Clintonville to face Plover again in BABA semifinal
By Scott Bellile
The Clintonville A’s Badger Amateur Baseball Association team will square off against a familiar opponent at this Sunday’s BABA playoff semifinal: The Plover Pterodactyls, the very team the A’s lost to in last year’s playoff semifinal.
A’s coach John Fietsch remembers the Pterodactyls handing the A’s a 3-1 loss at the playoff semifinal last August. But he doesn’t know because, as a South-Central Division team, the Pterodactyls rarely cross paths with the A’s.
“We don’t know a lot about Plover other than they’re a very good team. They’re always in the hunt,” A’s coach John Fietsch said.
The A’s won the East Division title Sunday, Aug. 23, after defeating the Gresham Gophers 5-1 at the BABA East Division final at Don Jirschele Stadium in Olen Park.
If they A’s (13-2) defeat Plover (12-2) Sunday, Aug. 30, then they will compete for their 14th BABA championship title since the league’s founding in 1946. In the last decade, the A’s won the championships in 2005, 2008 and 2013.
At Sunday’s East Division Championship, Gresham got the scoreboard going halfway through the game. They scored the first run in the top of the fifth inning off a wild pitch.
Clintonville put up a fight in the bottom of the fifth. John Dunlavy smacked a sacrifice fly to bring home Griffin Wiley, and Jansen VanDaalwyk batted in Parker Mindel. The inning ended 2-1.
In the sixth inning, A’s centerfielder Garrick Morgan hit a triple to the fence to bring home Wiley and Mindel again. Nick Hogen executed a suicide squeeze one hit later to bring in Morgan, who had the last run of the game.
Plover that same afternoon won a 9-0 no-hitter against Waupaca with the talent of Pterodactyls pitcher Howie Heinrich.
Fietsch has done some shifting on the field because A’s players Turner Doornink and Kolin Kubitz returned to school. They weren’t at Sunday’s game against Gresham and will not be at Plover.
Sunday’s game at Plover begins at 1:30 p.m. Fietsch said he expects tough competition.
“I think we’re good, but again, the teams we’re facing are extremely good, too,” Fietsch said.
However, Fietsch said he has a strong team, good defense and solid pitching in Patrick VanDaalwyk. The A’s were also awarded three trophies by the BABA league after the game for remarkable playing.
The team was awarded the BABA East Division Champion 2015 trophy. For individuals, Doornink received the 2015 East Division Home Run Leader award for hitting six homers during the season and Dunlavy won the 2015 Dick Brei Memorial Award for being the East Division’s leading hitter (.512).