Nicolet, Bay, Brown Deer move on to second round
Bay, Brown Deer also advance to sectionals
Nicolet had enough hits in its 13-4 WIAA regional final win over area rival Shorewood on Tuesday night, but coach Dick Sykes would like the Knights to clean up their defense as they head into Friday's sectional at Cedarburg.
"We got out of the chute well (earning a 9-0 lead after two innings), but I have concerns," Sykes said. "I think that's our 12th error in three games. You commit four errors in a game against a good team, you are going to get beat."
With the win, the Knights (26-11) advanced to a 10:30 a.m. sectional semifinal against Whitefish Bay, which beat Homestead Tuesday. The Knights have beaten the Blue Dukes (17-21) twice this season.
The sectional final will be at 4:30 p.m., with the state tournament set for Stevens Point on July 28 and 29.
With the loss, the Greyhounds finished at 7-27.
"I thought we played well at times, but it was a senior-laden ballclub that we played tonight," said Greyhounds coach Tom Meyer. "We like to play teams like that because we can learn from them."
Shorewood started only two seniors: Dylan Knutson and Joe Kelley.
Brian Huntsinger hit a two-run single and Sam Kohnke had an RBI single in the first to put Nicolet up 3-0.
In the second, the Knights shook up Greyhounds starter Ian Roudebush and the reliever Knutson for six more as Brandon Zall, Rob Mayer, Kohnke, starting and winning pitcher Max Kramsky, and Joel Sharon, all plated runs.
Shorewood freshman Elliott Kucharczyk roped a two-run single down the third-base line and junior R. J. Adams followed that with a run-scoring single to make it 10-4 in the fifth, but Nicolet put its foot back down in the sixth, as Huntsinger hit a titanic two-run homer over the scoreboard at Stormonth and Pete Maric cracked a solo shot to right.
Bobby Herrick then pitched two shutout innings of relief for the Knights.
In other North Shore action Tuesday:
Whitefish Bay 6, Homestead 4: The two teams split their regular season games and Highlander coach Ernie Millard went so far as to call the two teams "mirror images" of each other.
And Tuesday night, the Blue Dukes were just a bit sharper than their NSC reflections as they knocked off Homestead 6-4 in a WIAA regional final.
"For us, this is huge," Bay head coach Jay Wojcinski said. "Notice that we're starting three sophomores and two freshmen."
That youth was evident right off the bat as Bay sophomore starter Justin Alt gave up a two-run home run to catcher Mitch Hauser in the first inning. However, Alt would strike out three and walk only one in six-plus innings of work.
"I just tried to focus up and hit my spots," Alt said of his performance.
Bay's only senior, first baseman Jeff Kerr, had two hits with a walk, two runs scored and three RBIs.
Kerr started the rally for his team after the rough top of the first with an RBI single in the first and all but finished things off with a two-run double in the sixth to grab the lead for good.
"If there's ever a game on the line… Jeff is definitely the guy we want up there," Wojcinski said.
The Highlanders finished the season 16-16 overall as the loss ended a 7-1 stretch over the last few weeks.
Brown Deer 5, Cedarburg 3: The Falcons gained a bit of respect Tuesday night, scoring five runs in the fifth to upset the third-seeded Bulldogs.
"Year after year this happens (poor WIAA seeds)," said Falcons coach Mike Donahue, "but when it comes down to the playoffs, we actually seem to put things together."
Donahue has history on his side, as in 2008 his Falcons qualified for the state tournament.
With the win, the Falcons advance to a 1:30 p.m. WIAA sectional semifinal on Friday at Cedarburg against second-seeded Grafton.
In that fifth inning against Cedarburg, Brown Deer (17-15) got big hits from Evan Naber, Brian Michalica and Brett Youngbeck.
Senior Joey Mattefs relieved freshman Drew Worth in the fourth and got the win. The Bulldogs had a bases-loaded and one-out situation in the sixth, but Mattefs surrendered only one run getting a fielder's choice and a fly-out to end the inning.
He hit the first batter in the seventh with a pitch, but then retired the next three in a row.
- With additional reporting by Tim Prahl
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