The Waupaca Lakemen will head into the BABA playoffs as one of four teams with a No. 1 seed, but their first-round opponent for Sunday, Aug. 14, had not been determined as of press time.
Playoff pairings in all four divisions – South-Central, West, East and North – will be posted on the County Post West web site, www.waupaca.com, later this week. First-round games are set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, with division finals slated for Sunday, Aug. 21. Waupaca will host the fourth-seeded team Sunday in the South-Central semifinals, while New London, which wrapped up the No. 2 seed, with host the No. 3 seed at Hatten Park.
Play-in games to determine the remaining playoff spots will be played early this week.
Waupaca improved to 20-7 on the season and 12-2 in league play by winning two out of its final three regular-season games. The Lakemen handed Lanark a 13-3 defeat Sunday, Aug. 7, as part of a Scandinavia Corn Roast doubleheader and also fell to Hortonville 5-0 while beating Elderon 13-0.
Waupaca 13, Rosholt 3
SCANDINAVIA – The Lakemen wasted little time in grabbing a nice lead, as Jeff Riddle led off the top of the first inning by getting hit with a pitch. Rocky Mondello smashed a groundball that ended up hitting Riddle in the foot on his way to second for an out, while Mondello was credited with a single. Luke Behm singled and Jason Wanty was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cam Nicewander had a fielder’s choice groundout that allowed a run to score and David Yeska walked before designated hitter Andy Wanty drove cleared the bases with a three-run single to right field to give Waupaca a 4-0 lead.
The Lakemen added a run in the second, as Riddle again led off by getting hit by a pitch. He moved to third on Mondello’s hit and scored on Behm’s double-play grounder.
Rosholt got out of the third inning without allowing a run, as the Renegades pulled off another ground ball double play. Lakemen starter Zac Peterson worked the first three frames and allowed only one hit, a single in the third. Another runner reached on an error in the second, but that was it, as Peterson’s curve ball was especially sharp and his command was good.
Kyle Douglas and Riddle led off the Lakemen fourth with walks. Courtesy runner Nate Nelson and Riddle immediately pulled off a double steal and the Lakemen had two in scoring position with no outs. After a Mondello strikeout, Nelson got a good jump from third on Behm’s grounder to first and beat the throw to the plate to give the Lakemen a 6-0 lead. Jim Nigbor relieved Peterson in the fourth. He got the first man out before Jason Zinda singled and Dave Rogers followed with a towering home run to cut the lead to 6-2. The next batter flared a double into right center before Nigbor got a strikeout and line drive to stop the rally before pitching a spotless fifth and sixth.
Waupaca added three runs in the sixth, as Douglas led off with a single and Nelson beat the throw to second on Riddle’s grounder into the hole for a hit. Mondello lined out to center before Behm banged a double off the center field fence for an RBI and Nicewander drove in two more with a single.
The Lakemen sent a volley of pinch hitters up against the third Renegade pitcher of the day in the eighth. Tom Wanty led off with a single to right and Josh Peterson and his dad, Doug, singled to load the bases. Nicewander followed with a bases-clearing double to right center and Dean Nelson singled in the final tally of the day.
The Lakemen scored four runs on five hits by five players with a combined age of about 190.
Yeska relieved Nigbor and pitched the final three innings. He gave up a hit in the seventh and nothing in the eighth, but Rosholt got back-to-back doubles with two outs in the ninth to plate their third run.
The Lakemen outhit the Renegades 15-7. Mondello, Behm and Nicewander led Waupaca with two hits each, while Nicewander, Andy Wanty and Behm led in RBIs with six, three and two, respectively.
Hortonville 5, Waupaca 0
HORTONVILLE – The Stars’ pitching overpowered the Lakemen, as Waupaca managed only one hit over the seven-inning game, Yeska’s solid single that led off the second inning.
The Lakemen had only four other batters reach on a walk, error and strikeout on a wild pitch. Hortonville scored three times in the bottom of the first, as three consecutive hits followed a leadoff out. Another run scored on an error by the third baseman. After a strikeout, a fourth hit plated run No. 3.
Nigbor got through the second unscathed before yielding mound duties to Yeska. He was touched for two hits and two runs in the third, but both were unearned as a costly error opened the gate. He finished the game allowing only two more hits.
Waupaca 13, Elderon 0
WAUPACA – The Lakemen matched up Friday, Aug. 5, against the Whiskeyjacks, the No. 1 seed out of the BABA North Division.
Elderon’s first two batters reached on a hit and error, but that was almost all Riddle allowed through four innings. He did give up a single in the third, but no other batter reached.
Meanwhile, the Lakemen virtually put the game away with a nine-run outburst in the top of the first, as they sent 12 men to the plate. Waupaca had five hits in the inning, but a pair of walks and a pair of errors helped. RBIs came off the bats of Jason Wanty, Nicewander, Josh Peterson, Riddle and Behm.
Waupaca added a run in the third on two walks and a Behm single, while Jason Wanty walked and Behm doubled in the fifth. Yeska plated both runs with a double, while Dean Nelson drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
Behm led the Lakemen at the plate with three hits, while Josh Peterson had two while Riddle, both Wantys, Yeska and Wes Austin added one each.
After Riddle got his four innings of work in, Nelson pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts. Behm then got one inning of relief. He did give up an infield single and an error let the runner reach second, but two strikeouts and a fly out kept the shutout intact.
• Under BABA requirements, season tickets are not honored at playoff games, so all fans over high school age must pay $2. Teams use that fee to pay expenses and anything left over is divided between the two teams. That will hold true throughout the playoffs. The North, East and West divisions are doing the same thing. It takes two weekends to get one representative from each division, who then play in the BABA semifinals. The winners of the semis then play in the Grand Championship game, scheduled for Labor Day weekend.
• The Lakemen will be hurt this week, as Nate Nelson goes in for shoulder surgery. “He was unable to play defense because he could not throw effectively, but his presence was always felt on the basepaths and whenever he got a chance at the plate,” manager Dave Peterson said. “Lakemen players and fans wish him well and to have a fast recovery.”
• The Lakemen are the defending grand champions and look forward to trying to defend the crown. “However, we know that anybody in the playoffs is capable of beating us,” Peterson said. “We will have to play at the peak of the game to advance in the playoffs.”
• All fans are reminded that season tickets cannot be honored. Please be ready with your $2 when Lee Thompson and helpers pass the hat during the game. The Lakemen will probably run a six-pack raffle as well.