Sussex in thick of things in Land O'Lakes West
There's been a change at the top of the Land O'Lakes Western Division baseball standings. Pewaukee is no longer in sole possession of first place.
After a weekend of some hotly contested action and several postponements, the two first-place teams now are perennial powerhouses Oconomowoc and the surprising Brookfield Blue Sox. Both share the top spot with 5-2 records. Pewaukee and Lannon are next with 4-2 slates.
On Saturday, Sussex edged West Bend, 7-5, and on Sunday, Sussex defeated North Lake, 8-5. Lannon was rained out at Hartland on Sunday.
Sussex grabs two wins
Darin Leveraus was the winning pitcher Saturday in a complete-game effort. He walked three and struck out nine while allowing seven hits. Bryant Bullock took the loss for West Bend.
Bryan Laabs and Todd Johnson homered for Sussex. Nick Heppe and Seth Kroenke added two hits each for the winners. Johnson finished with three RBIs.
Jed Justman and Adam Rohlinger led West Bend with two hits each. Rohlinger and Mike Mueller hit homers for the losers.
On Sunday, Sussex jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings and went on to win by three runs. Sergio Medina started and went six innings, collecting the win. North Lake starter Ben Hanson took the loss.
Cory Gasper, Scott Carberry and Kroenke had two hits each for the Cardinals. Johnson drove in two runs.
Matt Stankowski drove in two runs for North Lake.
-Chris Schuck contributed to this story
|Brookfield Blue Sox||5||2|
Sussex wins under new management
Sussex defeated Lannon at Joecks Field on May 30, 4-1, in a Land O'Lakes Western Division baseball game under new leadership, sort of.
Player/manager Scott Carberry, the team's veteran catcher, decided to "step down from managing" early last week.
Cory Gasper, formerly the team's player/manager, has re-assumed the role vacated by Carberry.
"I would just say that Scott wants to focus on playing ball," outfielder Bryan Laabs said. "I think he did a good job and can expect business as usual on the field. We know what to expect with a veteran team."
Travis Thompson pitched a complete game against Lannon. Nick Schreiber had two hits. Laabs drove in a pair of runs on a two-run double. Seth Kroenke added two hits for the Cardinals.
Troy Kenkel pitched seven innings for Lannon. Jed Dolske worked the final two innings for the Stonemen.
"The hit by Laabs was the one that killed us," Lannon manager Bruce Mayer. It was a pretty well-played game on both sides."
Sussex splits, Lannon struggles in LOL
Sussex smacked around Oconomowoc's Land O'Lakes baseball team like never before on June 8 at Tetzlaff/Veteran's Field.
The Cardinals won, 16-1, in seven innings. The game was shortened by the LOL Western Division 12-run rule.
Tim Saskowski pitched for the Cardinals. He allowed just two hits, both to Oconomowoc leadoff hitter Chandler Ziemann. He struck out three and walked none.
"Sasquatch pitched outstanding," Sussex utility player Nick Ghelfi said. "He just went right at them."
The lone run for Oconomowoc came in the top of the third inning when Josh Hottinger reached on an error. Bob Bolson executed a sacrifice bunt before Ziemann singled.
Todd Johnson had four hits, including a home run, and five RBIs for the Cardinals. Bryan Laabs had three hits and two RBIs. Seth Kroenke went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Ryan Weissman and Cory Gasper each had two hits, and Tanner Johnson scored three runs.
Every spot in the order had a hit for Sussex against three Oconomowoc pitchers.
The Cardinals lost by a narrow 7-6 count against the Brookfield Bulldogs on June 7 at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field.
Travis Thompson pitched a complete game for the Cardinals, allowing 14 hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
Bill Gorman had three hits for the Bulldogs. Greg Basthemer was the winning pitcher, giving up 11 hits while striking out five. Austin Jones also pitched for the Bulldogs.
