Waupaca’s streak of 11 straight BABA South-Central Division wins came to an end July 21, as Weymont defeated the Lakemen 5-3.
The win sets the White Bass up for a nice playoff seed, while the Lakemen remain solidly in first with only two regular-season Sundays of play left.
Meanwhile, Waupaca split games with Freedom and Appleton.
Weymont 5, Waupaca 3
A light rain fell for the first three innings. A large crowd that also showed up for the old-timers’ game were looking for another Lakemen victory, but Weymont pitcher Mitch Beilfuss would have nothing to do with that.
Lakemen starter David Yeska pitched around a two-out error in the top of the first inning. The Lakemen then struck quickly. After Wes Austin struck out to start the inning, Jeff Riddle lined a single to left and Luke Behm ripped a shot past the first baseman that went down the right field line for a double. Behm would be the last Lakemen to reach base until there was one out in the bottom of the ninth, as Beilfuss returned 24 consecutive batters.
The Lakemen did score in the first, as Yeska grounded out with Riddle getting a good break off of third to score without a throw. That 1-0 lead held up until the top of the fourth.
Kyle Bosquez led off with a double into the gap in right center and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jordan Baitinger grounded out to first baseman Josh Peterson, who made a nice diving stop to get Baitinger, but could nothing about Bosquez scoring to tie the game.
The breakout inning came in the fifth, as Yeska committed a pitcher no-no by walking the leadoff man who happened to be the No. 9 man in the order. Josh Oehlke followed with a single before Dion Behm grounded into a force out to put runners at the corners. After Behm stole second, the Lakemen walked Bosquez intentionally. That strategy failed, as Baitinger doubled over the head of Travis Holat in right field. Two runs scored easily and when the relay throw got past the cutoff man, Bosquez scored to put Weymont up 4-1 after five innings.
Beilfuss, meanwhile, seldom went to a three-ball count, yet only struck out five in the entire game. His defense didn’t commit any errors. Oehlke made a couple of exceptional plays at third base.
Yeska made it through eight innings before needing to come out after retiring 10 of the last 11 batter he faced. Reliever Jim Nighbor came on in the ninth and got a quick strikeout before consecutive singles from Oehlke, Behm and Bosquez plated an insurance run that turned out to be quite important.
The Lakemen made it interesting in the ninth inning. After a strikeout, Austin doubled into the left field corner and Riddle was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base. Behm then singled sharply to right center to drive in a pair of runs to cut Weymont’s led to 5-3. Craig Bednarek was called in to relieve and on his fourth pitch, Yeska grounded sharply to the second baseman, who started a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Behm had two hits for the Lakemen, while Oehlke and Bosquez each had two of Weymont’s 10 hits. Weymont pitchers struck out five batters, hit one and didn’t give up a walk. Lakemen pitchers walked and struck out two. The Lakemen had three errors, with one leading to an unearned run.
Waupaca 17, Freedom 1
The Lakemen pounded 16 hits in only four innings of batting, as the game was called after the top of the fifth on the 10-run rule.
Waupaca sent 11 men to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored seven times on six hits and an error. Seven more batted in the second, but only one scored, as Waupaca left the bases loaded. A double and single plated a run in the third. Fourteen men batted in the fourth, as five hits, an error and four walks led to an eight-run frame.
Behm went the distance to get the win, giving up only one run on three hits while walking one, hitting one and striking out two. Riddle, Yeska and Andy Wanty had three hits each, while Behm and Rocky Mondello added two each. Yeska and Mondello also drove in three runs apiece.
Appleton 6, Waupaca 1
Riddle pitched a complete game for the Lakemen and did quite well, considering he faced a team that has about a 25-3 record.
Appleton finished with 13 hits in the seven-inning game, but only two were for extra bases. Riddle gave up a solo home run in the first and the Legends added a run on an infield single, stolen base and another hit in the third before getting an unearned run in the fifth.
Waupaca managed only two hits through five innings on singles from Ethan Dayton and Austin, but neither advanced past first base. Austin reached again on a single in the sixth and this time scored on Behm’s two-out double to right field.
Appleton tacked on three more runs in the seventh on four hits, but two of them came with two outs. Dayton led off the seventh with a single, but Wanty’s bouncer up the middle was cut off by the second baseman, who started a double play. One batter later, the game was over.
Lakemen on deck
• Fan Appreciation Night took place July 24 against Little Falls. Waupaca’s next game is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, at Manawa.
• Fans may have a chance to purchase a Jackpot Raffle ticket, but there really are very few left. Lakemen players are selling the tickets. There were only 300 available and with 20 winners to take home cash amounts of $25 (10 winners), $50 (five winners) and one winner each of $100, $200, $300, $400 and $500, it’s easy to see why the tickets go fast. The drawing will be held on the field immediately after the game with Clintonville Wednesday, July 31. Winners do not need to be present.
• The Lakemen old-timers put on a good show, as about 30 showed up to get playing time and another 15 to mingle and get introduced. There was also a nice crowd and many people took the postgame opportunity to get pictures taken after the game. John Holly and D.J. brought scrapbooks and pictures from the past, while others simply reminisced and added to the Lakemen legacy.
There were other entertaining events held before and during the regular game. The sausage race went smoothly, with Pepperoni winning. There also was a rousing version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by some of the Lakemen family youngsters. Starting it all off was the singing of the National Anthem by the daughter of Tom and Nicole Wanty, as Paige gave a great acapella rendition.