Weymont, Scandy also qualify for playoffs
Thanks to a 2-0 win over Scandinavia, the Waupaca Lakemen will head into the BABA playoffs as one of four teams to get a No. 1 seed.
The Lakemen finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark in South-Central Division games and will open the playoffs at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, by hosting fourth-seeded Weymont. If Waupaca defeats the White Bass, the Lakemen would also host the division final Sunday, Aug. 23.
Meanwhile, Scandinavia is also in the playoffs and the third-seeded Vikings will head to Plover to take on the second-seeded Pterodactyls.
Each team had several chances Aug. 9 with several baserunners. However, both teams had trouble getting hits with runners in scoring position.
Lakemen starter Jeff Riddle retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the first inning before Willie Rosenthal singled. Jesse Dickert was hit by a pitch and Jason Berrens walked. However, a groundout to shortstop Wes Austin ended the threat and the Vikings left the bases loaded.
Riddle walked to start the Lakemen first. Austin bunted him to second base, but the next two batters failed to reach.
Nate Nelson walked and stole second for Waupaca in the second, but Scandinavia’s Adam Dietrich struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
R.J. Rosenthal singled with one out in Scandinavia’s half of the third inning and Willie Rosenthal followed with a fly ball just inside the right field line that Nelson just missed. It fell for a hit, but R.J. held up, thinking it might be caught.
The Lakemen likewise got one-out hits from Riddle and Austin in the third, but a strikeout and flyout added up to another missed opportunity.
Scott Bembenek drew a one-out walk for the Vikings in the fourth, but didn’t advance. Ethan Dayton and Travis Holat had back-to-back two-out singles for Waupaca in the bottom half of the inning, but a strikeout ended the frame.
Ryan Makuski led off Scandinavia’s half of the fifth with a single and moved to second on R.J. Rosenthal’s sacrifice bunt. Willie Rosenthal then flew out to medium-depth right field, where Nelson caught the ball and fired on the line to third baseman Luke Behm to get Makuski, who tried to advance after tagging up. That play seemed to ignite a bit of a spark in the Lakemen and caused the Vikings to have another missed chance.
Riddle opened the bottom of the fifth with a double to right-center field, Austin reached on an error and both runners moved up on David Yeska’s sacrifice bunt. The Vikings walked Behm intentionally to load the bases and designated hitter Rocky Mondello then lofted a fly ball to left field that was deep enough for courtesy runner Joe Nelson to tag up and score the game’s first run. The Lakemen now had the lead, but missed on a chance for a bigger inning.
Jake Larsen and Bembenek had singles for Scandinavia in the sixth. Connor Lodewegen lined out to center field that put a scare in the Lakemen, but Austin was in the right spot for an easy catch.
Dietrich retired all six Lakemen he faced in the sixth and seventh innings. Cam Seidl relieved Riddle in the seventh and Logan Moe reached on an error before moving up on a wild pitch. However, Seidl got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a fly ball.
Seidl hit Dickert to lead off the eighth. After Dickert moved up on a groundout, Larsen hit a fly ball into very shallow center field. Austin charged in and called it at the last minute and made a diving, shoestring catch. The next man grounded to second base and the Vikings had missed another chance.
Behm did not let the Lakemen miss another chance, as he led off the eighth with a long home run over the fence in right center. Mondello reached on a error and Nate Nelson singled to left. Pinch runner Beau Ash was thrown out trying to advance to third on a short wild pitch. Dayton walked, but the next two went in order and the Lakemen missed another chance to tack on more runs.
Lodewegen led off the ninth with a single and moved to second on Moe’s groundout, but Seidl struck out the next two hitters to end the game.
Each team had seven hits. Riddle had two for Waupaca and Willie Rosenthal had a pair for Scandinavia. Riddle and Seidl struck out batters, while Dietrich fanned eight. The Vikings left 12 runners on base and the Lakemen stranded 10.
• Lakemen fans are reminded that season tickets are no longer valid for playoff games. Under BABA rules, all fans over high school age must pay the $2 admission. In the playoffs, that collection is used to pay the umpires and any extra is divided between the two teams.
• In week 1 of the playoffs, the No. 4 seed travels to No. 1 and No. 3 goes to No. 2. The winners play the following week at the field of the highest seed still playing. After each division is down to one team, the semifinals rotate each year. This year, the East comes to the South-Central and that winner would then host the Grand Championship.