Wauzeka-Steuben baseball goes 2-1 prior to showdown with Seneca

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Hornets pitcher Ben Bird (41) starts his delivery while teammate Caydon Lomas (99) looks on. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Shortstop Carson Redman gets ready to field his position during a game for the Hornets. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

By Derick Kelly


Starting the week off with a good Belmont squad meant the Wauzeka-Steuben baseball team had their  work cut out for them when the Hornets hosted the Braves on Tuesday, May 2.

Belmont scored first in the top of the first inning before adding a second run in the top of the third inning to take a 2-0 lead over the hosts. That would remain the score until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Hornets scored two runs and very nearly won the game with bases loaded and only out but the Braves were able to escape the jam to send the game to extra innings. 

A leadoff walk for Belmont was wasted in the top of the eighth inning when the Braves were not able to bring the go-ahead runner in. The Hornets on the other hand, would not waste their golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth inning. A leadoff double by Seth Bunders put the Hornets in scoring position with no outs. That was followed by back-to-back intentional walks by Belmont which loaded the bases but also made a play at any bag a force out along with potentially getting multiple outs at once. That was not to be though as Bunders would race home on a Ben Bird infield single and beat the throw home to win the game 3-2 for the Hornets. 

Bird would get the win on the hill for Wauzeka after  allowing just 4 hits, no runs and 1 walk in 4.2 innings pitched while striking out 4. The Hornets were led at the plate by doubles from Bunders and Cooper Lomas while Jonah Klema and Gabe Kapinus also each collected a hit during the game. Bird had 2 RBIs while Kapinus had 1 RBI  with Bunders, Cooper Lomas, and Caydon Lomas each scoring a run.

It was a different story two days later however, as Ithaca came to town on Thursday, May 4 looking to keep themselves in the hunt for the Ridge & Valley Conference Championship race with a win. The Bulldogs did just that as they beat the host Hornets by a score of 4-1. The loss not only gave Wauzeka its first conference loss of the season, but it dropped the Hornets out of a tie with Seneca atop the conference standings and into second place. 

Ithaca pitching handcuffed Wauzeka hitting all game as Caydon Lomas and Cohen Redman were the only Hornets to have a base hit during the game. Caydon Lomas took the loss on the mound for the Hornets with 9 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk and 7 strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched. Bunders got the final two outs of the seventh inning for Wauzeka.

The win moved the Bulldogs three games back of first place in the Ridge & Valley Conference with four games to play. Two of those last four games for the Bulldogs however are against Seneca.

Wauzeka got back on the winning track on Monday, May 8 with an 11-7 win at Kickapoo. The Panthers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning with the Hornets immediately responding back by scoring seven runs in the top of the second inning. 

The seven-run outburst for Wauzeka was started by a two-run home run by Klema, who homered after Cooper Lomas lead off the inning with a walk. A double by Bird and single by Kapinus gave Wauzeka runners at the corners with no outs when a passed ball by Ithaca scored Bird and an infield error by the Bulldogs allowed Carson Redman to reach first base and Kapinus to advance to third. After Ithaca pitching got back-to-back outs but, Caydon Lomas responded with an RBI double to score Carson Redman. The double followed a passed ball by Ithaca that allowed Kapinus to score. Cohen Redman added another RBI double for the Hornets to score Caydon Lomas. Cohen Redman would come around to score after another error by the Kickapoo infield to make it 7-2 in favor of Wauzeka.

The Hornets added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning after Kapinus was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home Cohen Redman before Carson Redman doubled home Cooper Lomas and Bird. A leadoff single by Brett Wagner in the top of the seventh inning was followed by a sacrifice fly from Bunders to drive in Wagner, who had advanced to third base after an error by the Kickapoo pitcher, rounded out the scoring for the Hornets. 

Despite allowing four Panther runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hornets held on for the 11-7 win. Caydon Lomas gave up 2 hits and 2 runs (both earned) with 1 walk and 8 strikeouts in 4 innings pitched to earn the win for Wauzeka.

Next up for the Hornets, ranked sixth by the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association, was the showdown for first place in the Ridge & Valley Conference on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12. Following those two games was a trip to La Farge on Monday, May 15 and to Weston on Thursday, May 18 before ending the regular season at home on Friday, May 19 against North Crawford. Due to space issues this week, look for a recap on these games in next week's paper.

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