Ryan Weissman hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Cardinals. He finished with three hits. Seth Kroenke also dialed long distance, ending up with two hits and two runs scored. Former Purdue University standout Ben Kaebisch had two hits along with player/manager Cory Gasper.
Lannon falls to Blue Sox
Lannon lost against the Brookfield Blue Sox on June 7, 13-2, at McCoy Field. Kyle Senft had two hits for Lannon. Tim Biron, Brodie Engle, Nick Erd and James Heinritz each had one hit for the Stonemen.
Troy Kenkel was the pitcher of record for the Stonemen, working into the sixth inning. Erd also pitched.
Nick Rechlitz, Tim Kahle, Bill Posteluk, Steve Bartlein at Pat Tobiasz all had two hits for the Blue Sox.
John Arnold was the complete game winning pitcher for Brookfield.
West Bend leads the Western Division with a 6-1 record. The Brookfield Bulldogs are next at 7-2, with Pewaukee sporting a 6-2 record. Sussex is 6-3, the Brookfield Blue Sox are 5-3 and Lannon is 5-4.
On June 14, the Stonemen are at Roosevelt Field for a 2 p.m. meeting against the Five O's.
West Bend visits Tetzlaff/Veterans Field to face the Cardinals, who host the Brookfield Blue Sox on Sunday.
Sussex, Lannon in battle for playoff spots
The Sussex Cardinals Land O'Lakes Western Division baseball team lost against West Bend on June 14, 9-3, at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field, falling to 6-5 in the wooden-bat baseball league this summer.
Nick Schreiber had three hits out of the leadoff spot for the Cardinals. Ryan Weissman had two hits, including a double. Cory Gasper, Todd Johnson, Tanner Johnson, Scott Carberry and Bryan Laabs each had one hit.
Taylor Paepke had a good game all-around for the Cardinals in center field.
Travis Thompson pitched all nine innings, allowing eight earned runs on 13 hits. He struck out four and walked three. Bryant Bullock pitched a complete game for West Bend. He gave up 10 hits while walking two and striking out two.
Sussex lost against the Brookfield Blue Sox on June 15 at home, 8-6. Ben Kaebisch, who scored a run in the bottom of the ninth reached base safely four times. Laabs went 2 for 4. Todd Johnson, Gasper, Tanner Johnson and Carberry all had one hit.
Schreiber pitched four innings for the Cardinals, suffering the loss. Thompson pitched five innings.
"We left too many guys on base this weekend," Sussex player/manager Cory Gasper. "We didn't have timely hits."
Still, Gasper believes in Sussex.
"I still think we're a team that's going to make the playoffs," Gasper said.
Stonemen roll past Oconomowoc
Lannon topped host Oconomowoc on June 14 at Roosevelt Field, 11-3.
Troy Kenkel pitched a complete game for the Stonemen, allowing eight hits and two earned runs. He didn't walk a batter, striking out eight.
"He did a really good job all afternoon," Lannon manager Bruce Mayer said.
Joe Erd, who finished the game 4 for 5, had a three-run double in the top of the sixth inning, when Lannon scored four times.
"That was the hit that really broke the game open; we've been getting a lot of contributions from our younger players," Mayer said.
Kyle Senft went 3 for 4 with three runs scored for the Stonemen. Zach Kozlowski, Dan Wnuk and Tim Biron each had two hits. Dean Haase, Wnuk and Biron each scored twice.
West Bend now leads the Western Division standings with a 7-1 record. Pewaukee is 8-2, and the Brookfield Bulldogs are 8-3. The Brookfield Blue Sox are 6-4, tied with Lannon. Merton, winners of a forfeit on June 15 against Menomonee Falls, is 5-4. The top six teams make the postseason playoffs.
Sussex is 6-5 and hosts Hartland at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field at 1 p.m. June 22. Lannon hosts Menomonee Falls at Joecks Field at the same time.
