GRAND CHUTE — When Potosi’s Logan Udelhofen got Lake Country Lutheran standout B.J. Sabol to line out to right field for the second out of the first inning in Wednesday’s WIAA Division 4 state semifinal, it looked like the senior ace was going to be able to work around a leadoff walk to Jacob Budnik
But Udelhofen uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Budnik to score and walked cleanup hitter Jesse Turner. Then the Lightning struck as quick as, well, lightning, lacing four consecutive hits.
The result of Lake Country Lutheran’s first-inning storm was an insurmountable 5–0 lead.
Behind a two-hit, 13-strike out, complete game gem from Sabol on the mound and a 10-hit offensive attack, the Lightning cruised to a lopsided 12–0 six-inning victory at Time Warner Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
“I don’t think our guys were nervous or scared or anything like that,” said Potosi head coach Ron Kading, who was coaching in his fifth state tournament after leading the Chieftains to state in 1988, 1993, 2001 and 2002. “We were mentally prepared, but sometimes you just have games like that. It wasn’t so much that we played that poorly. A lot of it had to do with them playing so well.
“We knew they could hit, and that they were going to score runs. But to spot any team five runs in the state tournament is going to put you in a hole that’s hard to get out of.”
Potosi (18–8) managed two base runners in the bottom of the first on a walk by senior shortstop Hunter Leibfried and a high-bounding infield single to shortstop by senior right fielder/pitcher Tim Fritz.
Sabol settled down and struck out Mitch Langkamp and Chase Kruser to end the inning. From that point on the 6-foot-3, 195-pound, left-hander was nearly untouchable. He kept Kading’s Chieftains off balance with powerful fastball and a good curve ball and at one point recorded 15 consecutive outs.
Sabol allowed a walk to senior center fielder Spencer Hawes and single to center fielder by Leibfried in the sixth inning, but struck out Fritz for the second time on the day to end the game.
In fact, Leibfried’s single back through the box was the only ball off a Potosi bat to reach the outfield in the entire game, but even that hit resulted in an out when Hawes was thrown out at third on the play trying to take an extra base.
Of the Chieftains’ 18 outs, Sabol struck out 13, fielded two comebackers himself, and induced groundouts to second and third. The 8–5 assist from centerfield to third base was the other out.
“We didn’t know for sure who their number one pitcher was,” said Kading. “We heard it from a number of coaches that played them that could be any one of three guys. But we heard their lefty (Sabol) threw hard, but could be erratic. He wasn’t very erratic [Wednesday]. He had his command.”
Tim Bahr’s RBI double in the first made it 2–0. C.J. Teske and Jacob Simons followed with RBI singles. A second wild pitch by Udelhofen allowed Teske to score to make it 5–0.
Lake Country Lutheran (24–4) got two more unearned runs in the top of the second when Fritz misplayed a Wilkins line drive in right field.
The Lightning made it 8–0 in the fifth when Bahr advanced to third on Teske’s ground out to third base and scored on a Potosi throwing error.
Lutheran scored its final four runs in the top of the sixth off of Fritz. Chris Kornowski scored on a wild pitch, Wilkins had a two-run double and Bahr added an RBI single.
Both Wilkins and Bahr each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Budnick went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Udelhofen (7–2), who entered the game with a 0.56 ERA and four earned runs allowed all season in 492/3 innings, suffered only his second loss of the season after allowing eight runs, five earned on seven hits and three walks. He did not record a strikeout. Udelhofen finished his senior season 7–2 with a 1.15 ERA.
Fritz allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits and a walk in one inning of work.
Leibfried was the only Chieftain to reach base twice in the game, once on a walk, the other time on his sixth-inning single.
Lake Country Lutheran (24–5) went on to lose the D4 championship game to Greenwood, 6–4, allowing three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Chieftains finished the season 18–8.
“Our season got off to a pretty rocky start, and the kids could have gotten down about it,” said Kading. “But they kept their heads up and had a tremendous run going until today.
“These seniors were a special group not only athletically, but also academically, and behavior-wise, here at Potosi. They showed great character in every sport they played, and they will be missed. They definitely will leave some pretty big shoes to fill.”
Potosi graduated nine seniors including Fritz, Leibfried, Udelhofen, Langkamp, Hawes, Tyler Udelhoven, Isaiah Kruser, Kevin Neuhaus and Richard Menadue.
The corps played all three sports leading Potosi to the Division 7 state football championship game last fall, the school’s first conference championship in basketball in the winter, as well as last week’s state baseball appearance.
WIAA Division 4 State Semifinal
Lake Country Lutheran 12,
(from Wednesday, June 12 @ Fox Cities Stadium, Grand Chute)
LC Lutheran 520 014 — 12 10 0
Potosi. 000 000 — 2 2 4
Leading hitters — LCL: Jacob Budnik 2x3, Ben Wilkins 2x4, Tim Bahr 2x4. 2B — LCL: Bahr, Budnik, Wilkins. W — B.J. Sabol (8–0, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 13 SO, 2 BB). L — Logan Udelhofen (7–2, 5 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 0 SO, 3 BB).