Behm snaps 1-1 tie in 10th inning
One swing of the bat from Luke Behm was all it took for the Waupaca Lakemen to advance to their first BABA Grand Championship game in six years.
Behm led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a solo home run that lifted the Lakemen to a 2-1 win over the Clintonville A’s Aug. 27 at Lakemen Field. Waupaca will now host Birnamwood at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, for the league championship. Birnamwood advanced with a 2-1 win over Little Falls in a game played in Wittenberg.
The Lakemen and Kings are no strangers to playing for a BABA Grand Championship. Waupaca won 14 titles from 1969 to 2011, including wins over Birnamwood in 1978, 1987 and 1994. Birnamwood is looking for its first championship and also made it to the finals in 1966, 1986 and 1991.
Clintonville’s first two batters reached in the top of the first inning, as Parker Mindel drew a leadoff walk off of Cam Seidl and Aaron Everts singled. However, Seidl worked his way out of the inning with a fly ball, strikeout and ground ball.
Johnny Popham led off the Lakemen half of the first with a single over the bag at third, moved to second on Nate Nelson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Behm’s single to right field. Behm ended up at third base on a throwing error and Walker Smith walked to put runners on the corners, but Rocky Mondello bounced into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Seidl then cruised through the next four innings without allowing a baserunner. He had one strikeout and at least one ground ball in each frame. Meanwhile, A’s starter John Dunlavy matched Seidl pitch per pitch through the fourth.
Sean Peskie led off Waupaca’s half of the fifth with a single to center field and went to second on Travis Holat’s sacrifice bunt. Dunlavy retired the next two batter on ground outs and the A’s still trailed 1-0 leading into the sixth.
Clintonville tied the game in the sixth, as Mindel singled with one out eventually scored on Dunlavy’s two-out single.
Behm and Smith singled with one out in the sixth and Wes Austin reached on an error to load the bases. Peskie hit a soft fly toward center field that appeared to be dropping for a hit, but Mindel raced in and made an easy catch.
Seidl hit Clintonville’s leadoff batter in the seventh inning, who moved to second base on a passed ball. The runner moved to third on a wild pitch, but Seidl ended the threat with a strikeout.
Waupaca had an opportunity to regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as pinch hitter Josh Peterson singled up the middle and Nelson beat out a roller to second base, but Behm grounded softly back to Dunlavy for the final out.
Clintonville’s No. 9 batter worked Seidl for a walk in the top of the eighth. Mindel bounced to Popham at short, which resulted in a force out at second. Mindel moved to second on a wild pitch but Seidl struck out Everts. Mindel stole third base and Peskie kept him from scoring by blocking a wild throw that would have gone down the left-field line. The Lakemen gave Dunlavy an intentional walk, but Turner Doornink worked Seidl for a walk that loaded the bases. Jeremy Schoenicke then grounded out to Peskie at third to preserve the tie.
Smith reached on an error in the bottom of the eighth and stole second base, but Ty Goggins and Austin struck out. Peskie was given an intentional walk to bring up Holat, who hit a soft liner to center field for a base hit but a charge by Mindel and an even better throw on the line to catcher Jared Westphal just beat the sliding Smith for out No. 3 and deny a Lakemen lead.
Zac Riemer singled with two outs for Clintonville in the top of the ninth, but Popham’s catch of Doornink’s pop up gave the Lakemen a chance for a walk-off win.
Kyle Douglas and Popham grounded out to short to start the inning before Nelson lined a single to right field. He tried to steal second, but was called out on the play and the team’s went into extra innings tied at 1-1.
The A’s had the top of their order up, but Seidl seemed to get his second wind and retired them in order on eight pitches, which put his game total at 126.
Behm led off the bottom of the 10th and sent Dunlavy’s 99th pitch over the center-field fence.
Behm had three of Waupaca’s 10 hits, while Nelson added two. Four different A’s had hits off of Seidl, who struck out 10 batters. Dunlavy finished with seven strikeouts.