Eight teams – including the Waupaca Lakemen and Little Falls Loggers – remain in the hunt for a BABA Grand Championship.
Waupaca opened the South-Central Division playoffs Aug. 12 with a 7-4 win over New London, while Little Falls headed to Tigerton for an East Division matchup and returned home with a 10-8 win.
Waupaca will play at Plover in the division finals Sunday, Aug. 19, with the Loggers will head to Leopolis. First pitch for both games is set for 1:30 p.m.
Waupaca 7, New London 4
WAUPACA – The Lakemen overcame a shaky start, but righted themselves in time to pull out a win over the Merchants, who defeated Waupaca twice during the regular season.
Braden Kaminske started on the mound for the Lakemen. Joe Sambs led off the game and hit a soft line drive heading toward center field. Shortstop Andy Wanty reached for the ball, but it dropped off the end of his glove for an error. Nate Krake then smashed a shot to left field and New London had the first two batters of the game on base.
A theme in the game was the sacrifice bunt and New London’s Andy Brooker laid down the first one to advance both runners. Kaminske then snapped a low curve ball that got by catcher Kyle Douglas for a passed ball and the Merchants had the lead. Eric Rasmussen looped a fly ball to David Yeska in left field and his throw home held the runner at third. Kaminske then spiked a curve ball that went as a wild pitch with Krake scoring run No. 2.
Jason Wanty led off the Lakemen first with a line single and went to second on a Wes Austin bunt. Luke Behm then smashed one to deep right center field that looked to be a sure double if not a home run, but center fielder Matt Bruette made a great running catch. Kaminske followed by smashing a ground ball that was gobbled up by third baseman Lance Poppy to end the inning.
Douglas led off for the Lakemen in the third by bouncing to Sambs at shortstop, whose throw to first was low and got by Gary Herzfeldt to the fence, as Douglas ended up at second. Austin worked Rasmussen for a walk. Behm followed with a double to the right field corner to make it 2-1. Kaminske singled to tie the game and Jim Nighbor drove one to deep right, but Behm tagged up and easily scored the go-ahead run.
Rasmussen singled with one out in the fourth. Kaminske then struck out Jim Thorpe, but he reached first on a wild pitch as the ball got back to the screen. He got out of the mess by inducing a groundout to second.
New London’s Mitch Rusch blasted a double over the head of Jason Wanty with one out in the fifth. Kaminske got a groundout for the second out, but Krake bounced one toward third that Behm misplayed for an error as the tying run scored.
Brooker then smashed a line drive over the head of Yeska, but he recovered in time to make a good throw to hold runners at second and third. Kaminske then got what may have been the key out of the game when Rasmussen grounded out to Austin at second.
The Lakemen wasted no time in regaining the lead, as Behm led off the fifth with a line single. Kaminske missed a bunt sign, but swung away and bounced a hit over the head of Poppy. Nighbor then sac bunted both runners into scoring position. Yeska flew out to short left for out No. 2, but Rocky Mondello blooped a base hit over Poppy’s head as Behm and courtesy runner Nate Nelson scored easily to give Waupaca a 5-3 lead. Andy Wanty was hit by a pitch, but pinch hitter Josh Peterson flew out to end the inning.
Neither team scored in the sixth inning. Austin reached, but got caught on a pickoff when he broke a bit too early trying to steal.
New London went in order in the seventh, but Behm made a sparkling stop on a ball to his left and got up in time to throw out Sambs for the third out. Waupaca then got two huge insurance runs off of Brooker in the seventh. Kaminske led off with a walk and Nighbor again laid down a perfect sac bunt. Yeska walked before Mondello singled to drive in courtesy runner Seth Deuman, with Yeska reaching third. Andy Wanty then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, which goes as a sacrifice bunt in the scorebook, to drive in the sliding Yeska with run No. 7.
Krake led off the top of the eighth with a single that was ruled a fair ball down the left field line. He had moved to second and scored on Poppy’s single to center field. A groundout to short ended the inning.
Two pinch hitters led off the New London ninth, but both were victims of Kaminske strikeouts. It looked like the Lakemen had the game in the bag when Kyle Prey bounced to Andy Wanty at short. However, he misplayed the ball for an error. When Sambs followed with a single, the dangerous Krake was up as the tying run. After a short battle, Krake flew out to right field and the Lakemen could enjoy a playoff win.
Kaminske didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. The Lakemen did commit the three costly errors, with only one of New London’s runs earned. They had seven hits on the game, including two doubles.
New London committed the one error, but it did lead to two unearned runs. Otherwise, Rasmussen allowed three earned runs on nine hits in his five innings of work on the mound. Brooker finished with two earned runs on two hits. They combined to strike out a pair while walking five and hitting one.
The Lakemen had 11 hits, with Jason Wanty, Behm, Kaminske and Mondello getting two each. Behm had the only extra-base hit and Mondello had a team-high three RBIs. The Lakemen got every eligible player at the game into the game except for Doug Peterson, Dean Nelson and Tom Wanty. Eric Brehmer again played a very solid center field the whole game, but did not get to bat because Mondello was again the designated hitter.
Plover 7, Scandinavia 3
PLOVER – Kelvin Stroik had four hits, Howie Heinrich had three hits and Brian Brom and John Jasenovsky added two each in top-seeded Plover’s win over No. 4 Scandinavia. Jason Berrens and Jesse Dickert had all four of Scandinavia’s hits, as they finished with two each. Kevin Malnory picked up the win on the mound and Zach Gauerke took the loss.
Gresham 8, Clintonville 5
GRESHAM – Nate Ejnik had five hits to lead the Gophers over the A’s. Winning pitcher Adam Carroll homered for Gresham, while Ryan James added two hits. John Dunlavy led Clintonville at the plate with four hits, while Andy Heiman had two, including a home run. Riley Knapp took the loss.
Neopit 5, Marion 1
KESHENA – Mike Waupoose hit a two-run home run to help lift the Chiefs over the Meisters. Anthony Leeman had two hits for Neopit, while Jake Westphal led Marion with two hits. Alex Peters picked up the win and Ryan Mortenson took the loss.
Leopolis 6, Bowler 1
LEOPOLIS – Ryan Boettcher had two hits and drove in a pair of runs as Leopolis eliminated Bowler. Pat Provoast doubled for the Red Sox. Jesse Blum picked up the win and Paul Murphy took the loss.
Little Falls 10,
TIGERTON – Dusty Reid’s grand slam in the top of the ninth inning – his second homer of the game – lifted the Loggers over the Tigers, who made it to the Grand Championship game the past two seasons. Jerry Mork picked up the win and Paul Sellner took the loss.
Elderon 4, Mattoon 3
ELDERON – Marv and Matt Meronk had three hits to lead the WhiskeyJacks over the Loons. Shawn Wickersheim led Mattoon with two hits. Rick Boda got the win and Phil Seis took the loss.
Aniwa 9, Hatley 7
HATLEY – Scott Greening had three hits for Aniwa in a win over second-seeded Hatley. Neil Szutkowski had three hits for Hatley. Adam Janikowski picked up the win and Pete Volpe took the loss.