watson got the win and Yeska took the hard-luck loss.
Today (Thursday, June 16): vs. Menasha Macs, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 19: vs. Rosholt Renegades, 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 22: at Clintonville A’s, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 24: vs. Freedom Mets.