The Fennimore baseball team entered the week looking to shake off two Southwest Wisconsin Activities League losses.
Fennimore fell to Iowa-Grant at Cobb, 3-2, on April 12, before dropping a 1-0 contest to Southwestern at Hazel Green on April 14.
Iowa-Grant tallied only one hit off Fennimore sophomore pitcher Trey Hunt, but four errors did the Golden Eagles no favors.
Fennimore junior Jordan Williams and senior Brett Needham both collected two hits and sophomore Trevor Neuroth provided the Golden Eagles’ lone RBI.
Hunt struck out eight in the loss. He has 21 strikeouts this season and is second on the team with a 1.340 earned run average.
“Iowa-Grant made some good plays and they got the bounces when it mattered,” Sheckler said.
Fennimore outhit Southwestern, 5-4, but the Wildcats’ Kurt Tranel doubled in the bottom of the seventh to score his brother, Kyle, and win the game.
“It was a tricky one,” Fennimore coach Brent Sheckler said of the loss to Southwestern. “The last couple games we are having a hard time getting a hit.”
Fennimore senior Chris Andrews struck out four and walked just one. He has 10 strikeouts this season and leads the team with a .700 earned run average.
Williams banged out two hits for the second straight game and freshman Trevor Wanek added two as well. Fennimore senior Nick Henkel had a triple.
“Jordan Williams is definitely the big standout hitting-wise,” Sheckler said. “He is off to a good start. Nick Henkel is swinging the bat really well.”
Fennimore scored three runs in the first inning and added three more in the fourth to put away visiting Lancaster, 8-5, in a non-conference game on April 11.
Williams hit two doubles and a home run in the win. Henkel batted in five thanks to three hits. Needham had two RBIs as well.
Henkel struck out nine Lancaster batters and allowed two earned runs. Andrews struck out four to pick up a save.
“Our pitching has been good. All of our pitching has been solid,” Sheckler said. “Monday was a little sloppy because we made three errors.”
Williams, Hunt, Henkel and junior Cody McCollough all had two hits as Fennimore rolled to an 8-1 non-conference win over River Ridge on April 9.
Fennimore freshman Maguire Fitzgerald struck out five in relief and junior Jacob Adkins struck out three in three innings to earn the win.
The Golden Eagles edged host Belmont, 2-1, in a non-conference game on April 9. The Braves were ranked fourth in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Division 4 preseason poll. Fennimore was ranked ninth.
“I didn’t know a lot about Belmont,” Sheckler said. “I knew they had a some good pitching. Road games are never easy. Your guys are getting right off the bus and getting ready to play.”
Henkel held Belmont to only two hits while striking out five. Williams and Needham both notched two hits to lead the Golden Eagles.
“Our strongest point is our pitching and our defense is above average, which we have shown,” Sheckler said. “The wild card has always been our hitting. That is the toughest part of baseball.
“I stress it every year. Hitting isn’t always about talent. It is about being smart. You have to get pitchers to throw the pitches you want to hit. It is about getting the pitcher behind in the count and making them throw you that pitch.”
Fennimore was scheduled to host Dodgeville in a non-conference game on Monday before traveling to Mineral Point on Tuesday. Road games await at Platteville on Thursday (today) and Cuba City on Friday.
“We are a good team. I am not even remotely worried,” Sheckler said. “You want to be hot at the end of the year. We are trying to get different kids on the field in different spots and try to figure out what our best lineup is.
“We are going to shuffle up the lineup this week. That is why you play a lot of games in baseball. I didn’t expect to be 4-2 but it is better than 2-4.”