Second baseman Derek Johnson and the rest of the Menomonee Falls baseball team know that the Indians don't need a lot of runs when they have sophomore ace Ty Weber on the mound.
But Tuesday afternoon in their Greater Metro Conference Tournament quarterfinal game with West Allis Hale, the Indians cut it a little close.
Despite a 10-strikeout, one walk, three-hit shutout effort, Weber was still not in line for the win going into the bottom of the seventh.
But an error, a sacrifice and a sharply struck RBI single by Johnson later, Falls made Weber a winner with a 1-0 decision.
"Basically, it was one of those games where there weren't a whole lot of hard hit balls," said Indian coach Pat Hansen. "We didn't hit and they didn't hit. They committed just one error but we took advantage of it and that was the ballgame."
With the win, the Indians improved to 17-9 on the season. It was their first game in a week and the victory advanced them to a GMC semifinal Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. back at Brookfield Central against GMC regular season co-champ Marquette (22-5). The Hilltoppers beat West Allis Central, 6-1, in their quarterfinal.
Falls has now won four in a row, six of its last seven and seven of its last nine.
But it did not come easily against Hale junior Mials McMurray who also lost a hard-luck 3-2 decision to the Indians back on June 17. He struck out five with four walks and allowed just five hits.
He got out of a couple of mini-jams, including one in the fourth, when the Indians picked up a pair of two-out singles, but then a ground-out to short got McMurray out of trouble.
But Weber didn't give the Hale offense a chance, putting down the side in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Huskie coach Paul Dooley knew as good as his man was, he was slightly overmatched on the hill with Weber on the other side.
"Mials has had a great year," he said. "But he's drawn the tough assignment every time. Falls twice, Brookfield Central, Oak Creek, Marquette. He's only 2-5 on the year but his ERA is under 3.00. With him on the mound, we're confident we can win every time."
But against Weber, ther equation changes a bit.
"The thing is, Mials doesn't throw as hard as Weber (McMurray comes in at about 78 miles an hour with his fastball)," added Dooley. "Ty can come in at around 84 and he has that great curve which makes it really, really hard for everybody."
That led Dooley to take some chances.
"The first three, four innings we had guys on base," he said. "We even tried a squeeze in the fourth, which I never do. We couldn't get the bunt down and our guy was out at the plate."
Which left an opening for Falls.
Adam Vechart opened the seventh with a groundball to short, but the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag and he was safe. Josh Zahn followed that with a perfect sacrifice to get Vechart to second.
That brought up Johnson who hit a sharp linedrive to left-center on the third pitch he saw. Vechart hesitated for a second and then took off like a shot. There was a throw home but it was late and Vechart slid in with the gamewinner.
"He (McMurray) threw me two curveballs right away which I really couldn't handle," said Johnson, "and then I got lucky and he threw me a fastball which I was able to turn on. Adam froze for a second and then he must have thought 'I better run'."
Vechart, the football team's quarterback in the fall and an ace long sprinter for the track team, got the job done easily.
"Adam hesitated, which is what he should have done to make sure the ball got down," said Hansen. "He wound up running it correctly. It turned out we had the right guy at second, somebody who was heady, somebody with some speed."
Weber needed only 78 pitches to shut out the Huskies as he improved to 7-0 on the season.
Johnson said the confidence is rising with the team and it sky-rockets with Weber on the hill.
"Oh definitely it does," said Johnson. "When he (Weber) gets going, he's dominant, and he's just a sophomore. I can't wait to see him when he's a senior.
"We're really getting into a rhyhm. We've been able to win a couple in a row now and when we're playing well we feel we can beat anybody. We get the pitching and a little hitting we can go pretty far."
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