Sussex Cardinals shut out Hartland; Lannon doesn't play
Sussex player/manager Cory Gasper handed the ball to the team's seasoned veteran, Travis Thompson, on Sunday, June 22 at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field.
The Cardinals improved to 7-5 with a 4-0 victory against the Oilers (3-8).
Sussex scored once in the bottom of the third inning. Former Hartland player Nick Schreiber tripled to lead off the inning. Ryan Weissman hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Gasper walked and stole second base, but the next two batters, Tanner Johnson and Scott Carberry, were retired, ending the inning.
Ben Kaebisch singled to begin the bottom of the third inning. He moved to second on a groundout by Bryan Laabs and advanced to third on a wild pitch from Hartland starter Shane Browning. Seth Kroenke lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, putting the Cardinals in front 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinals scored two more runs as Laabs and Kroenke scored. Laabs singled and Kroenke walked. A wild pitch and a catcher's throwing error put both veterans in scoring position. Schreiber singled thereafter.
Thompson pitched a complete game. He didn't walk anyone and struck out nine.
Chad Dibb had four hits for Hartland.
"Travis was in command and was never really ever threatened," Gasper said. "Other then Dibb, they weren't able to do much offensively, and they also struggled defensively, which helped us."
The Cardinals host the Lannon Stonemen on the Friday, July 4, at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field. On Sunday, July 6, the Cardinals are at McCoy Field against the Brookfield Bulldogs. Both games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
"These upcoming games are important for us," Gasper said.
Lannon was unable to get Joecks Field ready by 1 p.m. due to wet field conditions. Bruce Mayer said the field was playable by 3 p.m., but Menomonee Falls, which has forfeited twice already this season, was unable to field a team at that late starting time.
"Menomonee Falls has had a lot of trouble coming up with players," Mayer said. "We didn't want to make them forfeit. I thought it was better to just come up with a makeup date. They're in a tough spot right now without leadership, and have been in the league a long time. Hopefully once the high school season is over, they'll be able to pick up some more ball players."
Lannon is currently tied with the Brookfield Blue Sox at 6-4. Pewaukee is leading the Land O' Lakes Western Division at 10-2 and West Bend 7-Up has a 7-2 record. The Brookfield Bulldogs are 9-3.
The Stonemen play at Nixon Park in Hartland at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 6.
Mayer congratulated the Hall of Fame Induction of Dave Wnuk, one of the top sluggers in the 1980s and 90s.
"Dave was an outstanding player and person, and is certainly deserving of the Hall of Fame," Mayer said. "We've actually got a bunch of guys that will be coming up like Ron (Kozlowski), Barze (Jim Barwick), Tim Olszewski and, of course, Scotty (Scott Doffek)."
The Hall of Fame Banquet is scheduled for Thursday, June 26.
Western Division All-Stars dominate
Pewaukee was home to the 2014 Land O' Lakes All-Star game between the Western Division and the visiting Southwestern Division.
And members of the host team ended up being standouts.
Nick Wichser, the shortstop for the defending LOL Grand Champion Muskies, collected three hits in as many at bats. The Western Division clubbed the Southwestern Division 14-3 on June 29 at Tom Kopecky Field.
Former Pewaukee player/manager Kurt Sarcia had two hits for the Western Division. Brock Goetzke also had two hits for the home team. Goetzke, a former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh player, had five runs batted in on two hits. Sussex centerfielder Bryan Laabs added two hits for the Western Division.
Adam Dominick, another Muskies' player was the winning pitcher for the Western Division. He won in relief of Merton hurler Sam Mulkey. Johnny Arnold of the Brookfield Blue Sox, Don August of Menomonee Falls, Greg Basthemer of the Brookfield Bulldogs and Nick Erd of Lannon also were called on for mound duty.
Brian Henschel of Burlington was the starting pitcher for the Southwestern Division. He was tagged with the loss after three innings of duty. Kyle Schmoker of the Ixonia Snappers, Keith Koehn of the Genesee Rebels and Matt Burke of the North Prairie Dawgs also pitched for the road team.
