Temperatures soared into the high 90s in Waupaca Sunday, July 17, but that didn’t keep the Waupaca Lakemen from extending their winning streak to nine games.
Waupaca held on to first place in the BABA South-Central Division with a 6-4 win over Manawa at Lakemen Field. The team picked up two other wins during the week, including a victory Friday, July 15, over Tigerton in a rematch of last year’s BABA Grand Championship game and a forfeit win two days earlier over Clintonville after the A’s didn’t have enough players.
Waupaca 6, Manawa 4
“Players from both teams as well as fans really did the best they could to make it work,” Lakemen manager Dave Peterson said. “Many Lakemen fans and a few of the players actually spent a longer amount of time at the park, as they watched the Old Timers exhibition game that preceded the regular game. Fortunately, the Spurs and Lakemen game went relatively fast, almost exactly two hours, which is quite fast for a nine-inning game.”
Zac Peterson started on the mound for Waupaca and gave up an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Jason Steinbach reached on an errant throw from third baseman Luke Behm on a slow roller with one out. After another out, Adam Quinn grounded a single between third and short for a 1-0 lead.
The lead did not last long, however, as the Lakemen came back with two in their half of the inning. The first three batters reached on infield throwing errors, as Wes Austin, Nate Nelson and Behm reached on grounders to third, pitcher, and short that were all thrown badly to first.
“In fact, the first baseman (Adam Miller) tried to stretch and make a tag, but twice got run over, as the throws took him up the baseline directly into the oncoming runner,” Dave Peterson said.
Two popouts and a pickoff play finally ended the inning.
The Lakemen added to their lead in the third, as Austin led off with a walk, Nelson singled him to third with a line drive hit to left and Behm bounced out to score Austin. Rocky Mondello’s sacrifice fly to left scored Nelson and the Lakemen had a 4-1 lead.
Both teams’ bats were silent through the sixth inning. Only Steinbach via a walk in the third and Casey Reierson with a single in the sixth reached base for Manawa. Andy Wanty reached on an error for Waupaca in the fourth and Behm singled in the fifth. Wanty and Peterson singled in the sixth, but nobody scored.
Jim Nigbor came on to pitch for the Lakemen in the seventh. He gave up a hit to his first batter, Corey Sullivan, but got the next three in order. Steinbach tired and hit the first batters he faced in the seventh and walked Behm to load the bases with no outs. Will Marringa bounced into a forceout to drive in a run and Kyle Douglas grounded sharply to third for an inning-ending double play.
“The Spurs should be credited with not giving up even in the heat,” Dave Peterson said. “They made a rally against Nigbor, although it was helped a bit by some Lakemen defense that was not really sharp plus two unusual free passes given up by Nigbor.”
Tyler Hass led off with a clean single and Steinbach and Reierson walked to load the bases. Quinn squirted a groundball that just got between the first baseman and the bag and into very short right field for a two-run single. Sullivan then bounced into a forceout with a run scoring to make it a 5-4 game. A fly ball to right ended the inning.
Jeff Riddle, who had just made it to the game in the seventh inning due to work commitments, led off the bottom of the eighth for Waupaca. He worked the count to 2-2 off of Quinn before blasting a solo shot onto the road in left field for a 6-4 Lakemen lead. Austin added a later single in the inning, but got no further.
Another insurance run or two would have been nice, as Nigbor just snuck through the 9th. A leadoff single was followed by a foul popout. Hass then grounded to third, but the throw to second was high and pulled Austin off the base. His attempt to still get Hass at first was late, so the tying runs were on base.
Douglas made a nice stop on a pitch in the dirt to prevent the runners from moving up. That was important, as Tyler Hines had a base hit to left that loaded the bases with just one out. Nigbor bore down and got Steinbach on a called third strike and got Reierson to fly out to right to protect the victory.
Both teams ended up with seven hits. Quinn had two for Manawa and also drove in three runs. Waupaca had no one with multiple hits or RBIs.
