Seeing as this was supposed to be a home game for Oak Creek but was sent back to Menomonee Falls because of wet grounds on the south side, Falls coach Pat Hansen wondered if the harrowing, 4-3 victory the Indians pulled over the Knights Tuesday night counted as a home win.
"Because almost all of our recent wins against these guys have come on the road," he said. "We haven't done too well here recently against them (on our home field of Trenary)."
But because Hansen had steely sophomore ace in the hole Ty Weber, the Indians were able to earn an important win, regardless of whether it was counted as a home game or not.
Weber improved to 5-0 on the season with a gritty effort. The Knights (13-4 overall), tagged him for 10 hits, but Weber was able to strand a lot of runners with 12 timely strikeouts against just two walks.
"This team hit him harder than just about anybody has this year," said Hansen, "but a good sign for a young pitcher is that he was still able to compete without his best stuff."
And Weber had to compete hard in the seventh. He struck out the first Oak Creek batter, but then the Knights' Matt Hargreaves singled and the dangerous Doran Turchin walked.
Then after as long conference on the mound, Weber plunked Mitch Hart with the very next pitch to load the bases with only one out.
"I just tried not to think about all that too much," said Weber. "I just thoight about getting the next out. I knew I had a good defense behind me."
Weber then got Matt Hamilton to foul out to the first baseman and then got Mitch Makarewicz to strike out to secure the come-from-behind win.
Weber struck out the last batter of the inning four of the last five frames including the last three in a row.
"Strikeouts, especially at the end of innings are such stress relievers for a defense," said Hansen. "The defense can relax a little."
With the win, Falls improved to 9-5 in the Greater Metro Conference and 12-8 overall. The Indians won their third league game in a row and fifth out of their last six.
Meanwhile, Oak Creek lost its second straight GMC tilt in a row (11-3) and fell into a tie with Marquette for second, two games behind in the loss column to league-leading Brookfield Central.
"Just bad baseball two games in a row," said Knight coach Scott Holler. "You can't walk the bottom of the order and you can't give away two tailor-made doubleplay balls in a row."
What Holler was referring to was the fifth inning, when the Knights were nursing a 3-1 lead. Starter Jesse Sustachek walked the Indians' Lukas Kell amd then Falls catcher Jordan Richardson hit a little flare to right to put two men on.
After Adam Vechart sacrificed the runners over, Sustachek (three strikeouts and two walks) walked Zach Kornburger to load the bases with just one out.
But Sustachek looked like he might get out of it when the Indians' Tommy Wolf hit a groundball right to the Knights' second baseman.
However, instead of an inning-ending doiubleplay, the ball skidded off his glove into short rightfield as two runs scored to tie the game.
Then the next batter Weber came up and hit a medium roller to short, which was dropped as the lead run came into score.
That's when Weber went to work in earnest. He let a runner get to second in the fifth but struck out the next two batters to end the frame.
In the sixth, Sustachek hit a double of his own with one out, but again Weber struck the last two batters, both of them looking.
Weber, who throws a fastball, a curve and change-up effectively said he went with more curveballs at the end because they seemed to be working better.
That set up the drama in the seventh.
Oak Creek reached Weber for all three of its runs in the third as Hamilton and Turchin both knocked in runs. But Weber got the last man out on a strikeout of course. Richardson did help him in the frame by catching a man stealing.
Weber doubled in the fourth as Dan Dahlke eventually scored Wolf with Falls' first run on an RBI ground-out.
The game got away from Oak Creek.
"We just did a lot of things you just could not do," said Holler. "We waved at a pitch that was in our eyes with one out and the bases loaded and popped out (in the seventh).
"And once again, we lost to a good pitcher. We have 13 wins which is nice, but we have four losses all against good pitchers. Somehow, we just freeze up in that situation (against the better pitchers)."
Hansen is happy that his experience-thin team is starting to find a way as both Richardson and Weber had two hits each.
"We put the bat on the ball and were aggressive on the bases," he said. "We had runners on when we hit those groundballs (in the fifth) and that helped us.
"It was just a good all-around team game, especially after falling behind 3-0 to a top team. In that situation, it's good to come out with a 'W'."
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