Tyler Goggins’ home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Waupaca a 4-2 BABA South-Central Division win June 10 over Manawa.
The game was played under hot conditions, but fortunately there were enough clouds and breeze to keep it somewhat comfortable. Those who ventured to Waupaca’s Lakemen field got to see an exciting finish.
Both starting pitchers did great jobs keeping the opponent off stride. Waupaca’ Jeff Riddle pitched a complete game for the Lakemen, but would not have pitched the 10th if the game had gone to extra innings. He gave up two earned runs on eight hits while striking out nine and walking one. His counterpart, Jason Steinbach, pitched seven innings of shutout ball. He allowed only five hits and walks and had three strikeouts. Those stats indicate a fast game and indeed it was, especially the first six innings.
Manawa scored in the second inning as Adam Quinn, Casey Reierson and Corey Sullivan singled, with Sullivan picking up the RBI. They Spurs had no other runner until Sullivan singled again with two outs in the fourth.
Steinbach helped himself to a Riddle fastball leading off the sixth and deposited it onto the road in deep left center for a solo home run that gave the Spurs a 2-0 lead. Riddle got out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the seventh. He struck out four batters in the eighth, as the second man reached on a passed ball. In the ninth, a one-out double from Ryan Langman threatened to add an insurance run, but a fly out and groundout halted it.
The Lakemen offense was not strong, but also had a couple of chances. Rocky Mondello singled in the second, but was doubled off as he was stealing when David Yeska lined out to center. Andy Wanty led off with a single in the third and Brandon McPeak grounded to short. The shortstop stepped on second for one out, but his throw to first was wild. Catcher David Sell alertly backed up the play and when McPeak rounded the base too far thinking about second, he was tagged out.
Waupaca’s Cam Nicewander led off the fourth with a single down the left field line, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was only the fourth inning and the Lakemen already had three men thrown out after reaching base. Waupaca’s best chance to score came in the seventh, as Mondello walked with one out. Yeska followed with a single and Wanty walked to load the bases. However, McPeak popped out and Ethan Dayton grounded out to really make things look bleak for the home team.
Quinn came on in relief of Steinbach and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Things happened very quickly in the bottom of the ninth, as Braden Kaminske led off with a bloop single to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Wes Austin lined out to third with Kaminske just diving back into second to avoid the double play. Yeska ripped a solid single to right with Kaminske holding at third and Will Marringa was called upon to pinch run. He moved to second and Kaminske scored on another wild pitch.
Now the pressure was on the Spurs, as the tying run was in scoring position. Wanty then delivered a bouncer up the middle that just got into center field, but easily plated Marringa. McPeak flied out to right and with Goggins was sent up to pinch hit for Dayton. He got a 2-0 pitch down the middle and blasted it over the left center field fence for an exciting, game-ending walk-off home run.