With the WIAA Division 2 regional final on the line Richland Center’s Todd Wienkes didn’t even think of walking Platteville senior standout Logan Emendorfer.
Apparently it wasn’t even an option for him or his coaches.
Clinging to a three-run lead, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with first base open, Wienkes and the Hornets could have easily chosen to avoid Emendorfer altogether with an intentional walk.
Instead Wienkes went right at the Platteville star.
Three straight fastballs, three straight swings and misses. Emendorfer, the potential tying run, was out and Platteville’s season was over.
Wienkes won the battle and Richland Center won the game, 7–4.
The Hornets (16–12) advanced to face host Portage (18–6) in Tuesday’s WIAA D2 Portage sectional.
Platteville finished its rocky season 11–12.
Despite Emendorfer’s game-ending strikeout Platteville coach Chuck Smet wouldn’t have wanted anyone else hitting in that spot.
“I felt real good about our chances at that point, could not have asked for a better scenario,” said Smet. “I was very proud of all our players, for reaching the regional finals. It just shows how tough our conference is and how important each game is.
“There were many positive things in the season, including our second place finish in the conference, a great showing in the postseason making the regional final, and many great wins, like beating Prairie du Chien three times and River Valley twice, including in the regional.”
Unfortunately for Smet and his Hillmen, Richland Center jumped out to a 6–0 lead in Wednesday’s regional final and Platteville never truly recovered.
The Hornets scored four runs in the top of the first on two-run singles by Shane Sosinsky and Charles McBain.
Center added two more runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by catcher Cody Jump.
Jump’s hit drove Platteville starter Gaige Lueder from the game. Lueder (3–6) suffered the loss after allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Platteville got back in the game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Lueder’s RBI single broke up the shutout. David Bast’s ensuing two-run double pulled Platteville within 6–3.
Logan Cooley followed Bast with an RBI double to make it 6–4.
After a fly out and a hit by pitch Platteville second baseman Jesse White laced a Wienkes pitch toward left center field, but Richland Center’s 6-foot-4 shortstop Alex Mortimer made a leaping catch to end the inning and rob White of what could have been a game-tying two-run single.
Wienkes hit a solo homer to lead off the sixth inning to account for the final score.
Platteville blanks River Valley
Last Tuesday Emendorfer tossed a seven-hit shutout and the Hillmen banged out 13 hits in a 7–0 regional semifinal victory at second-seeded River Valley.
Emendorfer went the distance, striking out three without a walk in the shutout.
Senior left fielder David Bast went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and senior catcher Christian Melby added two hits and a pair of runs.
WIAA Division 2 Regional Semifinal
Platteville 7, River Valley 0
(from Tuesday, May 29 @ River Valley)
Platteville 020 050 0 — 7 13 0
River Valley 000 000 0 — 0 7 2
Leading hitters — P: Gaige Lueder 2x3, David Bast 3x4, Logan Cooley 2x4, Nick Tasnher 2x4, Christian Melby 2x4. 2B — P: Bast. W — Emendorfer (7–4, 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 0 BB). L — Brey (4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 SO, 3 BB).
WIAA Division 2 Regional Final
Platteville 7, Richland Center 4
(from Wednesday, May 30 @ Platteville)
Rich. Center 402 001 0 — 7 15 2
Platteville 000 400 0 — 4 7 1
Leading hitters — RC: Todd Wienkes 2x4, Shane Sosinsky 3x4, Alex Mortimer 2x4, Jake Killoy 3x4; P: B.J. Cooley 2x4. 2B — RC: Wienkes, Schmidt; P: David Bast, Logan Emendorfer. W — Wienkes (7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 8 SO, 0 BB). L — Gaige Lueder (3–6, 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 SO, 2 BB).