Up and down Menomonee Falls baseball team opportunistic in win over Oak Creek
Indians also take two in Waukesha
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 on Tuesday, June 24, 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 on the hill, the Indians were able to earn an important victory, 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.
After a 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 thought 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 victory.
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."
Falls (9-6 in GMC play and 14-9 overall) went on to have an error-filled 8-4 loss to Sussex Hamilton on Thursday, June 26, before bouncing back to win two games in the Waukesha Tournament on Saturday, June 28, beating Wauwatosa West, 6-3, as Adam Vechart turned in a six-strikeout, one-walk complete game victory in his first start of the year.
The Indians then beat Waukesha South, 13-4, as Tyler Becker threw five innings (six strikeouts and two walks) while Weber had three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs while Josh Zahn had two hits and two runs scored and Michael Bowe contributed two hits.
"I liked the way we responded after the stinker on Thursday (to Hamilton)," said Hansen of the two wins on June 28. The GMC Tourney is July 8-10 at Brookfield Central.
Meanwhile, after the June 24 loss, Oak Creek fell to 11-3 in league play.
"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 double play 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 and 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 ground ball right to the Knights' second baseman.
However, instead of an inning-ending double play, the ball skidded off his glove into short right field as two runs scored to tie the game.
Then 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 groundout.
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 ground balls (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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