The Clintonville Post 63 Diamond Cats got off to a hot start at the Class A State American Legion Baseball Tournament in Nekoosa, but had tough losses in their next two games and were eliminated from the tournament.
Clintonville opened the tournament July 30 with a 15-0 win over Nekoosa before falling to Denmark 5-3 July 31 and Wisconsin Dells 5-4 Aug. 1.
Clintonville 15, Nekoosa 0
The Diamond Cat offense was ready to go in the first inning as Jake Van Allen, Parker Mindel and Jansen Van Daalwyk had base hits. Turner Doornink hit a two-run home run to deep left field despite being hampered by an injured hamstring and by the end of the first inning, Clintonville owned a 4-0 lead.
Clintonville added two runs in the bottom of the second, as Van Daalwyk batted in Van Allen and Nick Hogen hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Mindel.
The Diamond Cats blew the game open with nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mindel hit an infield single to start things off and Van Daalwyk followed with a single. Hogen then laid down a bunt and beat the throw to first to load the bases for Aaron Morse, who hit a grounder to third base. The Nekoosa third baseman tried to get the force out at home, but made a throwing error, allowing Mindel to score.
Damon Lorge singled to drive in two runs and Jaden Doornink followed with a single to plate Morse. Vinny Doberstein walked to load the bases again and Lorge scored on a passed ball. Zac Riemer drew a walk to load the bases a third time and Van Allen drew a walk to plate Doornink. Mindel drove a single to left field to score Doberstein. Van Daalwyk grounded into a double play, but Riemer scored from third base on the play. Hogen followed with an infield single to score Van Allen before Nekoosa could end the inning.
Van Daalwyk earned the win with three innings of no-hit ball while facing only 10 batters. Van Daalwyk struck out two while inducing four flyouts and three groundouts. The lone Nekoosa base runner reached on a Diamond Cat error after a shallow popup fell into right-center field after deflecting off of Van Allen’s glove.
Van Daalwyk was pulled after three innings to preserve his arm and save valuable innings for a future contest. Hogen threw two innings of one-hit ball, giving up only an infield single while inducing four flyouts, one groundout and one strikeout.
Denmark 5, Clintonville 3
The Diamond Cats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after one inning, but Denmark answered with four runs in the bottom of the second and added one run in the bottom of the fourth.
Clintonville was able to bring one run home in the top of the fifth, but the offense stalled in the last two innings.
Mindel took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits over four innings.
Clintonville’s offense mustered only three hits, as Van Daalwyk had a double, single and two RBIs. Doberstein added a single for the Diamond Cats’ other hit.
Wisconsin Dells 5, Clintonville 4
A tough fifth inning proved costly for the Diamond Cats as Wisconsin Dells eliminated them from the tournament.
Wisconsin Dells led 2-0 after two innings, but Clintonville plated one run in the bottom of the fourth to narrow the gap.
After getting the first two outs of the fifth inning, the Diamond Cat defense saw disaster strike. A hit batter followed by two walks, a base hit and an error helped Wisconsin Dells score three runs and take a 5-1 lead.
The Diamond Cats fought back by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and added one run in the seventh, but stranded the tying run at third base in a defeat that ended their season.
Van Allen, Lorge, Morse, Doberstein and Van Daalwyk had hits for Clintonville. The Diamond Cat defense committed two errors, while Wisconsin Dells committed six errors in the game and had one fewer hit than Clintonville.
Van Daalwyk scattered four hits over seven innings while striking out eight. He and Mindel were named to the all-tournament team.
Waupun won the tournament and will head to nationals this week in Milbank, South Dakota. The Diamond Cats finished the year with an 18-7 record.