PLATTEVILLE — Belmont plated six runs in the top of the first inning and junior right-hander Riley Christensen took care of the rest to led the visting Braves to an 8–1 victory in the opener of a Dane County Senior Babe Ruth League five-inning doubleheader on Hill Field.
Christensen (1–0) dominated the Platteville Merchants, striking out eight in four no-hit innings of work on a hot, humid evening at Platteville’s Legion Park in front of a relatively large summer league crowd of more than 100 spectators, who were scattered along both fence lines.
“It was a great win over a bigger school,” said Belmont coach Trevor Kattre, who led the 2019 Braves to the WIAA Division 4 state tournament. “Riley pitched really well. He looked good, even though it was really hot. He had good command of his fastball and he was getting ahead of hitters.
“We also put the ball in play better Wednesday night that we did in our first week of summer games. When we joined the summer league, didn’t really have a whole lot of practice before games started and we struggled with the bats in our first four games. But they seemed to wake up against Platteville and that was reassuring.”
Senior shortstop Luke Kamps led off the game with a single and reached second on an error.
After a fly out to first base, senior Justan Ernst was hit by a pitch and Christensen drew a walk from Platteville junior starter Dylan Prestegard to load the bases.
Freshman catcher Kolby Lancaster drew a bases loaded walk to drive in a run, then sophomore Ty Palzkill laced a two-run single to make it 3–0.
Then senior centerfielder Cody Lindholm reached on another Platteville error, allowing Lancaster and Palzkill to score.
Junior outfielder Will Cutler added a two-out RBI single to make it 6–0.
“We had a very slow start to the game,” said Platteville coach Randy Knight. “Belmont is a very quality team and when you give them extra chances you find yourself in a hole. Going down 6 after the first and only playing five innings is a deep hole to climb out of. Our defense, which is one of our best qualities, did not help get out of innings.
“Dylan struggled for his first outing of the year, but I know he will adjust and be ready for the next opportunity.”
Kamps roped a two-out double in the top of the second and later scored on a bases loaded walk by Christensen.
Prestegard got out of the bases loaded jam by getting Lancaster to tap a comebacker to the mound.
Belmont added another run in the top of the third when Palzkill was hit by a pitch, stole second and later scored when senior outfielder Kolton Westemeier was hit by a pitch with bases loaded.
Prestegard (0–1) took the loss after allowing eight runs, six earned on four hits and five walks in three innings. He struck out four.
Fellow junior Aiden Sparkman pitched two scoreless innings for Platteville (4–4).
Freshman Noah Felder drove in Platteville’s only run in the bottom of the third inning.
The Merchants (4–4) bounced back to win the nightcap 6–5 against Belmont’s second team.
“This game was played more as a JV game as Belmont has a large number of kids out for the summer league team,” said Knight. “Our boys played more relaxed. They started to hit the ball and make the defense do their jobs.”
Prestegard, Sparkman, fellow junior Logan Page and senior Garrett Baxter all had RBI base hits in the win. John Banfield also drove in a run with a bases loaded walk.
Sophomore Isaac Coyier (1–1) struck out six and allowed just one run on a hit and two walks in three innings of work to earn the win.
Platteville scored two runs in the third and fifth innings to build a 6–2 lead going into the final half inning.
The young Braves scored three runs against freshman Erik Grabant in his second inning of relief, before junior Brendyn Edge came on to get the final out via strike out to earn the save.
“Isaac did another outstanding job on the mound,” said Knight. “He is so calm when doing his job. He has been a good addition to the team as he moved in from Highland.”
Belmont improved to 2–4 in the South Section of the Dane County Senior Babe Ruth League with the split.
The Braves league doubleheader against visiting Pecatonica was rained out Saturday morning.
Belmont 8, Platteville 1
(from Wednesday, July 10 @ Platteville)
Belmont 611 00 — 8 4 0
Platteville 001 00 — 1 1 4
Leading hitters — B: Luke Kamps 2x3, Ty Palzkill 1x2, Will Cutler 1x2; P: Aiden Sparkman 1x2. 2B — B: Kamps, P: Sparkman.
W — Riley Christensen (4IP, 0H, 1R, 8K, 1BB). L — Dylan Prestegard (0–1, 3IP, 4H, 8R, 6ER, 4K, 5BB).
Platteville 6, Belmont 5
(from Wednesday, July 10 @ Platteville)
Platteville 112 02 — 6 8 2
Belmont 101 03 — 5 3 1
Leading hitters — P: Yeffrin Salgado 1x2, Logan Page 1x2, John Drefcinski 1x2, Garrett Baxter 1x2, Nick Cullen 1x2, Dylan Prestegard 1x2, Aiden Sparkman 1x2. 2B — P: Salgado, Drefcinski. 3B — P: Brendyn Edge.
W — Issac Coyier (2–0, 3IP, 1H, 2R, 1ER, 6K, 2BB). L — Kolby Lancaster (3IP, 4H, 1ER, 5K, 2BB). SV — Edge (1, 0.1IP, 0H, 0R, 1K, 0BB).