Prior to last week the Platteville varsity baseball team had positioned itself to win its first Southwest Wisconsin Conference title since 2005. Now the Hillmen have work to do.
Last Thurday Platteville dropped a 4–3 decision to last-place Dodgeville when Austin Larson’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the host Dodgers to dramatic walkoff win.
The Hillmen compounded problems in their quest to win this year’s conference crown when they suffered a sloppy 13–2 loss to visiting Lancaster, the second worst team in the league, last Friday evening.
Platteville, which occupied first place in the SWC as recent as last Wednesday, fell to 8–7 overall and 7–4 in conference play, 1 1/2 games behind league-leading River Valley (11–5, 9–3 SWC).
“We are very disappointed in the way we played last week,” admitted Platteville head coach Chuck Smet. “Both Dodgeville and Lancaster are playing very well and we are not playing well at this time. “We had a team meeting on Monday about getting refocused. I reminded the guys that all teams have gone through this, and we will need to learn to take one pitch at a time, one inning at a time and one game at a time. I reminded them that we are still a good team and that the conference title is with in our reach."
In order to win the conference outright the Hillmen would probably have to win their final three games conference games starting with this past Tuesday’s away game at River Valley. Platteville will host Richland Center (12–8, 6–6 SWC) on Thursday and travel to Prairie du Chien (7–10, 6–5) this Friday to close out the conference schedule.
The Hillmen close out the regular season with a non-conference game against Iowa–Grant next Monday.
In last Thursday’s loss at Dodgeville the Hillmen offense couldn’t produce enough key hits. Friday against Lancaster, Platteville’s defense was the culprit.
The Hillmen committed six errors in the 13–2 rout and allowed two bigs innings.
Lancaster scored four runs in the top of the fifth to break open a tied game, then added seven in the seventh to put it away.
“Pitching and defense were the problem,” explained coach Smet. “We were not able to get an out when we needed one.
After Lancaster opened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the first, Platteville answered with two in their half of the inning on a Logan Cooley two-run single.
Platteville would not score again.
Lancaster took advantage of a key Platteville error and a pair of walks to plate four runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Two batters after Tyler Streif reached on an error, Colin McCarthy gave the Arrows a 3–2 lead with an RBI single. Nathan Tranel’s RBI double made it a two-run game, and Jordan Recker drove in two more runs to cap the rally.
In the Lancaster seventh inning Winston Zenz, Andrew Ryan and McCarthy each had two-run hits as the Arrows piled on against Platteville reliever Logan Cooley.
Lancaster starter Wes Schnepper went the distance to earn the complete-game win, allowed just two runs on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked three.
Platteville Gaige Lueder (2–2), who has been solid all year for the Hillmen, suffered just his second loss of the season allowing six runs, five earned, on seven hits in five innings of work. He struck out five and walked three before he departed with a 6–2 deficit.
Last Thursday Platteville defense played relatively well committing just two errors, but the Hillmen managed just three runs on 10 hits in the one-run loss.
Nick Tashner’s RBI single in the fourth pulled Platteville within a run at 2–1. Then David Bast gave the Hillmen a 3–2 lead in the top of the sixth inning with a two-run homer to deep leftfield.
But Platteville starter Logan Emendorfer (4–4) couldn’t hold the lead.
Dodgeville’s Travis Hendrickson drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
After a sacrifice bunt the Dodgers tied the game on Jasper Meeker’s RBI double. Brett Binsfield followed with a single and the very next batter Austin Larson ripped the game-winning base hit.
Emendorfer allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Dodgeville 4, Platteville 3
(from Thursday, May 10 @ Dodgeville)
Platteville 000 102 0 — 3 10 2
Dodgeville 020 000 2 — 4 7 2
Leading hitters — P: Gaige Lueder 2x4, Nick Tashner 2x3; D: Meeker 2x4, Hendrickson 2x2. 2B — P: Logan Cooley; D: Meeker, Hendrickson. HR — P: David Bast. W — Meeker (7 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 SO, 3 BB). L — Logan Emendorfer (4–4, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB).
Lancaster 13, Platteville 2
(from Friday, May 11 @ Platteville)
Lancaster 200 040 7 — 13 12 0
Platteville 200 000 0 — 2 7 6
Leading hitters — L: Snider 2x4, McCarthy 2x5, Tranel 4x5, Recker 2x4; P:Logan Cooley 2x3. 2B — P: Tranel, Ryan. W — Schnepper (7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 SO, 3 BB). L — Gaige Lueder (2–2, 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 SO, 3 BB).