A "Cahill Park bounce" worked against the host Whitefish Bay baseball team on July 6 and in favor of visiting Shorewood, as the Greyhounds took a 5-4 upset.
Shorewood's Alec Nelson bounced a two-run seventh-inning single over the head of Blue Dukes shortstop Justin Alt and paved the way for the win.
"We've been playing hard for a couple of weeks now but haven't had much to show for it," said Greyhounds co-coach Jason Calvert. "We've had a few close games but this was one of the first ones that went our way.
"… And Alec, that was a big hit. He struggled early in the game but he got a 1-2 pitch and he hit it pretty hard and forced their shortstop to make a play. Boy, did we need that."
Winless streak snapped
The win broke a winless streak that extended back to mid-June and improved the Greyhounds' record to 4-18 overall (2-12 in Woodland play). They dropped their regular season closer to Whitnall on July 7, 18-8.
For Bay coach Jay Wojcinski, it was just another odd thing in a season full of odd events.
"It was a walk, a hit batter and another walk," he said. "We pulled in the infield and then the kid hits the ball right at Justin, a routine ground ball and it's a pebble, a gopher hole, I don't know what and it went 15 feet over his (Alt's) head. That's the way it's been going for us lately."
Bay dropped to 15-15 overall (8-10 in North Shore play).
Both teams are looking forward to WIAA tourney play. The 14th-seeded Greyhounds visited the third-seeded West Bend West on Tuesday in a WIAA regional semifinal. If they won that game, they would visit the winner of sixth-seeded Cedarburg and 11th-seeded Brown Deer in a regional final on July 13 (TBA).
Meanwhile Bay, which is in the same Cedarburg sectional, earned the eighth seed and hosted ninth-seeded Slinger in its regional semifinal on Tuesday (see WhitefishBayNOW.com for details). If the Blue Dukes win, they would visit top sectional seed Menomonee Falls (26-4) on July 13 in a regional final (TBA).
The sectional is July 16 at Cedarburg. Bay advanced to the state tournament last season.
Bringing tourney intensity
In the mind of Calvert, the Greyhounds brought a tourney intensity to the Bay game. They scratched out a pair of solo runs in the first two innings against Blue Dukes starter Pat Rose before the Blue Dukes tied the game against regular Shorewood catcher Cooper Lang, who threw well over 100 pitches in going the distance for the win.
"I can't say enough about Cooper's effort," said Calvert. "We checked him every inning and he said he was fine. He really battled out there."
Both teams scored in the fifth to keep the score tied at 3-3 and the Blue Dukes pulled ahead with a run in the sixth, setting the stage for the seventh-inning dramatics. Reliever Joe Kaszubowski had issued the two walks and hit batter but looked like he was going to get out of the jam with Nelson's ball that looked like it was ticketed for a double play.
Weather a factor
That's when the fickle Cahill Park baseball gods (or the rock-hard field, which hasn't seen a drop of rain in many weeks) decided to play its trick on the Blue Dukes.
Interestingly enough, Bay pulled a grand defensive gem a few moments after Nelson's hit to get out of further trouble, as third baseman Johnny Markwiese, second baseman Turner DeMuth, first baseman Matt Borris and catcher Jacob Carlson pulled off a rare triple play to end the inning.
But it was not to work out for Bay, as Lang willed one more inning out of his tired arm. He issued a two-out walk in the seventh but then got a liner to shortstop to end the game.
"Give the guy from Shorewood credit," said Wojcinski. "He (Lang) pitched well. We weren't very aggressive at the plate, but he did his job."
"We really came out excited and ready to play," said Calvert. "We put a lot into this one."
Lang scattered five hits with six walks and five strikeouts while Kaszubowski took the tough loss for Bay (three walks and one strikeout in two-plus innings of work). Alt had two hits and two RBIs for the Blue Dukes while Oscar Bjornstad also had two hits and two RBIs for the Greyhounds.
In other games for Shorewood:
Whitnall 18, Shorewood 8: A seven-run third that closed the gap to 11-7 was not enough for the Greyhounds as they gave up 17 hits to the Falcons in this regular season closer on July 7.
New Berlin Eisenhower 6, Shorewood 1: The Greyhounds tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the third in this July 5 contest, but then the Lions plated three runs in their half of the inning to take control. Nelson had two hits and the lone RBI for Shorewood.
In other games for Bay:
Bay 19, Port Washington 9: A nine-run fourth erased a 6-2 deficit and paved the way for the rare happy day for the offense on July 5, which also added seven runs in the fifth. DeMuth had two triples and five RBIs, while winning pitcher Nick Lackney had two hits and three RBIs, James Stecker three hits, and Jackson Weber three hits and three RBIs. Lackney had three strikeouts and one walk in two-plus innings of relief.
Germantown 8, Bay 0: Warhawks pitcher Ryan Anderson clinched Germantown's first conference title in 22 years by tossing a three-hitter against Bay on July 3. Alt took the loss as Germantown scored four times in the first inning and the Blue Dukes committed three errors.
"When we go out and be aggressive (like against Port) we can really hit it," said Wojcinski, "but like I've said all along, our biggest problem has been consistency."
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