A four-game lead with three games to go means the Waupaca Lakemen have sealed the top seed for the upcoming BABA playoffs.
Waupaca improved to 11-0 in South-Central Division play July 14 with a 5-3 win over New London. The Lakemen also fell to Menasha 14-0 July 11 and handed Clintonville a 15-7 defeat July 10.
Waupaca 5, New London 3
WAUPACA – Jim Nighbor went the distance and scattered seven hits to get the win on the mound.
He retired the first six batters he faced, but the Lakemen missed out on a couple of chances by getting two hits in each of the first two innings, but failed to score off of New London starter Brandon Sullivan.
Wes Austin led off the Lakemen half of the first with a single, but Gary Herzfeldt stabbed Nighbor’s liner at first to start an easy double play. Rocky Mondello led off Waupaca’s half of the second with a double and moved to third after an out on Travis Holat’s single to short left field, but two pop outs ended the threat.
New London’s Kyle Prey bounced a leadoff single up the middle to open the third inning. Matt Bruette also singled softly to put runners at the corners. Joe Sambs rolled a soft grounder to second base, but it was booted as a run scored. After a fielder’s choice, Andy Brooker blasted a two-run double over Eric Brehmer’s head in center field to give the Merchants a 3-0 lead.
Tyler Goggins led off the Lakemen half of the fourth with a single to left field. He stole second and scored easily on Holat’s double to the gap in left center.
Waupaca cut the margin to 3-2 in the fifth, as Luke Behm, Goggins and Mondello singled with two outs. Josh Peterson walked to load the bases, but Holat’s fly was caught in left field.
Meanwhile, Nighbor allowed only a single in the fourth and another in the sixth.
Andy Wanty led off the Waupaca sixth with a walk. He was bunted to second by Ethan Dayton, moved to third on Austin’s double to short left field and scored on Nighbor’s infield groundout. Austin rounded third too far and was caught in a rundown, so the teams went into the seventh inning tied at 3-3.
Nighbor pitched around a dropped fly ball without allowing anything else in the seventh. The Lakemen then scored twice off of reliever Andy Brooker. Goggins doubled to left center field and Mondello followed with a double just inside the left field line. Holat walked after Peterson flied out to right with pinch runner Tyler Dayton moving to third. He stole second and when the throw to second went into center field, Dayton trotted home with the insurance run.
New London did get a single in the eighth as well as a single and error in the ninth, but didn’t score.
Behm, Goggins and Mondello each had three of Waupaca’s 13 hits, while Austin and Holat added two each. Brooker led the Merchants with two of his team’s seven hits.
Menasha 14, Waupaca 0 (6 inn.)
MENASHA – Behm’s single in the first inning turned out to be Waupaca’s only hit of the game.
Walks to Brehmer in the second and Holat in the third were the team’s only baserunners. The Lakemen struck out nine times against a pair of hard-throwing pitchers.
David Yeska started on the mound, but gave up three singles and a double to the first four batters he faced. All four batters eventually scored.
The Macs added an unearned run in the third and five more runs in the fifth. Holat pitched an inning, but did not fare much better, as four hits and four runs meant the 10-run mercy rule.
Waupaca 15,Clintonville 7
CLINTONVILLE – The Lakemen took advantage of the wildness of TWO A’s hurlers. Clintonville pitchers walked 16 batters and gave up 10 hits.
Waupaca scored four runs in the first and three more in the second, as Holat, Nighbor, Peterson and Dayton drove in runs in the first.
Yeska, Holat and Nighbor came up with RBIs in the second. Waupaca added a solo run in the third on Austin’s double and Jeff Riddle’s single before the A’s scored a pair of runs on two hits and a Lakemen error to make it 8-2 after three innings.
Waupaca added three more in the fourth on bases-loaded walks to Brehmer and Dayton, plus an error. Behm blasted a three-run home run over the fence in right center field in the sixth and the final run came on a Peterson single.
Behm led Waupaca with three hits, while Riddle and Nighbor added two each. Riddle was credited with the win, as Austin pitched the seventh to get the save.
Only one of Waupaca’s three remaining South-Central games will be played at Lakemen Field. That game is Sunday, July 21, as the Lakemen host Weymont.
The Lakemen old timers game will be played at noon that day. All former Lakemen players have been invited to play. Up to 50 former players – young and old – are expected. Some of the older or currently injured former players will be in attendance, but not able to participate. All, however, will be introduced so current fans can see some living Lakemen history and maybe hear a new story or two.
Lakemen on deck
• The Lakemen hosted the Appleton Legends July 17 and will host Freedom at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 19.
• Fan Appreciation Night is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, as the Lakemen host Little Falls. Several area merchants have donated prizes that will be handed out during the game. Admission to the game is free, but raffle tickets must be purchased for 50 cents each to have a chance to win. Winning tickets will be drawn between each half inning starting about the second inning. By the time the seven innings are complete, about 50 prizes will have been given away.
• Lakemen fans are reminded to buy their Jackpot Raffle tickets soon. Most players have a couple left, but some have sold out of their allotment. That drawing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, after the Clintonville game (about 9:30 p.m.). Tickets are $10 each, but only 300 are sold. Twenty winning numbers will be drawn, with cash prizes ranging from $25 to $500.