The Waupaca Lakemen dodged hot weather and wet weather to get in two home games and a BABA South-Central Division game at Scandinavia.
All games were close, exciting and for the most part well-played. When the dust had cleared, the Lakemen won and lost close nonconference games and picked up a division win over the Vikings.
Waupaca 4, Scandinavia 2
SCANDINAVIA – The Lakemen scored two quick unearned runs off of Vikings starter Zach Gauerke July 27. After an out, Jason Wanty reached on an error of his hotly hit groundball. After a fly out, Wes Austin was hit by a pitch for the first of three times in the game. Luke Behm drove Wanty in with a single, while Austin scored as Rocky Mondello’s groundball was misplayed for another error.
Waupaca loaded the bases again in the second, as Kyle Douglas was hit by a pitch and Josh Peterson looped a short fly ball just into fair territory in left. Jeff Riddle flied out and Wanty reached on an error. However, David Yeska grounded into a nifty 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Riddle kept the Vikings scoreless through two innings with only a walk in the first. An error put a Viking on base in the second, but he and the batter were doubled up on a comeback grounder to Riddle, who fired to short and relayed to first in time.
In the Viking third, Riddle got two quick strikeouts before R.J. Rosenthal reached on an error. Willie Rosenthal singled sharply to put two on and Jason Berrens’ groundball was booted to load the bases. Jesse Dickert came through with a single to right that plated the tying runs.
Gauerke pitched out of a jam in the fourth after a walk and two-out error. He fielded a sharp groundball by Wanty and got the out at first to end the threat.
That was his last inning on the mound, as Dave Candra relieved him in the fifth. Candra gave up a double to Yeska. He then hit Austin with a pitch and Behm singled sharply to load the bases. Mondello followed with a fly ball to left field, with Yeska scoring on a head-first slide. However, the Vikings appealed that he left third early and the umpire saw it that way, so the result was no run and two outs. Travis Holat grounded into a force to end the inning.
Riddle got through the fourth and fifth innings with no baserunners. He hit Berrens and walked Dickert to lead off the sixth, but he got consecutive strikeouts and a ground out to prevent any run from scoring.
Willie Rosenthal led off the Scandinavia eighth with a hit. Berrens then rapped into a 6-4-3 double play and Dickert lined a double to the gap in left-center field, but a fly out to deep center by Hans Hartleben kept the Vikings off the board. That was Riddle’s last inning on the mound.
The Lakemen scored the game-winning runs in the seventh, as Candra again hit Austin with a pitch. Behm plunked a short hit into center field. After a strikeout, a wild pitch moved both runners up and Austin scored as Holat bounced to third. Douglas added the insurance with a sharp single to left field that gave the Lakemen a 4-2 lead.
Jim Nighbor took over in the ninth for Riddle. Joe Marx beat out a slow roller up the third-base line. A fly out and strikeout preceded Nick Wavruk’s single to right field that kept the Vikings’ hopes alive. Nighbor went to a 3-2 count on R.J. Rosenthal before getting him on strikes to end the game and record the save.
Totals for the game show the Vikings with six hits, including two each by Dickert and Willie Rosenthal. The Lakemen had nine hits, led by Behm’s three and a pair each by Peterson and Yeska. The game was played a bit sloppily especially early on, as the Vikings committed four errors and the Lakemen three. Lakemen pitchers hit one batter, walked two and struck out 10. Viking pitchers hit four, walked six and struck out four.
Waupaca 4, Little Falls 3 (8 inn.)
WAUPACA – The Lakemen held Fan Appreciation Night July 23.
The weather cooperated beautifully and a great crowd of supporters from Little Falls as well as hometown Lakemen fans showed up to enjoy the game as well as the prizes.
The Loggers jumped out to a 1-0 lead off of Yeska. Drew Radies led off with a hit and was sacrificed to second and Ryan Gullixson came up with a two-out RBI single.
