BLANCHARDVILLE – Milt Kurschner singled home Brooks Chandler for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning and later scored himself as the host Blanchardville Bullets shot down the Shullsburg/Benton Fever in a key Western Section South Division Home Talent League baseball game at McKellar Park on Saturday, July 15.
The win moved the Bullets into a tie for third-place with Argyle in the South Division at 7-7 in Sunday League play, while the Fever remain hopeful for a third straight playoff appearance despite the loss as they sit 10th overall in the Western Section with a 5-9 mark with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The top eight teams make the playoffs in the Western Section.
The Bullets escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh when reliever Lucas McKeon picked a runner off second base for the second out of the inning, and then Justin Crotty was caught trying to steal home on a double-steal for the third out.
Chandler reached on a fielder’s choice in the eighth and came in on Kurschner’s base hit to break a 7-7 tie. Kyle Kleppe followed with a double to plate Kurschner, and Kleppe scored on a single by Dustin Hodgson to make it 10-7.
The Fever put a runner on base in the ninth, but McKeon coaxed a flyball for the final out to seal the victory for the Bullets, who scored runs in each of the first four innings to forced the Fever to keep playing catch-up.
Kleppe had a solo home run in the first and scored a run after doubling in the third to finish 3-for-4 on the day with two RBI and three runs. Hodgson added a two-run home run in the third for the Bullets.
Nick Wagner put the Fever into the lead in the second and third innings with a pair of RBI-singles, but the Bullets struck for two runs in the home-half of the third and fourth frames to grab a 7-4 advantage.
Crotty smashed a two-run home run for the Fever in the fifth to trim the deficit back to one, and Brandon Brant lined a clutch two-out RBI-single later in the stanza to plate Tommy Behrens to deadlock the game at 7-7.
Crotty was 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs and two RBI, while Wagner finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Colton Bormann went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs, and Pat Wotard went 2-for-5 with a run and a RBI for the Fever.
Bormann started and surrendered seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and two walks with five strikeouts for the Fever. Nathan Hendrickson (5-3) worked the final four innings and allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and three Ks to take the loss.
Belmont graduate Lane Kamps started for the Bullets and went six innings giving up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and four walks with eight Ks. McKeon worked three scoreless innings allowing a hit and a walk with four Ks to earn the win.
The Fever had their Night League game at Blanchardville on Thursday postponed due to unplayable field conditions. No make-up date for that game was available at press time.
The Fever (7-13 overall) has remaining Night League games at Badger Park against Hollandale on Thursday, July 20, and Argyle on Thursday, July 27. They will close the regular season at Wiota on Thursday, Aug. 3. All three games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
The Fever close their Sunday League schedule at home against Hollandale on Sunday, July 23, and at Wiota on Sunday, July 30. Both games are set for 1 p.m.
HTL SUNDAY LEAGUE
Shulls/Bent……. 022 030 000 – 7 10 2
Blanchardville… 122 200 03x – 10 14 3
Leading Hitters: S/B– Colton Bormann 2x5, Justin Crotty 2x3, Pat Wotard 2x5, Nick Wagner 2x4. HR– Crotty. 2B– Bormann, Tommy Behrens. B– Kurschner 2x5, Kleppe 3x4, Hodgson 2x5, Co. Carmody 2x3, Schliem 2x5, Bruer 2x3. HR– Kleppe, Hodgson. 2B– Kleppe (2), Co. Carmody (2), Bruer.
WP- McKeon. LP- Nathan Hendrickson.
At Blanchardville, on Sat., July 15