Aaron Benz of the Oconomowoc Titans scored twice for the Southwestern Division. Justin Yute of Dousman was the only player to collect two hits for the Southwestern Division. Koehn had a hit and a run scored.
Scott Blakeway was the manager of the Southwestern Division. Brent Williams, the player/manager of the Dousman Frogs and Pat Leslie of the Oconomowoc Titans were assistant coaches.
Western Division leadership came from West Bend 7-Up manager Craig Larsen. Mike Wichser of Pewaukee and Jake Calmes of North Lake provided assistance.
LOL playoff picture getting clearer
With just five weeks remaining in the 2014 Land O' Lakes Western Division regular season, the race for the six-league playoff berths appears to have just seven teams left in serious competition.
Going into this week's double round of games on Friday (July 4) and Sunday, Pewaukee leads the 12-team standings with a 10-3 mark. It is followed by the Brookfield Bulldogs at 9-3, West Bend at 8-3, Lannon 7-4, Brookfield Blue Sox 6-4, Sussex 7-5, Merton 5-5, North Lake 4-7, Oconomowoc 4-8, Hartland 3-8, Monches 3-9 and Menomonee Falls 2-9.
Currently, Sussex, last year's regular season champion, holds down the sixth and final playoff spot. It has a two-game lead over Merton in the win column, but the two teams are tied in the loss column. Oconomowoc and North Lake are longshots to make the playoff field.
The ultimate goal of the league's teams each year is to gain the top two seeds for the playoffs, which will begin Saturday, Aug. 9. The top two seeds earn first-round byes.
With three double weekends still to be played, pitching depth will play a key role. And that's where Pewaukee appears to have the upper hand. With the trio of Eric Schmitz, Adam Dominick and Brock Guetzke, the Muskies have arguably three of the top four pitchers in the league.
The Muskies also have perhaps the best offensive lineup in the league. Led by the trio of Kurt Sarcia, Nick Wichser and Guetzke, there isn't an easy out in the order.
West Bend was sailing along with a seven-game winning streak before suffering a huge upset at North Lake last week. The 7-Up put together an impressive run before getting knocked off by the Lakers. Pitching is solid at West Bend, and the offense is anchored by sluggers Mike Mueller and Billy Bynum.
The Bulldogs have been one of the most-consistent teams in the league for a bunch of years. Greg Basthemer is the backbone of the pitching staff, and Ryan Hinz, Kris Franzen and Scott Booth are reliable hitters for Brookfield.
Lannon, the biggest surprise in the league this summer, has gone 7-3 since losing to Pewaukee in the season opener. The Stonemen have gotten solid pitching from Nick Erd and Troy Kenkel, and the return of veteran catcher Dean Haase has bolstered the offense.
The Brookfield Blue Sox have a combination of veterans and youth that has worked well the last two seasons. John Arnold has been rock-solid on the mound, and veteran sluggers Pat Tobiasz and Bill Posteluk give the Blue Sox some punch.
Sussex, after dominating the regular season last year, has been struggling lately. Cory Gasper has taken over the managing position after catcher Scott Carberry gave up the job two weeks ago.
Merton is still very much in the race. Sam Mulkey is one of the top pitchers in the league, and Chris Price and Taylor Meyer lead the offense.
North Lake has made some big improvements this year, and Matt Gaberino is pitching well. Oconomowoc appears to be back on track after getting off to an uncharacteristic slow start. Hartland is another improved team very capable of scoring a big upset. Monches has three wins but has lost twice by a single run and one more game by two runs.
Menomonee Falls, after making the playoffs last year, has forfeited twice this season. Its status for the rest of the season is uncertain.