Gullixson shut out the Lakemen for the first four innings. He allowed only three hits in that time, but the Lakemen did get two men on base each inning when adding in three walks and an error.
Yeska sailed through the second, third and fourth with only a John Prahl single in the second preventing a perfect set.
Nighbor came on in relief in the fifth and got his first three batters. Waupaca took the lead in their half after Ethan Dayton led off with a walk. Nighbor’s bunt was misplayed by Gullixson and two men were on. Peterson followed with a sacrifice bunt that set the table for Wanty’s line single to left that gave the Lakemen a 2-1 lead.
Neither team scored in the sixth despite getting a runner into scoring position. It looked like Nighbor would close out the victory in the seventh after he got the first two batters, but Jenner Gullixson worked him for a walk and Prahl followed with another hit. Jeremy Mork walked to load the bases for Radies. He dribbled one toward third, but it was bobbled for an error as the tying run scored.
The Lakemen nearly won it in their half of the seventh, but Tyler Dayton’s line drive was caught by a leaping third baseman as Peterson was in scoring position at second base.
Jeremy Bauer opened the extra inning with an infield hit for the Loggers and forced out at second. After a strikeout, an error allowed the lead run to score. An infield hit kept the inning alive before Nighbor got Prahl on strikes.
Eric Brehmer and Austin led off the bottom of the eighth with walks off of a tiring Gullixson. Ethan Dayton moved them up with a bunt. With Nighbor at the plate, Gullixson spiked a pitch into the dirt that Bauer partially blocked. As the ball trickled toward the third base dugout, Brehmer sprinted for home. The throw to the plate and Brehmer arrived at about the same time. The ball glanced off and now rolled toward the first base dugout as the hustling Austin scored the winning run.
Little Falls outhit the Lakemen 7-6, with Prahl being the only batter with two hits. Holat had a 2-for-2 night before being substituted for by Dayton. Nighbor is credited with the win on the mound and Gullixson the tough-luck loss.
Waupaca’s rematch with the Appleton Legends was very similar, as the scheduled seven-inning game ended up going nine.
Cam Seidl, a nonroster Lakemen, pitched seven of the innings, giving up four hits and two runs. The first run came in the second on two hits and a sacrifice fly.
The Lakemen took the lead in the bottom of the third, as Douglas led off with a hit and Andy Wanty reached on an error. Riddle flied out to deep left field with courtesy runner Ben Selsing making it to third. Austin grounded sharply to the third baseman, who threw home to get Selsing. Behm then drove in a pair of runs with a line drive off the glove of a leaping second baseman to give the Lakemen a 2-1 lead.
That lead held until the sixth, as Seidl got the Legends to hit five straight ground balls. Unfortunately, two of those were booted for errors, allowing the tying run to score. Appleton changed pitchers in the fifth and the Lakemen had only three baserunners the rest of the game. Two of those were erased on quickly turned double play groundballs. The other was Jason Wanty’s two-out hit, but he ended up there as Austin lined a drive into deep left-center field that was chased down and caught.
Appleton scored the winning runs off of Behm in the ninth. An error and hit put two men on base with two outs. John Hendrick came through with an opposite-field hit and another error allowed the insurance run to score.
The win for the Legends was their third of the year over the Lakemen, whose season record went to 15-8. Appleton outhit Waupaca 7-3 and the Lakemen committed four errors to Appleton’s one.
The Lakemen wrapped up their nonleague schedule July 30 at home against Hortonville and will wrap up the regular season at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, by hosting Weymont. The White Bass handed the Lakemen one of their league losses and are in contention for a playoff spot as well. After Sunday, the only games left for the Lakemen would be playoff contests.
Standings after 12 games are Plover, 11-1; Waupaca, 10-2; Weymont, 7-5; Scandinavia, 6-6; Rosholt, 5-7; New London, 4-8; Lanark, 3-9; and Manawa, 2-10. The top four teams make the playoffs.