Every summer, the weather gets hot, baseball teams go into little slides, tempers flare and then they occasionally need to sit down and have a chat.
The Highlanders had one of those after their high-profile 7-3 nonconference loss to Greater Metro Conference leader on June 24 as coach Ernie Millard and his staff cleared the air with the team on some issues.
And from Millard's vantage point, things have taken a turn for the better.
'Sometimes things just get to a point, and you need to get to the underlying issues,' he said. 'We had a long talk, and then we went out and had a great practice on Saturday (June 25).'
The Highlanders turned that good practice into an emphatic 13-0 rout of Port Washington on June 27 that kept them securely in second place in the North Shore Conference standings with three games left to play.
They took on Germantown on Tuesday and then will host Nicolet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30. They will have a home nonconference game at 5:30 p.m. Friday against South Milwaukee.
Seeding meetings for the WIAA tournament will be held this weekend. The Highlanders are 11-4 in league play and 16-7 overall.
Despite the loss against Oak Creek, he was pleased with the overall effort against the powerful Knights (19-2).
'You can play nonconference games to get wins, or you can play nonconference games to try and get better,' Millard said. 'We were trying to get better.'
Homestead used three pitchers who had a combined total of one varsity inning going into the contest, and yet the Highlanders made it a game. The Knights' defense made several good plays to keep Homestead off the board. See full details at MequonNow.com.
In the rout of Port, Alec Tomkiewicz(four innings and the win) and Calum Joubertcombined on a one-hitter for the victory. Homestead pounded out 13 hits, including three from Tyler Woldtand two from Eric Zoeller.
On June 23, they downed Cedarburg, 4-1, in a good North Shore win as Joe Panellahad 10 strikeouts and five walks in six innings of work. Two runs in the third did the trick for Homestead as Woldt, Ryan Choand Cole DeStefanishad two hits each and Sean Driscollknocked in two runs.
They fell to area rival Whitefish Bay, 8-4, on June 21, falling behind 5-1 after three innings. Woldt, Jake Bruner, Tomkiewicz and Cho all had two hits each.
SHOREWOOD-BROWN DEER BASEBALL
The Greyhounds swept the Falcons in a pair of a Woodland Conference games on June 20 and 21.
In the 12-2 decision on June 21, the the Greyhounds got a complete-game six-hitter from Benji Bussen. He had two strikeouts and one walk. He also helped himself with a bases-loaded, three-run double.
Shorewood took the lead with four runs in the first and then put the game away with six runs in the seventh. Bussen got help offensively from Simon Bjornstad(three hits) and Luis Roche, Ben Grabowskiand Dayton Simenz (two hits each).
Emory Weedenpitched through five-plus innings in taking the loss for Brown Deer as Jordan Ruhlandhad two hits.
In their 6-4 victory on June 20, a five-run first did the trick for Shorewood as the Greyhounds notched eight hits. Bjornstad got the win, throwing a complete-game six-hitter as he had six strikeouts and worked around six walks. Freshman Aaron Eimershad three hits for the Greyhounds.
Brown Deer rallied for three runs in the seventh, but it wasn't quite enough as Shawn Salemhad two hits and two runs scored and Evan Awetwo hits.
Salem took the loss with four strikeouts and four walks.
Shorewood coach Josh Lemke was pleased with the effort as these were the first wins in June for the Greyhounds.
'We got solid production from pitching, fielding and hitting,' he said. 'Particularly hitting with runners in scoring position, which was a struggle for much of the month. We were finally able to string big innings together by coming up with several two-out hits as well.'
The rest of the week was difficult for the Greyhounds as they fell, 15-0 to Greendale on June 23 and then 12-0 to Whitnall on June 27.
They went into the June 28 game against Whitnall with a 5-15 record. They will be at New Berlin West on Thursday, June 30.
The Falcons lost three other games after the Shorewood defeat. They were competitive in defeats to New Berlin Eisenhower (10-7) on June 23, Wauwatosa East on June 24 (9-6) and South Milwaukee on June 27 (8-3).
Against South Milwaukee, they were down 4-0 after three innings. Anthony Gonzalez and Salem had two hits each. Versus Tosa East, they had a 5-2 lead after three innings, but then the Red Raiders scored five in the fifth to take the lead for good. Awe, Gonzalez and Salem had two hits each.
Eisenhower broke open a 5-4 game with three runs in the fifth. The Falcons stayed close thanks to 12 walks from the Lions as Gonzalez knocked in two runs.
It's been rough sledding recently for the Knights as they have dropped six games in a row to fall to 5-17 overall and 2-12 in the North Shore.
They took on Whitefish Bay on June 28, Marquette on June 29 and will visit Homestead on Thursday, June 30.
In the 11-1 loss to Kewaskum on June 27, Jaren Yoder, Aaron Trattnerand Brayden Elliottall had two hits apiece. On June 25, they were no-hit in a five-inning decision by Kettle Moraine, 12-0, and suffered a frustrating 7-6 defeat to West Allis Central that same day after taking 6-1 lead in the contest.
Nicolet was tied with Cudahy, 2-2, after four innings on June 24, but then the Packers scored three times in the sixth to pull out the 5-2 win as Elliott and Daniel Schiffhad two hits apiece, including a home run by Elliott.
They were three-hit by North Shore leader West Bend West's Anthony Schlass on June 23, 11-0.
On June 21, Nicolet took a 4-0 lead on West Bend East, but the Suns scored six times in the fifth to take the lead for good as Trattner and Schiff had two hits each.
— Compiled by Steven L. Tietz