Plover tops Vikings in nine innings
The longtime BABA South-Central Division rivalry between Waupaca and Plover will continue in the next round of the playoffs.
Both teams won their opening playoff games Aug. 16. Waupaca, the South-Central’s top-seeded team, handed No. 4 Weymont a 9-0 loss, while No. 2 Plover needed a walkoff hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat No. 3 Scandinavia 3-2.
The Lakemen and Pterodactyls will match up for the third time this season at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, at Lakemen Field in Waupaca in the division finals. The winner will advance to the BABA semifinals, set for Sunday, Aug. 30.
Waupaca took an early lead against the White Bass.
Lakemen starter Jeff Riddle walked a batter in the top of the first, but got the others with no trouble. The bottom of the inning made the big difference in the game, as the Lakemen came up with five runs.
Riddle drew a leadoff walk. Wes Austin bunted, but pitcher Mitch Beilfuss bobbled the ball and both were safe. David Yeska then grounded one up the middle that looked like the shortstop would easily pick it up, step on second and fire to first for the double play. However, this time, he bobbled the ball as Austin was sliding in and now the bases were loaded with no outs.
Luke Behm smashed a short hopper past Weymont’s first baseman and went into right field for a two-run single. After Yeska scored on a passed ball, Nate Nelson followed with a liner off the glove of the first baseman who knocked it down, but Nelson beat him to the bag for an infield single with Behm taking third.
Jim Nighbor grounded out to score Behm and Nelson scored on Travis Holat’s two-out single.
Riddle walked the second hitter in the second, but got all others to keep the score at 5-0. He then led off the Lakemen half of the second with a line drive single. Austin walked and Yeska dropped a soft line drive into right center to score courtesy runner Joe Nelson and Behm followed with a sacrifice fly to center and the Lakemen had a quick 7-0 lead.
The third proved more interesting for the White Bass. Riddle hit a streak of wildness, as he walked the first three batters to load the bases. He then pulled his Houdini act by striking out the No. 3 man in the lineup and getting the cleanup hitter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. He ended up getting out of the inning with a shutout and a no-hitter still in tact.
Meanwhile, Beilfuss got out of the third despite another error by his defense.
Riddle retired the White Bass in order in the fourth and gave up his first hit with two outs in the fifth, as Eric Keenan dropped a single into left center.
Riddle led off the fourth inning for the Lakemen and his ripping liner to left field got by the left fielder’s diving attempt and went to the fence for a stand-up triple. Yeska lined an RBI double into the right field corner and scored on Behm’s single for the game’s final run.
Cam Seidl relieved Riddle in the sixth. He gave up a single to Wes Alix in the sixth but struck out the other three batters he faced. He then walked one batter, got two outs, hit a batter and tracked down a slow roller toward third base for the final out of the seventh.
Joe Nelson worked a perfect eighth and gave up consecutive singles to Adam Krause and Bryce Akey in the ninth, but they were sandwiched between three strikeouts to preserve the shutout.
The Lakemen, meanwhile, got singles from Ben Selsing in the seventh and Dean Nelson in the eighth, but neither got farther than first base. Logan Bosquez pitched the eighth for Weymont.
Riddle, Yeska, Behm and Nate Nelson each had two of Waupaca’s 12 hits, while Riddle, Seidl and Joe Nelson held the White Bass to four singles.
Lakemen batters walked twice and struck out four times. Weymont had a hit batter and did get six walks, but also had 10 strikeouts.
• The South-Central Division will hand out its divisional awards for the 2015 regular season following the Waupaca/Plover game. The top four teams will receive awards, as well as the division’s best pitcher as voted on and the top six hitters based on their year-long batting averages. Leading hitters must have at least 30 official at-bats, which means walks and sacrifices do not count. With the large number of players on the Lakemen roster, only six had at least the minimum required at-bats, with none having 40.
Fans will see who if any Lakemen made it into the top six on Sunday. The pitching award is voted on by all of the division’s managers at the final league meeting. Coaches may nominate their pitcher and then stats are compared before voting.
• Next year, the South-Central hopes to have a website available for fans to follow up-to-date stats as each week progresses.
• Season passes are not valid for the BABA playoffs, so spectators older than high school age are asked to pay the $2 game admission. This past Sunday, there was enough collected to pay the umpires, but also have a bit left over split between the Lakemen and White Bass. That system is used each year by the BABA and not just the South-Central.