POTOSI — Friends, family, and roughly three dozen former players gathered at Potosi’s Six Rivers doubleheader Friday afternoon to honor a father, friend and mentor.
Prior to the Chieftains’ Senior Night doubleheader with top-ranked Pecatonica, both teams and all in attendance, took time to celebrate the 39-year career of retiring Potosi assistant coach Jerry Downs.
Potosi head coach Ron Kading addressed the crowd listing Downs’ accomplishments during his four decades with the program as the middle school and high school history teacher was showered with gifts.
The current Potosi baseball team gave Downs a shadow box with his #5 jersey, old hats, photos and baseballs. Pecatonica and Six Rivers foe Shullsburg/Benton both presented Downs with plaques, while his former players presented their coach with a binder of letters and notes from countless former players.
Downs began his coaching in 1978, the same year as Kading took over the Potosi program. Together they have led the Chieftains to a 540–269 (.668) record, 21 conference titles and five trips to state (1987, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2013), winning the Division 3 state title in 1993 and a runner-up finish in 2002.
“He probably has another 200 or 300 more wins than I do if you factor in his wins as the JV coach,” joked Kading.
“It would be hard to imagine anyone having a bigger impact on our program that Jerry,” added Kading. “He has a great passion for baseball, but also for all the kids he teaches and coaches. He is just a great guy to be around. I’ve definitely had my days when I lose my temper and he down and keep us focused. We are going to have some pretty big shoes to fill next year.”
After the 10-minute ceremony to honor Downs, both teams took the field. Pecatonica (24–1) dominated game one 15–1 as Kyle Kleppe went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and Evan Brust struck out five in the five-inning complete game victory.
Potosi battled back in the nightcap and actually led the top-ranked Vikings 6–3 through three and a half innings, but Pec scored three in the bottom of the sixth (as the home team in the second game of the doubleheader) and plated the winning run in the sixth on a Jake Dearth RBI single.
Saturday afternoon Potosi dropped its sixth straight game, 11–6 at Belmont in the conclusion of a Six Rivers West game that was postponed by rain on May 9.
The Chieftains got to Belmont ace Lane Kamps for a season-high six runs on seven hits, but Kamps went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs to aid his own cause. Kamps was wild, but just effective enough striking out 11 while walking 10.
Senior catcher Tyler Udelhofen went 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs to lead the Chieftains.
Last Tuesday, Highland scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 9–8 victory over visiting Potosi.
A two-run double by John Ross Linschied tied the game at 8–8, and Evan Rusch’s ensuing RBI single drove in the game-winner.
The Chieftains snapped their six-game skid Monday with an 8–1 victory at River Ridge.
Senior Tyler David (4–4) improved to 4–4 on the season, tossing a complete game four-hitter. Junior infielder Zach Reuter went 4-for-4 to lead the Potosi offense.
Potosi finished the regular season 12–12 oveall and 7–9 in the Six Rivers Conference.
The Chieftains earned the third seed and will host sixth-seeded Wauzeka–Steuben Thursday in the first round of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs. With a win, the Chieftains would advance to face second-seeded Highland.
Highland 9, Potosi 8
(from Tuesday, May 17 @ Highland)
Potosi 020 033 0 — 8 8 4
Highland 101 101 5 — 9 11 0
Leading hitters — P: Dylan Pluemer 2x5, Zach Reuter 2x4, Nate Friederick 3x3; H: John Ross Linscheid 3x5, Evan Rusch 2x5, Spencer Linscheid 2x4. 2B — P: Nate Friederick, Reuter; H: J. Linschied 2. HR — P: Reuter; H: Drew Hennessey.
W — Spener Linschied (2IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 0K, 2BB). L — Trenton Bauer (1–3, 0.2IP, 3H, 3R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB).
Pecatonica 15, Potosi 1
(from Friday, May 20 @ Potosi)
Pecatonica 213 117 — 15 14 1
Potosi 010 000 — 1 9 4
Leading hitters — Pec: Kyle Kleppe 4x5, Gavin Burdick 2x3, B.J. Hendrickson 3x4, Cory Linder 2x3; Pot: Nate Friederick 2x3, Cole Menne 2x2. 2B — Pec: Brooks Chandler, Linder.
W — Evan Brust (5IP, 6H, 1ER, 5K, 3BB). L — Alex Udelhofen (2–1, 4IP, 6H, 7R, 6ER, 1K, 9BB).
Pecatonica 7, Potosi 6
(from Friday, May 20 @ Potosi)
Potosi 310 200 0 — 6 8 2
Pecatonica 300 301 x — 7 11 0
Leading hitters — Pot: Trenton Bauer 2x2, Zach Reuter 2x3, Lucas Dressler 2x3; Pec: Brooks Chandler 2x3, Logan Green 2x4, Jake Dearth 3x4. 2B — Pot: Zach Reuter.
W — not available. L — Jake Eastlick (1–1, 6IP, 11H, 7R, 5ER, 3K, 5BB).
Belmont 11, Potosi 6
(from Saturday, May 21 @ Belmont)
Potosi 021 201 0 — 6 7 3
Belmont 020 522 x — 11 15 0
Leading hitters — P: Tyler Udelhoven 2x4; B: Jon Bahr 3x4, Raine Voigts 2x3, Lane Kamps 2x3, Josh Logsdon 2x4, Nick Willborn 2x5, Nate Knebel 3x5, Runde 2x3. 2B — P: T. Udelhoven.
W — Lane Kamps (7IP, 7H, 6ER, 11SO, 10BB). L — Jake Udelhoven (3–1, 3.2IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 5K, 3BB).
Potosi 8, River Ridge 1
(from Monday, May 23 @ Patch Grove)
Potosi 300 004 1 — 8 12 0
River Ridge 001 000 0 — 1 4 5
Leading hitters — P: Zach Reuter 4x4; RR: Ben Ertz 1x2.
W — Tyler David (4–4, 7IP, 4H, 1R). L — Ben Ertz.