MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Aug. 1–7)
HOME TALENT LEAGUE BASEBALL: Shullsburg/Benton 13, Hollandale 7
HOLLANDALE – Sixth-seeded Shullsburg/Benton scored early, scored often and then held on late to come away with its first-ever Home Talent League playoff victory, topping the #2-seeded Hollandale Rockies, 13-7, in a first round Western Section Sunday League playoff baseball game held at Valley View Park on Sunday, Aug. 8.
The Fever (9-8 Sunday League, 15-10 overall) struck for two runs in each of the first two innings to open up an early 4-0 advantage, and then exploded for seven runs in the top of the third inning to put the Western Section South Division leading Rockies (11-6) into an 11-0 hole.
Jim Pavlik opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI-single and Justin Crotty followed with a RBI-double to put the Fever ahead to stay at 2-0.
The Fever manufactured two more runs in the second on a sacrifice fly by Nathan Hendrickson and a bases-loaded walk by Jayson Haldiman to make it 4-0, and then built up a seemingly insurmountable lead with a seven-spot in the top of the third.
Haldiman ripped a two-run double to lead the Fever uprising. Tommy Behrens drilled an RBI-double during the rally, while Pavlik and Gaige Lueder added RBI-singles. Hendrickson drove in another run with a fielder’s choice and pitcher Jacob Berendes helped his own cause with a bases-loaded walk.
The Rockies (11-6), who walked off with an 8-7 win over the Fever in their regular season finale a week earlier to lock down the top spot in the South Division, answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning; and then made things very interesting by plating a run in the sixth and four more in the seventh to slice the deficit down to 11-7.
The Fever scored twice in the top of the ninth to cool off the Rockies’ rally as they held on for the team’s first-ever playoff victory. Haldiman drove in his fourth run of the game when he plated Hendrickson with a sacrifice fly, and J. Crotty lined another RBI-single to push the advantage to six.
Reliever Lane Kamps took over for Berendes in the seventh and worked out of a bases loaded jam to keep the Fever in the lead. Kamps held the Rockies scoreless over the final two innings to earn the save. He allowed two hits and walked two batters, while fanning one.
Berendes (4-0) gave up seven runs (three earned) over six and a third innings en route to the win. He allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out five for the Fever.
At the plate, Pavlik and J. Crotty each recorded three hits, two RBI and a run scored in the win. Behrens and Lueder each added three hits, a RBI and a run as seven Fever players had a RBI and a run in the game. All nine starters had at least one hit and nine players scored in the game for the Fever.
Hendrickson and Haldiman each had a double and a run while combining to drive in six runs. Luke Kamps scored three times and Trevor Kattre scored twice for the Fever.
Griffin Rear and Jared Rear each drove in two runs for the Rockies, while Brock Kelley and Trey Gordon each scored twice for the hosts.
Shullsburg/Benton advances to face Western Section top-seed Verona in a section semifinal contest at Charles Stampfl Field at Verona’s Community Park on Sunday, Aug. 11. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The defending Home Talent League champion Cavaliers (15-1) defeated #8-seed West Middleton, 2-0, on Sunday to kick off their title defense.
Sunday’s winner moves on to meet the winner of the other semifinal between Blanchardville (11-6) and Pine Bluff/Mt Horeb (13-4) in the Western Section finale on Sunday, Aug. 18.
The Fever closed the Sunday League regular season suffering walk-off losses to Argyle, 5-4 in 10 innings, on Saturday, July 20, and the Rockies, 8-7, on Sunday, July 28, to finish 8-8 in the Western Section.
Shullsburg/Benton claimed the South Section Night League championship title this season by winning three of their final four games of the regular season to finish with a 6-2 record.
The Fever swept a doubleheader against the Bullets, 3-2 and 1-0, at Blanchardville’s McKellar Park on Thursday, July 25, and then defeated Wiota, 6-0, in a make-up game at Wiota Park on Monday, July 29, to secure at least a share of the league crown.
The Fever fell to the Rockies, 3-1, in their finale at Hollandale on Thursday, Aug. 1, but still took home the title after the Indians (5-3) fell to last-place Argyle, 6-5, that night to remain in second place.
Shullsburg/Benton will host Sauk Prairie in a Night League playoff opener on Thursday, Aug. 8. Due to contractual obligations, Shullsburg’s Badger Park and Benton’s Swift Park are both unavailable for the Fever to use to host the game, so it will be played at Wiota Park, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Twins (7-3) are the third-place team from the Western Section.
SUNDAY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
(At Hollandale on Sunday, Aug. 4)
#6 Shulls-Benton…..227 000 002 – 13 18 2
#2 Hollandale…........002 001 400 – 7 10 2
Leading Hitters: S/B – Jacob Berendes 2x5, Jim Pavlik 3x5, Justin Crotty 3x5, Gaige Lueder 3x6, Tommy Behrens 3x5. 2B – Berendes, J. Crotty, Behrens, Jayson Haldiman, Nathan Hendrickson. H – K. Thompson 2x5, G. Rear 2x3, B. Thompson 2x2.
WP – Berendes (6.33 In, 8 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K). S – Lane Kamps (2.67 In, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 K).
LP – T. Ames (1.67 In, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K).