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MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U CO-GAME OF THE WEEK (WIAA Division 2 Baseball): No. 7 Platteville 7, No. 10 River Valley 6
Six-run rally sends Hillmen to second round
Platteville’s Carson Opgenorth was all smiles after his go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the sixth in Thursday’s WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal win over River Valley. (photo by Shannon Donahoe Runde)

WIAA DIVISION 2 BASEBALL REGIONALS: Platteville 7, River Valley 6

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal

Six-run rally sends Hillmen to second round

PLATTEVILLE — The prospects of victory looked mighty bleak for coach Randy Knight’s Platteville Hillmen late in last Thursday’s WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal baseball game. 

Seventh seeded Platteville trailed No. 10 seed River Valley 5–1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but put together a dramatic six-run rally to pull out an improbable 7–6 victory over the SWC rival Blackhawks last week at Hill Field.

Sophomore Carson Opgenorth delivered a clutch two-run single to cap Platteville’s wild rally and give the Hillmen a 7–5 lead.

River Valley got a run back in the top of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Jayden Gauger, then loaded the bases against Platteville’s Riley Donahoe, but the senior closer got out of the jam with a fly ball to Nathan Mumm in right field to end the game.

““It was a wild ride and super exciting,” said coach Knight. “This team holds each other accountable and never falls apart. They knew the game was never out of hand and continued to fight every inning.

“The boys stayed focused and continued to grind. We knew all game that our hitting hadn’t been the best and it all clicked in the bottom of the sixth. All game we talked about needing to put the ball in play to force them to make plays and we finally did that and it went in our favor.”

 River Valley (9–13), which finished fourth in the six-team SWC this spring, scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth to build an early 3–0 lead.

SWC champion Platteville scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth inning when junior Lucas Ludlum led off with a triple and later scored on a RBI ground out by Davyn Edge.

River Valley answered with a two runs in the top of the sixth when Jayden Gauger walked and scored on an RBI ground out by Keagan Heiser, and Jordan Gauger singled and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 5–1. 

Senior Keegan Coffey quickly changed Platteville’s fortunes with a leadoff single in the bottom half of the sixth, and after Garrison Tashner reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, senior Cam Key and junior Jonah Vorwald had back-to-back singles off River Valley starting pitcher Yanke to load the bases and get back to the top of the Platteville lineup.

Daniel Yanke had limited Platteville to one run on five hits, while striking out eight in the first five innings.

Ludlum line a two-run single to left to chip into River Valley’s lead.

Donahoe followed with and RBI single to chase Yanke from the game, and Nathan Mumm greeted reliever Jayden Gauger with an RBI single to left to tie the game at 5-5.

Senior Davyn Edge was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, before Opgenorth lined his go-ahead two-run single to right field.

River Valley got out of the jam with a fielder’s choice ground out to second base and a pop fly to left field to head to the top of the seventh down one.

Kaden Plumley and Chayse Gilbertson drew walks off Donahoe, but Platteville catcher Cam Key threw Gilbertson out at second for the second out of the inning.

Yanke drew a two-out walk before Jayden Gauger singled past third base to make it 7–6.

Jordan Gauger drew another walk, Donahoe’s fourth of the inning, but the Platteville senior settled in an got Treyton White to fly out ot Mumm in right field to end the game.

Ludlum finished 4-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and two runs and a stolen base in the win.

Donahoe (2–1) earned the win in relief, allowing one run on one hit and four walks in his two innings on the mound.

Junior Trent Mumm started for Platteville and pitched five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out two. 

Platteville (14–8) advanced to face No. 2 seed Madison Edgewood (16–6) in Tuesday’s WIAA D2 regional semifinals.

Tuesday’s winner will advance to face either No. 3 Mauston or No. 6 Lodi in a D2 regional final today at 5 p.m.

WIAA Division 2 Regional Quarterfinal
No. 7 Platteville 7, No. 10 River Valley 6
(from Thursday, May 23 @ Platteville)
River Valley....001 112 1   —  6   9  0
Platteville.......000 016 x  —  7 12  1
Leading hitters — RV: Milanowski 2x4, Gilbertson 1x3 (RBI, R), Yanke 2x3 (RBI), Jayden Gauger 1x2 (RBI, R), Jordan Gauger 3x3 (R); P: Lucas Ludlum 4x4 (2RBI, 2R), Nathan Mumm 1x1 (RBI, R), Keegan Coffey 2x4.  2B — RV: Gauger. 3B — P: Ludlum.
W — Riley Donahoe (2–1, 2IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 4BB). L — Yanke (5.1IP, 10H, 6R, 6ER, 8K, 2BB).