Highlander coach Ernie Millard turned to an assistant during a tense third-inning moment in their nightcap against powerful West Bend West on June 16 and asked whether they should intentionally walk the Spartans' dangerous Anthony Schlass and a one-run lead.
'By the time I finished that sentence, the ball was flying over the rightfield fence,' said a rueful Millard.
He said his real comments following the hit were essentially unprintable.
That was because Schlass's homer provided the difference in a 3-2 victory for West. Coupled with the Spartans' eight-inning, 3-2 win over Homestead earlier in the afternoon (a completion of a suspended game), the Highlanders' hopes for a North Shore Conference title were made dramatically more difficult.
With the sweep, West (11-1 in league) opened up a two-game gap on runner-up Homestead (9-3) with only a handful of league games to play.
'We all know what's going to happen now,' said Millard, meaning that West will likely win the NSC title. 'Now we have to get a few wins and see how good a spot we can get (in terms of seeding) in the sectional.'
Homestead did bounce back with a nonconference victory over Greendale (17-9) on June 17 and then pulled out a tough, pitching-short, 5-4 NSC victory over Kewaskum in June 20. They improved to 9-3 in league and 14-5 overall with their efforts. They will host Cedarburg in a nonconference game on Thursday, June 23, and then host dangerous Greater Metro leader Oak Creek in a nonconference contest Friday, June 24.
Alec Tomkiewicztook the loss in the tough nightcap defeat to West. He allowed only four hits overall with three strikeouts and two walks. Ryan Chohad a big double in a two-run first for the Highlanders.
Homestead rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh in the completion of the suspended game but couldn't hold on in the eighth. Joe Panellapitched a strong game for Homestead with eight strikeouts and three walks as Tyler Woldthad two hits.
Homestead was up 5-0 over Kewaskum and held on despite a four-run rally by their hosts in the bottom of the fifth. Panella saved the game in relief, and Cho knocked in three runs.
WHITEFISH BAY BASEBALL
The Blue Dukes snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over Cedarburg on June 20.
Bay, which had dropped decisions to Marquette (8-2), Germantown (10-1), Kewaskum (10-3) and West Bend West (6-4) last week, improved to 7-5 in North Shore play and 12-6 overall.
They took on rival Homestead on July 21 and will host Port Washington in a 5:30 p.m. contest Thursday, July 23.
Bay took a 4-1 lead after four innings against Cedarburg and then held on the for the victory as Liam Kahnwent the distance for the win with four strikeouts and two walks. Andrew James knocked in three runs with two doubles.
The Blue Dukes had seven hits in the victory. Offense has been a problem in the recent skid, said coach Jay Wojcinski.
'Even if we had great pitching, it would be tough to win because we're just not hitting,' Wojcinski said. 'Hopefully we can turn this around.'
Chris Siebertand Carson Kimplehad two hits each in the loss to Germantown.
The Knights broke a six-game losing streak, one that had included back-to-back one-run defeats, with a 6-4 North Shore Conference victory over Grafton on June 20.,
The win improved the Knights to 2-9 in North Shore play and 5-11 overall. They will visit league-leading West Bend West on Thursday, June 23, and then will host nonconference opponent Cudahy at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 24.
In the win over Grafton, the Knights took a 3-0 lead in the first inning to have Grafton tie the score with three of its own in the third. They scored two in the fifth and one in the sixth to take the lead for good.
Adam Plotkinwent the distance for the win, scattering six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He also helped himself out with two hits while Grafton committed four errors.
Prior to that game, Nicolet dropped a 6-5 decision to Muskego on June 18 and 7-6 to Cedarburg on June 16.
In the Muskego loss, the Knights trailed, 6-3, going into the seventh. They scored twice in that frame but couldn't quite push across the tying run. Nico Aguilarpitched five-plus strong innings in taking the loss.
It was a similar situation against Cedarburg as Nicolet was behind 7-3 going into the seventh and pushed across three runs to come up just short as Aaron Trattner, Max Walkerand Brayden Elliottall had two hits apiece.
The Greyhounds beat Brown Deer on Monday, June 20. No official score was available.
The win broke a 10-game losing streak for the Greyhounds, who have frequently had decent pitching but who have struggled at the plate, scoring just 10 runs combined in the final nine games of that losing streak.
The toughest losses in that run were the back-to-back 6-4 and 2-1 decisions at the hands of Cudahy on June 13 and 14, respectively. Benji Bussenscattered seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks in the June 14 loss. In the June 13 decision, Shorewood fell behind 6-0 through the top of the fourth but closed the gap to 6-4 by the end of the fifth.
They could draw no closer, however, despite two hits from Aaron Eimers.
Shorewood took on Brown Deer again on June 21 and then will host Greendale on Thursday, June 23.
BROWN DEER BASEBALL
Prior to the loss to Shorewood on June 20, the Falcons had a tough week, dropping three decisions — two to Whitnall and one to Pius XI by a combined score of 39-3.
They took on Shorewood again on June 21 and then host New Berlin Eisenhower on Thursday, June 23, and visit Wauwatosa East in a nonconference tilt on Friday, June 24.
— Compiled by Steven L. Tietz