Saving their best for their last at-bats, the Shullsburg/Benton Fever and Wiota Indians each used a late rally to pull out a victory in Home Talent League baseball action last week.
The Fever beat the bad weather by scoring four times in the bottom of the fifth inning to rally past the visiting Indians, 4-2, in a weather-shortened HTL Night League game at Badger Park on Thursday, June 15.
Wiota showed that they too could be strong to the final out by scoring six times in the top of the ninth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat the host West Middleton Braves, 6-2, in a HTL Sunday League contest on Sunday, June 18.
The Indians (0-3 NL) jumped out to an early lead in Thursday’s Night League game when Cole McDonald’s bases loaded grounder to second base brought in a pair of runs.
With thunder rolling, lightning flashing and rain threatening for most of the game, the team made it through the top of the fifth with the Indians still clinging to a 2-0 advantage.
Back-to-back walks by Alex Wand and Tommy Behrens put the tying runs on base to start the Fever fifth, and then back-to-back singles by Joe Cox and Nathan Hendrickson thrust Shullsburg/Benton (2-2) into a 3-2 lead.
After Justin Crotty doubled home Hendrickson for a 4-2 Fever lead, the game was halted due to the impending weather, and then, once the skies opened up, it was called off.
Hendrickson (5-1) went 2-for-3 with two RBI– including the game-winner– and a run for the Fever, and he also earned in the win in relief after tossing a scoreless fifth frame with one strikeout.
McDonald took the loss for the Indians in two-plus innings of relief, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks with two Ks. He also accounted for all of the Indians’ runs.
On Sunday afternoon, the Indians found themselves down 2-0 heading into their final turn at-bat, but a six-run outburst rallied the team to victory as they put a two-game slide to rest with a 6-2 win over West Middleton.
Wiota remains alone atop the Western Section South Division with a 5-2 Sunday League record.
Relief pitcher Jesse Sturtz evened the score at two all with a two-run single to start the ninth-inning rally for Wiota, and then he came in to score the winning run on an error to make it 3-2.
Casey Schroeder followed with a RBI-single, Mitch Marty scored on another error and Hayden Hardyman stole home to extend the lead to 6-2.
Sturtz (1-0), who got the final out of the eighth in relief of starter Ben Conway, surrendered a pair of singles in the ninth but managed to hold the Braves off the scoreboard to earn the win on the mound. He struck out one batter and did not issue a walk in an inning and a third of work.
Conway tossed seven and two-thirds innings, yielding two runs on eight hits and two walks with four Ks.
Sturtz also led the way at the plate by going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored for Wiota. Marty was 3-for-5 with a run and Schroeder was 2-for-5 with a RBI for the Indians, while Jeff Solberg ripped a ground-rule double off of the third-base bag and Merrill Brunson added a double-bagger in the win.
The Fever showed up short-handed at Verona on Sunday– playing much of the game with only eight players– and came up short on the scoreboard in a 4-1 loss to the Western Section North Division leading Cavaliers.
Verona (8-1 SL) scored twice in the home-half of the fourth to snap a 0-0 deadlock, and then added single insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings to go ahead 4-0.
The Fever (4-4) avoided the shutout with a run in the eight, but that was all they could must as the Cavaliers held on despite being out-hit 10-7 on the day.
Colton Bormann and Justin Crotty each had two hits with a double for the Fever, while Brandon Brant finished 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Indians (5-5 overall) and the Fever (6-6) will be busy over the weekend with three games apiece in HTL action. The Fever host Blanchardville in a Night League game on Thursday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m.; travel to Dodgeville for a Sunday League game at Dodgeville on Friday, June 23, at 7 p.m.; and return home to host Wiota in a make-up Sunday League game on Saturday, June 24, at 1 p.m.
The Indians host Argyle in a Night League game on Thursday, also at 7:30 p.m.; and they host Muscoda in a Sunday League clash on Sunday, June 25, at 1 p.m.
HTL SUNDAY LEAGUE
Wiota…………. 000 000 006 – 6 13 0
West Middle… 010 001 000 – 2 10 2
Leading Hitters: WI– Mitch Marty 3x5, Casey Schroeder 2x5, Jesse Sturtz 3x4. 2B– Jeff Solberg, Merrill Brunson. WM– Statz 2x4, Daniels 2x4, Gaab 2x3. 2B– Statz, Daniels, Gleiter.
WP- Sturtz. LP- Leggett.
At West Middleton, on Sunday, June 18
Shulls/Bent… 000 000 010 – 1 10 3
Verona……… 000 201 10x – 4 7 2
Leading Hitters: S/B– Colton Bormann 2x4, Justin Crotty 2x3, Brandon Brant 2x4. 2B– Bormann, Crotty. V– Jordahl 2x4. 2B– Moynihan, Murphy, Jordahl.
WP- Nelson. LP- Colton Bormann.
At Verona, on Sunday, June 18
HTL NIGHT LEAGUE
Wiota………... 200 00 – 2 1 4
Shulls/Bent… 000 04 – 4 4 1
Leading Hitters: W– None. S/B– Nathan Hendrickson 2x3. 2B– Justin Crotty.
WP- Hendrickson. LP- Cole McDonald.
At Shullsburg, on Thursday, June 15