MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (May 17–24)
SWAL BASEBALL: Cuba City 8, Mineral Point 2
By Tom Gunnell, Tri-County Press/Republican Journal
CUBA CITY – The Cubans had to wait an extra day to celebrate their SWAL championship, but they also got to do it at home as they defeated rival Mineral Point to claim the 2022 SWAL baseball title at CCHS on Tuesday, May 17.
The Pointers got the better of Cuba City with a 6-4 win on Monday afternoon to remain in the hunt for a share of the SWAL crown, however the Cubans (16-4 overall, 12-2 SWAL) came back the following day and topped those same Pointers (16-3, 11-3) by a score of 8-2 to capture the title.
“I’m extremely happy for these guys. The team put a goal out there to win the conference title and they were able to go out there and get it,” said Graber after leading the Cubans’ to their first league title since 2013 and just the second one in his coaching career at Cuba City. “I don’t know if the league has ever been as deep as it was this year. To win the title this year says a lot about these guys.”
Senior Blake Bussan (6-1) earned the complete-game victory on the mound after giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts, and he helped his own cause at the plate by drilling a double and driving in two runs and scoring twice more in the win.
Junior Max Lucey went 3-for-3 with three RBI, while seniors Kobe Vosberg and Jackson Soja each had two hits and scored twice for the Cubans.
“I’m happy with the way we grinded and the way we battled tonight. We had some really good at-bats. We made them pitch a lot of extra pitches, and came up with some clutch hits,” Graber pointed out.
A two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the first inning put the Cubans ahead to stay. After Bussan was hit by a pitch, Soja followed with a RBI-double and Lucey drove him in with a single for a 2-0 lead.
The Cubans added two runs in the third on RBI-doubles by Bussan and Lucey, and then tacked on three more insurance runs in the fifth when Vosberg tripled off the wall in right and scored on an error and Lucey and Riley Rosenkranz each added RBI-singles for a 7-0 lead.
The Pointers had a little spark of hope in the top of the sixth when Leyton Bowers homered and the Luke Kisgen brought in another run with a sacrifice fly. However, Mason Reese doubled and scored on Bussan’s sac fly in the bottom of the sixth, and then Bussan retired the Pointers in order in the seventh registering back-to-back Ks to secure the title.
“Buss grabbed the ball and pitched a complete game. He was been able to keep batters off balanced all game. He’s good at mixing his pitches up. He’s done a heck of a job on the mound all season,” noted Graber.
At Fennimore, on Friday, May 20, the host Golden Eagles belted three home runs to sink the Cubans, 14-4, in their SWAL finale.
Mason Reese and Kobe Vosberg hit back-to-back doubles in the top of the first inning to put the Cubans ahead 2-0, and then bashed back-to-back homers in the fifth.
Fennimore got a two-run home run from Mason Adkins during their five-run rally in the bottom of the first. Cam Winkers hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Dawson Cole launched a grand slam home run in the fifth to help the Eagles soar to victory.
Cole finished the game with six RBI. Vosberg drove in two runs and scored twice for the Cubans.
In non-conference action during the final week of the regular season, the Cubans defeated SWC champion Dodgeville, 6-4, at home on Thursday, May 19, and then rallied to defeat host Wisconsin Heights, 7-5, at Mazomanie on Monday, May 23.
Bussan went 3-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored for the Cubans in the win over the Dodgers (16-4).
Soja went 3-for-4 with four RBI in the victory over the Vanguards (9-9). Soja’s two run single in the sixth tied the game at 5-5, and then Reese singled in a run and scored on a single by Vosberg in the seventh to put the Cubans back in front to stay.
Cuba City received the #1-seed in their Division 3 regional bracket. Following a first-round bye, the Cubans host the winner of the game between #4 Fennimore and #5 Darlington in a regional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 31.
The D3 regional championship game will be held on Wednesday, June 1, at the home of the highest remaining seed.
Mineral Point… 000 002 0 – 2 6 2
Cuba City……..... 202 031 x – 8 11 0
Leading Hitters: MP– Bowers 2x3, Filardo 2x2. HR- Bowers. CC– Kobe Vosberg 2x4, Jackson Soja 2x4, Max Lucey 3x3. 3B- Vosberg. 2B- Blake Bussan, Mason Reese, Lucey, Soja.
WP- Bussan (7 In, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K). LP- Hanson (5 In, 7 R, 6 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 5 K).