Unbeaten Menomonee Falls sophomore pitcher Ty Weber doesn't need much offensive help to get the job done.
And Wednesday night in the Indians' 2-0 WIAA regional semifinal victory over Port Washington, fast-moving, impact-making centerfielder Michael Bowe made sure Weber had enough to work with as he ripped a two-RBI single to center in the fifth.
That smack made sure that Weber's four-hit, 11-strikeout effort would not go to waste.
"I love playing for this team," Bowe said. "I just try to provide a spark and give us some confidence. That the team feeds off that is great because I think if we play like we can, we can hang with anyone out there."
With the win, the 21-10 Indians advance to a 5:30 p.m. WIAA regional final on Friday at Grafton, which was a 5-0 winner over Nicolet tonight. Both games had been postponed a day by bad weather on Tuesday.
"I thought we played a pretty good game," said Indian coach Pat Hansen. "Nothing fantastic, but a good game. We hit better than the score indicated but it went fairly well tonight."
As noted, behind Weber, the Indians don't need to do much as he threw his third shutout of the season and his second in a row.
Through six innings, he allowed only one runner to reach second and when he needed to turn on the jets he did.
In the seventh, he got a fly-out and a strikeout to start the frame, but then a nubber in no-man's land between himself and first and second allowed a Pirate runner to reach. Then the next hitter notched another infield single deep in the hole at second.
But instead of eating the ball, the Indians threw the ball around the infield a bit.
By the time the play was over, there were runners on second and third, but no matter, Weber reached back and struck out the final Pirate swinging to secure the win.
"Ty was his usual self," said Hansen. "We didn't give him much support, but he got the job done."
Weber (8-0 overall) likes how the team is playing as the Indians have won 11 of their last 13 games.
"The team feeds off good defense and big hits," he said. "I really think we're peaking at the right time," Both Bowe and fellow outfielder Tommy Wolf also made nice catches in the outfield and second baseman Derek Johnson also had a sound day.
Bowe's hit came at the right time, because Pirate sophomore pitcher Kayle Knaub was benefitting from some good defense himself.
A shoetop catch of Boyd Sansone's drive by his leftfielder with two out and two on in the fourth surely prevented the Indians from scoring at least one and maybe two runs in one instance and in the third, Knaub induced a flyout to left after Bowe hit a two-out bomb of a triple to dead-center at Trenary Park.
But the Indians finally broke through in the fifth.
Catcher Josh Schwechel beat out an infield hit to start the frame and then Lukas Kell laid down a perfect bunt between first and second and beat it out for a single of his own.
After Zach Kornburger's sacrifice bunt, up came Bowe who ripped a bullet of a single to right-center to score both Kell and courtesy runner Myles Mayer. Bowe eventually got to third and would have scored on Weber's bullet up the middle, but Knaub deflected it and was able to throw out Weber to end the inning.
Falls put on two in the sixth, but a suicide squeeze was missed and the rally failed to produce a run.
But as noted, Weber made it stand up.
He didn't want to talk much about himself afterwards, but wanted to give a shout out to Wolf, who will get the call against Grafton. If the Indians win that game, they will advance to the WIAA sectional tourney at Whitefish Bay's Cahill Park on Monday, July 21.
"The starting pitching is doing well for us," Weber said, "and everytime Tommy (Wolf) pitches we have a chance."
"We can go as far as we want," he said.
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