The Waupaca Lakemen rode the right arms of their pitching staff to 9-0 victory Sunday, May 13, over Scandinavia in the BABA South-Central Division opener for both teams.
In reality, the game was much closer than the final score indicated, as the Lakemen pushed across five runs in the top of the ninth inning to open up a much tighter game.
Jeff Riddle worked the first five innings on the mound for Waupaca, while Jim Nigbor pitched the final four innings for the save. They combined to strike out 15 (Riddle with nine and Nigbor with six) and didn’t walk a batter. In fact, only three Vikings reached base with singles (one off of Riddle and two off of Nigbor).
The Lakemen played errorless ball while making a couple of great plays. The Vikings got a great game defensively from shortstop Willie Rosenthal, who had at least nine assists. However, the Scandinavia defense did crack to the tune of five errors that led to four unearned runs.
The game opened with Riddle reaching first on a tough-play throwing error. He stole second, but the throw got into short center. He scrambled to his feet and headed for third. The throw there was late and high, as the ball rolled to the fence with Riddle scoring.
The Lakemen had a 1-0 after one batter without a hit and after three errors.
In the Viking half of the first, Jason Berrens singled cleanly to center with two outs, but he would be the only batter to reach against Riddle. Riddle struck out the side in the second and fifth innings against the same three hitters. He got a bit lucky in the third after Aaron Borth and R.J. Rosenthal hit line drives directly at second baseman Wes Austin, who made the catches easily.
The Lakemen added to their lead in the third, as Riddle was nicked by a pitch with one out. He was forced at second on a Jason Wanty groundball. Wanty scored easily from second on a line double to the gap in right center by Luke Behm. Braden Kaminske followed with a double over the head of the left fielder to plate Behm and the Lakemen led 3-0.
Austin doubled in the fourth, but was stranded. The Lakemen got a two-out single from Rocky Mondello in the fifth, but the Vikings fumbled the chance for a forceout on a David Yeska groundball. Andy Wanty came through with a two-out single to center to plate the fourth run.
R.J. Rosenthal pitched through the sixth before being replaced by Dave Candra. Candra gave up harmless singles in the seventh and eighth innings before running into the ninth-inning jam.
Meanwhile, Nigbor gave up a solid single to Borth, the first man he faced. After a sacrifice bunt, he got a strikeout and ground out to end the frame. He was helped in the seventh by his defense, as Berrens led off with a hot shot at Behm. The ball bounced off his glove at first base toward second baseman Tyler Goggins, who alertly scooped it and tossed to Nigbor for the out. Jesse Dickert then lined one that appeared headed to right for a hit, but a leaping catch by Goggins snuffed him out. Candra had a harmless single in the eighth with one out, but again advanced no farther.
Waupaca’s five-run ninth came on there hits, three walks and an error. The inning started with a single from Kaminske and a walk to Kyle Douglas. A sac bunt was thrown away as one run scored. Brandon McPeak walked to load the bases in front of a Nigbor double to right that plated two more. The final two were driven in by another single from Behm.
Kaminske, Mondello, Behm and Nigbor each had two hits for Waupaca. Behm had three RBIs and Nigbor added two.
This next week, the Lakemen will play two of the other three teams that had 1-0 records after week No. 1. Waupaca will travel to Weyauwega Sunday, May 20, to meet the Weymont White Bass at 1:30 p.m. Weymont’s field is located at Weyauwega-Fremont High School and are reminded that no alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Waupaca will then host Lanark at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, in a game that was rained out May 6.
Lakemen fans are reminded to get their season tickets either from a player or at the concession stand to help them save money as the 2012 season moves along.