Menomonee Falls baseball team plays spoiler in GMC by beating Brookfield Central
Sophomores Weber, Schwechel come up big
No longer a young team, though the talented battery on display was all sophomores, the still youthful Menomonee Falls baseball team threw a big monkey wrench into the Greater Metro Conference race July 1 with an efficient and stunning 5-2 win over league leader Brookfield Central.
Sophomore ace pitcher Ty Weber held in check his second strong lineup in a row (after defeating Oak Creek last week) using a change of speed to strike out six and induce lazy flyball after flyball.
Meanwhile, his catcher, fellow sophomore Josh Schwechel, hit a two-run double to right-center off Lancer ace Elijah Goodman in the second inning to give the Indians a 2-1 lead they would not surrender.
"We feel now that in the second round of (the conference season) we're working together better," Schwechel said. "We know what everything is all about now."
And Schwechel also liked what he saw out of his pitcher, who he has been catching since they were about 10 years old.
"His off-speed stuff was just terrific tonight," he said of Weber. "I just love working with him."
All told, the victory was the fourth in a row for the Indians and their seventh in their nine. In their last regular season home game, they finished at 12-6 in Greater Metro contests, one more win than they had last year with a much more experienced line-up, and 16-9 overall.
They will now be off until the GMC tourney back at Central, July 8-10. The Indians played West Allis Hale in a quarterfinal on Tuesday, July 8, and if advancing, would have likely played top-seeded and league regular season co-champ Marquette in a semifinal on Wednesday, July 9. The title game is Thursday, July 10 at 5:30 p.m. back at Central.
After the win over the Lancers, Indian coach Pat Hansen almost wishes the Indians could have kept playing.
"I think that was our best effort of the year," he said. "We put together one really nice inning (the four-run second). We got clutch hits, and though Ty was not his best, he kept the ball down and he battled.
"We talk about competing, because these are the games you remember."
Central went on to be no-hit by Oak Creek on July 3, dropping them into third in the regular season standings (14-4) as Marquette and Creek tied for the regular season title at 15-3 each.
Central had ace Elijah Goodman on the mound against Falls, and his offense scratched out a second inning run for a 1-0 lead against Weber. The rally got its start with a Luke Sommerfeld infield single, which Weber exacerbated with a throwing error that put Sommerfeld at second.
A ground out and a wild pitch brought Sommerfeld home, and Central had the lead.
But it was short-lived.
Goodman, who paces a powerful staff, had trouble with his location this night, and the Indians made him pay. Tommy Wolf started the second with a double, and after a walk to Lukas Kell, Schwechel ripped his game-changing two-bagger.
"It was a fastball right down the middle; I really couldn't believe it," he said.
He added that the Indians were not intimidated by Goodman or the Lancers.
"We knew pretty much what was coming, and we've seen fast pitching before, when we faced Sommerfeld (and lost 12-2 on June 13)," Schwechel said. "We definitely got going that inning."
Goodman, who threw 36 pitches that frame, continued to labor as Indian centerfielder Michael Bowe put down a perfect bunt that went for a hit. After a walk to Falls shortstop Zach Kornburger, the bases were loaded with none out.
The Indians didn't blow open the game at that point, but they did take advantage of the situation, as after a fielder's choice, Goodman walked Falls' second baseman Derek Johnson to force in a run.
After that, Weber rocketed a line-drive that hit Goodman. Goodman recovered to get the out but a run scored. He would stay in the game.
Falls was up 4-1 at that point and was in firm control.
"It was unlike him not to have pinpoint control," said Central coach Jeff Bigler of Goodman. "He continued to work, but he just wasn't as sharp as he could have been. I was proud of him for battling though."
Goodman got one of the runs back in the third with an RBI double, but then Weber struck out the last two batters in the frame to end the threat.
The key play after that came in the fourth. Central's Josh Peltier singled with one out, and then Ben Gebhard singled right after him. The Indians didn't get the ball in as quickly as they could have, and Gebhard tried to stretch his hit into a double.
But an 8-5-4 relay was completed as Johnson slapped the tag on the hustling Gebhard just before he got to the second base bag.
Instead of second and third with one out, the Lancers had a man on third with two out. Another Weber strikeout ended the threat.
Both coaches agreed it was the play of the game.
"We thought he was in," Bigler said, "but whether or not we thought we were on the wrong side of a few calls, we didn't quite do enough tonight."
"To go from second and third with one out to just a runner on third with two out was just huge," Hansen said.
Weber made sure of that, as he put down eight in a row, including five flyballs in a row at one point, all three to Bowe in the fifth.
Josh Zahn hit an RBI double in the fourth to provide Falls with an insurance run, and a one-out single in the seventh by Central's Gebhard was rendered harmless by a Weber strikeout and a dandy catch in short right by Johnson.
"We had some quality swings, but they weren't enough," Bigler said.
Hansen praised the work of Bowe in center and of Johnson and Kornburger. Overall, he was very happy with the defense as Weber's throwing error in the first was the only miscue of the evening.
"We definitely made the plays tonight," Hansen said. "... Absolutely this was a big one. All the positives we can take out of this. Now we know we can beat anybody right now.
"From the standpoint of on any day if we do the things we're supposed to, we can beat anyone. We've beaten Marquette, Oak Creek and now Central. No one swept us this year."
And it's looking like no one will.
Falls 6, Brookfield East 2: On a June 30 night when almost everybody else got rained out, the Indians got in this game, scoring five runs in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit as Tommy Wolf continued his strong pitching, shutting out the Spartans over the last four innings while striking out five and walking one.
Falls only had six hits but maximized their impact as Weber had two hits and an RBI, and Daniel Dahlke had a hit and scored a run.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Manchester was a giant in world of Menomonee Falls athletics
- Six-run fourth lifts Menomonee Falls to semifinal win over Pewaukee
- Falls baseball team routs Franklin for state championship
- Battle-tested Menomonee Falls confident heading into state tourney
- Baseball: Nothing fazes Falls as Indians head to state for first time since 2008
- Menomonee Falls baseball team turns to Gile again, survives regional test
- Baseball: Gile rescues Falls again in 4-3 regional win over Whitefish Bay
- Confident Menomonee Falls baseball team wins GMC tourney title
- WIAA state summer baseball tourney is anyone's guess
- Menomonee Falls girls soccer team honors many after banner season