Peterson struck out three and walked one, while Nigbor had two of each. Peterson gave up two hits and was credited with the win, while Nigbor picked up the save. Steinbach walked two, but hit three batters. Of the Lakemen’s six runs, four reached on errors, walks or being hit.
Waupaca 13, Tigerton 0
Tigerton showed up, but certainly did not bring all of their starters from a team that was in the Grand Championship game last year and is currently in first place in the BABA West Division this year.
The Lakemen took advantage of some key errors but also put up 14 hits in six innings on offense.
Marringa and David Yeska teamed up on the mound to hold the Tigers offense in check. Marringa went five innings and gave up only one single while walking two. Yeska finished with an almost perfect three innings. Only an error on a batter in the top of the seventh kept him from getting all nine batters he faced out. The game did end with that runner on base, as Braden Kaminske made a spectacular diving catch in deep left field.
The Lakemen had 15 different players get to the plate in the game. All but four had hits and those batters only had one chance.
Kaminske drove in Austin, who had walked, in the first inning and two more scored on a Wanty double.
After a scoreless second, the Lakemen sent 10 men to the plate in the third and scored five times on five hits. RBIs came off the bats of Austin, Jason Wanty, Josh Peterson, Eric Brehmer and Marringa.
The Lakemen tacked on five more runs in the sixth on only two hits. The new Tigerton pitcher was wild with four walks also spread out in the frame. Kaminske had a bases-loaded triple. Andy Wanty added another RBI, as did Dean Nelson on a groundout. Andy Wanty had three hits while the Peterson brothers (Zac and Josh) added two each.
• About 40 former players showed up to play an inning or two for the Old-Timers Game. There was some good hitting, although former great pitchers John Holly, D.J. Peterson, Keith Peterson, Rick Riddle and Chris Lavold are told they must throw “easy” so there is some action.
“What was nice is that they had good control despite not throwing at anywhere close to their normal speed,” Dave Peterson said. “There was action, as the visitor team pulled out 7-5 win in the 45-minute contest.”
Every returnee got at least one at-bat and some had more. Those who got into the batters box and put the ball in play included Emmitt Riske (84 years old), as well as Duffy Replogle and George Polly, who are not far behind. Others like Lee Thompson and J.R. Simpson made their contributions in the coaches boxes and dugout.
“There were some nice line drive hits, but the longest ball in the game came off the bat of Lavold, who just missed a home run, as he short-hopped the fence in left center for a long single,” Peterson said.
Keith Peterson probably came the farthest, as he lives in Brainerd, Minn. Several players returned from cities in Wisconsin, including Green Bay, Waukesha, Mauston, Little Chute, Fond du Lac and Appleton.
• The Lakemen played a bit short-handed against Manawa. Yeska and Ethan Dayton are on extended vacations and Riddle had to work.
• The injury bug this time hit starting right fielder Jason Wanty, who pulled an oblique muscle (near the rib cage) while batting in Friday’s game. It appears he may miss several games.
Three other players (all who work at the foundry and put in long, hot hours Saturday night) missed their alarm clocks. It got to be 1 p.m. and Kaminske, Nate Nelson and Cam Nicewander had to be called to see if they were coming. Kaminske and Nelson made it just in time for infield practice and got to start. Nicewander’s phone battery was dead and he did not make it until almost gametime.
• Another casualty Sunday was Ken Dayton. He played about an inning in the Old-Timers Game, but he too succumbed to an illness and had to leave. He was scheduled to umpire the regular game. Luckily, Dave Hintz was at home in Scandinavia and willingly got his umpire gear on and hustled to town in time for the game. Mark Rosicky took Dayton’s place behind the plate and Hintz worked the bases. Rosicky had just run a long race the day before, so those men deserve credit as well for their performance.
Wednesday, July 20, vs. Hortonville Stars.
Friday, July 22, vs. Appleton Legends. The Jackpot Raffle drawing will be held immediately after the game ends, although ticket holders do not need be present to win.
Sunday, July 24, at Lanark, 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 27, vs. Little Falls. This is Fan Appreciation Night, with prizes being won by those who come and purchase 50-cent tickets. Admission is also free.
Friday, July 29, vs. Omro.