|6/15/2017 8:55:00 AM|
Pec loses lead, sectional final game to Oaks
Baseball is a game that can produce elation, but it can also break one's heart at the most inopportune of times. For the Pecatonica Vikings baseball team Tuesday, they felt the agony of seeing an early 6-0 lead erased in Barneveld when the Vikes eventually lost 10-6 to the WIAA State Tournament - bound Oakfield Oaks. Oakfield had defeated Rosholt 7-1 in the tourney opener Tuesday morning and will take a 19-4 record into action Wednesday morning at Grand Chute in the WIAA D-4 State Tournament.
The Oaks trailed 6-0 when they came to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning but coach Aaron Schepp's club promptly scored six runs, putting together four singles, a pair of walks issued by Pec pitchers, a pair of fielding errors committed by Viking infielders and two sacrifice flies in a startling comeback. The Oaks then scored four additional runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, this time, utilizing a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt, a Pec error, another walk, and a single that also included a two-base error by Pecatonica's outfield, followed by yet another Oaks' RBI single.
Coach James Strommen tried to come up with an effective mound combination, replacing mound starter A.J. Hendrickson with Evan Prust, then bringing in Jake Dearth, before subsequently bringing Prust back to the mound. For the Vikings, however, the string had run out as five late-in-the-game errors, coupled with four late bases on balls - and with an offense that produced just one hit over the final three innings, all took a collective toll. Just as the Pec '9' had made some sparkling defensive plays (by Hauser and Schraepfer) in the early innings, it was the Oaks who flashed the late leather. Reliever Johnny Bovee allowed only one hit over the final three-plus innings for Oakfield and number nine hitter Jacob Cedar and lead-off hitter Bovee combined for four of the Oaks' seven hits. Dakota Conwell was 2x4 with a double to pace Pecatonica's offense and Presly Hauser also doubled. Pec had scored 2 in the second, 1 in the third and 3 in the fourth for the early lead.
For the Vikings, they finished 22-2 and the departing seniors won three consecutive 'conference' championships and back-to-back WIAA regional crowns.
"The seniors worked hard, did a lot of summer work - that's what it takes to grow and to be successful as baseball players," said Strommen, following the game. "This one was tough, to build a lead, before we gave up walks, hits and errors. Teams, at this level, in a Sectional final will, and did, take advantage. We gave up 6 runs in an inning when it should have been two. We had opportunities to make plays and didn't. Oakfield played better than we did - defensively, in the second game today. We gave this one away and lost. It's not the finish to the season we wanted and the kids feel bad. It makes for a disappointing end - but it is what it is," added the Vikings ' mentor.
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