The Waupaca Lakemen could not have wished for a better start to the BABA South-Central Division season.
The weather cooperated and Waupaca handed New London a 14-0 loss in the division opener for both teams.
Lakemen starter Jeff Riddle struck out the Merchants in order in the top of the first inning. Waupaca also had a four-run lead after just five batters. Riddle led off and reached on an error, David Yeska walked, Wes Austin followed with a bunt single to load the bases and Luke Behm drove a ball over the right center field fence for a grand slam.
The only damage in the second came on Eric Rasmussen’s single off of Riddle. Kyle Prey had a two-out single for New London in the top of the third, but no one else would reach.
The Lakemen sent 10 men to the plate in the third and scored six times on six hits, an error and a walk. Yeska singled, Austin doubled and both scored on Behm’s single. Jake Reedy followed with a pop fly that was lost in the bright sun and fell for a single. Josh Peterson walked to load the bases. Travis Holat drove in one run and Ethan Dayton’s grounder plated another. Riddle added a sac fly while the error accounted for the final tally.
Austin and Behm had back-to-back doubles for Waupaca in the fourth. Reedy followed with a sac fly and the Lakemen lead had mushroomed to 12-0. A relief pitcher came on in the fifth and got the Lakemen out in order before he, too, was roughed up a bit in the sixth.
Yeska relieved Riddle after five innings. The Lakemen tacked on two more in the sixth, as Tyler Goggins and Rocky Mondello lined singles. Dean Nelson bounced out to move the runners up a base. Andy Wanty plated Goggins with a single to center and Holat’s sac fly scored Mondello to account for the final run.
Jim Nighbor came on to get an inning of work on the mound in the seventh. New London loaded the bases on an infield single, walk and bloop hit. He then got a ground ball to go near second base where Goggins picked it up, touched second and threw to first to get the double play and keep the shutout in order. On that double play grounder, Behm caught Goggins’ short hop throw at first base. Earlier, Peterson made a diving catch of a short foul pop.
The Merchants had four errors that led to two unearned runs.
Waupaca outhit the Merchants 13-5. Behm and Austin led the way with three hits each and Behm finished with seven RBIs. Yeska chipped in with two hits and Holat was the only other Lakemen with multiple RBIs (two).
The Lakemen will host Scandinavia at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11.