Noon Friday, July 4
Pewaukee at Hartland
1 p.m. Friday, July 4
Brookfield Blue Sox at Brookfield Bulldogs
North Lake at Monches
Lannon at Sussex
Menomonee Falls at West Bend
Merton at Oconomowoc
1 p.m. Sunday, July 6
Sussex at Brookfield Bulldogs
Brookfield Blue Sox at North Lake
Merton at West Bend
Monches at Oconomowoc
Menomonee Falls at Pewaukee
Lannon at Hartland
Three late runs enough for Sussex against Lannon
Dean Haase hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning at Tetzlaff/Veterans Field on The Fourth of July, but it wasn't enough against the host Cardinals.
Sussex defeated the Stonemen in a Land O'Lakes Western Division game, 6-3. The Cardinals scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 standoff that lasted from the fourth inning onward.
With one out, Nick Ghelfi walked, and Ryan Hernandez pinch-ran. Tanner Johnson singled ahead of Scott Carberry, who also had a base hit. Chris Kornowski, recently added to the Sussex roster, pinch ran for Carberry. After a single by Nick Schreiber and a flyout from Bryan Laabs, Seth Kroenke hit a two-run ground rule double.
The Cardinals tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kroenke walked and Todd Johnson doubled. After Ryan Weissman was hit by a pitch, Cory Gasper and Ghelfi walked, forcing home runners. Tanner Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Weissman.
Lannon's other run in the first inning came from a walk and a stolen base by Nick Erd and a run-scoring single from Zach Kozlowski.
Travis Thompson pitched all nine innings for the Cardinals. He gave up six hits and three walks, striking out eight. Troy Kenkel was the pitcher of record for Lannon. He also allowed six hits to go along with five walks and two strikeouts.
Kroenke finished the game with three hits for the Cardinals. Adam Bigus went 3-for-3 for the Stonemen.
Both teams exited Tetzlaff/Veterans Field with five losses after the holiday game.
Dogfight doesn't go Cardinals' way
Sussex Cardinals manager Cory Gasper was all but positive he wasn't going to get the official box score sent from Brookfield in any way, shape or form. Not after what transpired July 6 at McCoy Field.
The Sussex Land O'Lakes baseball team was in a dogfight against the Brookfield Bulldogs, but that's nothing new when these two get together.
In the top of the ninth and the Cardinals trailing, 3-0, Nick Schreiber was batting and entered into an argument with Bulldogs' catcher Jeff Lueck, who felt Schreiber was trying to draw a hit-by-pitch. Schreiber didn't like whatever was said and gave a small head butt to Lueck's mask.
And then everyone got into the fracas.
"Schreiber and Lueck got into it, and then the benches cleared," said Gasper, the Cardinals' player/manager. "I've never seen anything like it. It's the first time I've ever witnessed a bench clearing in Land O'Lakes when I played. The teams don't like each other to start with, but this got pretty ugly."
As for Schreiber's work on the mound, things went pretty well, Gasper said.
"He pitched well. They only had one legitimate hit," Gasper said.
After Schreiber was ejected, Nick Ghelfi had to come up to bat with two strikes. The veteran delivered with a run-scoring base hit. Ben Kaebisch, who singled, came home on the play for the Cardinals' only run with two outs.
"It was a tough situation Ghelfi was put into, but he came through," Gasper said.
Seth Kroenke had three hits for the Cardinals. Ben Kaebisch also had a hit in the ninth inning for Sussex.
Greg Basthemer was the winning pitcher for the Bulldogs (11-3 in the LOL Western Division).
"We've had success against him in the past, and at times, he's shut us down," Ghelfi said. "On Sunday, he shut us down."
Others simply scratched their heads after this one.
"I'm really not 100 percent sure what led up to the garbage that went on," Sussex outfielder Bryan Laabs said. "It's an intense rivalry, and bottom line, we didn't do enough offensively to win."
The Cardinals (8-6) are currently sixth, sitting in the final LOL West playoff spot with four games remaining. Sussex is at Merton (5-7) on July 12 and at North Lake (5-8) on July 13.