By Steve Pilz
For Zaleski Sports
HAUGEN - After dispatching the Chaseburg-Coon Valley Blues 8-7 on Saturday, the Marshfield Chaparrals amateur baseball team used a familiar formula Sunday afternoon to defeat the Haugen Hornets 10-2 to advance to their second-straight Wisconsin Baseball Association State Tournament to be held at Marshfield’s Jack Hackman Stadium next weekend.
The formula? Strong pitching and timely hitting, which has carried the Chaps all season long. And, according to their starting pitcher, some pretty good defense too.
Bobby Pilz toed the rubber to start the championship game for the Chaps and summed up his team’s win.
“I kept the walks down today (three), the defense made a lot of solid plays (just one error) and I didn’t hit anyone,” said Pilz, who won his third game of the season and his 18th as a Chaparral player against eight losses.
Pilz cruised unscathed into the seventh before a walk and a double got the Hornets their first run, chasing the him from the game. Pilz finished his six-inning stint by allowing just one run on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He coaxed 10 fly ball outs.
“We played as a team all weekend and that’s why we’re still playing,” concluded Pilz.
And then the pitching got even stronger.
Nathan Krommenakker got Pilz out of his mini-jam with a strikeout, a come-backer ground out and a fly out to first to end the threat. The Chaps still led 3-1.
As for the timely hitting, that started in the first inning when Luke Wirtz lifted a sacrifice fly ball to the outfield with one out to give the Chaps a 1-0 lead.
Wirtz walked with one out in the fourth and scored on a two-out single by Riley Boushak. Garret Huber started the fifth with a single and moved to second on Isaiah Bairel’s single. Two outs later, Huber scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Trailing 3-1, the Hornets did get an unearned run in the eighth. Taking advantage of the Chaps’ only error, the Hornets subsequently swiped a couple bases and scored their second run with a sacrifice fly making it 3-2.
Then the Chaps celebrated a bit.
Nathan Krommenakker hit the first pitch in the bottom of the eighth about 390 feet. When it landed, it pushed the Chaps’ lead to 4-2. His brother Caleb belted a double and Wirtz reached on an error. After a fly out, Will Lee had an RBI single. Boushak walked and Shawn O’Connell drilled a two-RBI single. Huber’s single plated Boushak, and Nathan Krommenakker’s second hit of the inning scored two more after it nestled at the base of the centerfield wall for a double, upping Marshfield’s advantage to 10-1.
With the game in the bag, Krommenakker allowed a walk in the ninth before striking out a pair and getting a fly ball to right field to end it. He picked up the save on three innings of work, surrendered an unearned run with two walks and four strikeouts.
Haugen left seven runners on base and the Chaparrals just five.
“We did a great job all weekend of producing runs,” said Chaparrals manager Luke Wirtz. “One through nine in our order in both games were tough outs. Pitchers did a good job mixing pitches and throwing strikes to let the defense make plays.”
The 12-team state tournament will be held Aug. 20-22 with games to be played in both Merrill and Marshfield. The championship game is scheduled for next Sunday in Marshfield at 4 p.m.
Chaparrals 10, Hornets2
Haugen 001 000 100 - 2 4 2
Marshfield 100 110 07x - 10 11 1
WP: Bobby Pilz. LP: Christian Lindau. SV: Nathan Krommenakker.
SO: Lindau (7 1/3 inn.) 3, Cole McDermott (2/3 inn.) 1; Pilz (6 inn.) 4, N. Krommennakker 4. BB: Lindau 3, McDermott 1; Pilz 3, N. Krommenakker 2.
Top hitters: M, N. Krommenakker 2x4, 2B, HR, 3 RBIs; Garret Huber 2x4, RBI; Caleb Krommenakker 2x5, 2B; Luke Wirtz 1x2, RBI; Shawn O’Connell 1x4, 2 RBIs; Riley Boushak 1x3, RBI; Will Lee 1x3, RBI.
Records: Haugen not reported. Marshfield 15-12.