The road to the 2014 Badger Amateur Baseball Association Grand Championship begins this weekend.
Six area teams – Waupaca, Weymont and Scandinavia out of the South-Central Division, Clintonville and Marion out of the East and Little Falls out of the West – will open postseason play with 1:30 p.m. matchups Sunday, Aug. 10.
Waupaca, the No. 2 seed in the South-Central, will host No. 3 Weymont, a team the Lakemen also beat in the regular-season finale, while No. 4 Scandinavia will travel to Plover to take on the top-seeded Pterodactyls.
Meanwhile, No. 1 seed and defending Grand Champion Clintonville will host No. 4 Gresham and No. 3 Marion will travel to No. 2 Neopit in the East and No. 3 Little Falls will travel to Leopolis to take on the second-seeded Bulldogs in the West.
Winners will advance to the division finals, slated for Sunday, Aug. 17.
Division champions will move on to the BABA semifinals Sunday, Aug. 24, with the highest-seeded teams hosting games.
The Grand Championship will be played Sunday, Aug. 31, as the North/West winner from Aug. 24 will host the South-Central/East winner at 2 p.m.
Fans are reminded that season tickets are not honored at playoff games. Adults must pay the normal $2 admission, with the costs used for expenses (baseballs and umpires). The two teams split the remainder.
Waupaca 9, Weymont 1
The White Bass had clinched third place in the South-Central standings with a makeup win over Rosholt Aug. 1. That left Scandinavia and Rosholt in the running for the final spot.
Weymont got a quick run in the top of the first inning, as Eric Keenan reached on an error, stole second and moved to third as the throw went into center field. He scored as Robbie Struck grounded out to first.
That lead didn’t last long, however, as Waupaca’s Jeff Riddle led off with a walk and Jason Wanty and David Yeska singled to load the bases. After a lengthy at-bat, Wes Austin managed a walk that forced in Riddle. Luke Behm then ripped one off the fence in right-center field that cleared the bases and gave the Lakemen a 4-1 lead.
Waupaca added another run in the third inning, as Austin reached on an error, stole second, went to third on a bad throw and trotted home as Behm hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Riddle pitched the first three innings and left with three strikeouts and four hits plus the unearned run. Yeska came on for the middle three frames and allowed two baserunners on an error and single by Wes Alix.
Waupaca scored again in the fifth, as Yeska singled. He was forced out on an Austin groundball, but Behm came up and lofted one over the fence in right for two more RBIs and a 7-1 Lakemen lead.
Tyler Dayton led off the Lakemen sixth with a walk. Wanty lined out on a great leaping catch by Keenan at short and Jim Nighbor, who came in to pitch, bounced a double off of the fence in right field.
Dayton scored after Ethan Dayton’s groundball was booted and Behm then plated Nighbor with a double. He almost had a second RBI on the hit, but a perfect relay got Dayton at the plate as he tried to score from first.
Nighbor pitched the final three innings and gave up a single to Tyler Hart and a double to Zack Alix, but neither scored. He was credited with the save and Yeska picked up the win.
Mitch Beilfuss, the first of Weymont’s four pitchers, took the loss.
Wes Alix had a three-hit game for the White Bass and Hart added two of the team’s seven hits. Behm had three hits and seven RBIs for the Lakemen, while Wanty, Yeska and Rocky Mondello added two of the teams’s 12 hits. The Lakemen did not walk a batter and struck out nine. White Bass pitchers walked six, hit three batters and struck out three.
Hortonville 2, Waupaca 1 (8 inn.)
An unearned run in the eighth inning gave the Stars a win over the Lakemen.
Neither team scored in the first four innings. Hortonville had four baserunners off of Andy Wanty, who walked one in the first, but escaped after brother Jason Wanty made a nice catch in right field. He gave up another walk and single with two outs in the third, but got a popout to end the inning.
Second baseman Travis Holat backhanded a grounder headed up the middle, stepped on second and threw to first for a double play to end the Hortonville fourth.
Meanwhile, the Lakemen were no-hit thru four innings. Ben Selsing got an infield hit in the fifth and Ethan Dayton and Kyle Douglas followed with hits. Douglas drove in Selsing with the game’s first run.
Wanty was pulled after pitching a six-inning shutout. Behm followed him to the mound and was immediately greeted with a double. The next man bunted, but the throw to first went down the right field line for an error with the tying run scoring and the lead run moving to second. However, Behm got out of it with a sacrifice bunt, short fly ball and a comeback groundball.
The Lakemen threatened to win it in the bottom of the seventh with two on, but a double play groundball kept them off the board.
Hortonville’s leadoff man reached on an error in the eighth and was bunted to second. Caleb Boushley singled in what proved to be the winning run.
The Lakemen failed to get a baserunner in the eighth and fell to 16-9 overall.