Title celebrations put on hold as Franklin nicks Falls in GMC thriller
Indians still looking for outright crown
Menomonee Falls - The 3-2 loss the Menomonee Falls baseball team suffered to two-time defending state champion Franklin on June 28 was a precursor to the upcoming WIAA state tournament series.
A playoff game already in the mind of Indians' coach Pat Hansen.
Not only did it break Falls' nine-game winning streak and forestall the Indians' outright clinching of the regular season Greater Metro Conference title until Monday's game against Marquette (see Menomonee FallsNOW.com for details) but it gave Hansen and the Indians an idea of how small the margin of error will be in what is anticipated to be a very competitive GMC and later WIAA tournament series.
"It very much was a typical playoff game," he said. "We played fairly well, but we made some critical mistakes. One of their runs was a home run on a 1-2 pitch and their other two runs I think were started by leadoff walks.
"But playoffs are like that. You can't make a mental mistake and get away with it."
Falls went into that Monday game at home against Marquette (8-11, 11-12) with a 16-3 GMC record and a 22-3 overall mark.
If they won, they clinched the title outright. If they lost, they will tie with Oak Creek, which finished its regular season at 16-4 and 18-5 overall. The Indians are trying to secure the top seed in the GMC tourney, which was slated to start on Tuesday and continue Thursday and conclude Friday. Falls would continue to host games as long as it won.
Further, the Indians did secure the top seed in the WIAA Cedarburg Sectional. They will get a first-round bye and host the winner of Slinger and Whitefish Bay in a July 13 WIAA regional final game.
"Every year our goal is to win the sectional and get to state," said Hansen. "In the long run, the seeding doesn't really matter all that much. It's nice to get it and the bye is important, but you still have to win on the field, because anything can happen on any day."
This was evident against Franklin. The Sabers (11-8, 14-9) lost to last-place West Allis Central on June 25, but have since knocked off both Oak Creek and Falls.
Franklin ace Evan Kruczynski allowed only two hits with 11 strikeouts and four walks against Falls. Falls scored in the first to take the lead and then again in the sixth to tie the score at 2-2. But Franklin pushed across a tally in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead.
Kruczynski struck out his final batter in the top of the seventh with Falls' runners on first and third and two out.
Brett Krause did not pitch badly for the Indians, scattering five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Falls 7, West Allis Central 1: Brendan Paule had three strikeouts and two walks over six innings of work in this June 26 win. It was a 2-1 game until the Indians scored five times in the fifth. Justin Johnson had two hits including a double while Joel Zyhowski had two hits and three RBIs.
Falls 5, West Allis Hale 1: It was the Troy Kenkel show in this June 25 triumph. He allowed only two hits with two strikeouts and one walk, looking "dominant" at times, Hansen said. He also had three hits, too. Kenkel got help from Johnson, who had three hits and two RBIs.
The Indians broke the game open with a three-run sixth.
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