Clintonville takes thirdBy:
Morgan Rode [email protected]
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode
Bonduel’s Aaron Margelofsky, right, swings at a pitch against New London at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode
Bonduel’s Joey Wagester delivers a pitch against New London at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode
Clintonville’s Logan Liesenfelder heads to first base against Freedom at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.
The Diamond Cat Tournament in Clintonville had it all, from pitching duels and clutch hits to three-hour marathons and everything in between.
But in the end of the eight team, double elimination tournament, it was a tiebreaker that was used to declare Bonduel the champions over New London.
Championship games were supposed to be played Saturday, but with Bonduel set to play its third game and New London its fourth on a day the temperature was around 90, the decision was made to put the winner-take-all game off to Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, for a second time since the start of tournament, the weather had other plans. Early morning rain and thunderstorms cancelled the game, which led to the tiebreaker of head-to-head runs being used.
Bonduel outscored New London 10-7 between the two games the teams played to win the tiebreaker.
“We have a group of young men that are very passionate about baseball,” said Bonduel coach Jason Boldt. “They come to play every game. It’s fun to coach because they are not only talented but they have strong baseball IQ.”
The first game between the teams took place Saturday morning, with Bonduel earning a 6-2 win behind a strong pitching outing from Isaac Boldt.
The Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead with a two-run first. New London responded with a run in its half of the first before Bonduel got the run back in the fourth on an Aaron Margelofsky RBI single.
New London again had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, but Bonduel bounced back with a two-run fifth before adding an insurance run in the seventh.
Isaac Boldt handled things from the mound, working out of trouble in a few innings to finish the game and earn the win.
“My defense helped me out a lot today,” Isaac Boldt said. I was able to hit my spots and when they hit the ball somewhere on the field, our players were making the plays to get the outs. Big props to them today.”
After New London eliminated Clintonville, it set up a rematch with Bonduel.
Despite coming up short in a 5-4 final, Bonduel’s rally in the later innings proved to be the difference with the tiebreaker eventually being used.
New London grabbed a 5-0 through three innings, but Bonduel clawed its way back as Grizzlies pitcher Joey Wagester found a groove on the mound.
Dylan Burch’s double cleared the bases to bring Bonduel within two runs in the sixth. Noah Beilfuss then came through with a RBI single in the seventh to cut Bonduel’s deficit to one, but New London was able to strand runners at first and second to end the game.
Bonduel opened the tournament with a back-and-forth 14-8 victory over Shawano on June 26. The Grizzlies then knocked off Clintonville 2-0 behind a gem from Beilfuss on Friday.
After running into some trouble in the sixth and seventh innings, Beilfuss induced two double-play groundballs to thwart the rallies and eventually finish off the shutout.
“They were huge. I left the ball down the middle a little bit and they ended up hitting it but I got a great defense behind me, so once I knew the ball was on the ground, I knew they were going to turn it,” Beilfuss said. “It gets the crowd pumped, it gets me pumped and it gets our team pumped and creates a really good atmosphere to play ball in. It was just awesome when they made those plays.”
“Our pitching staff is tremendous,” said coach Boldt after the tournament. “We have three guys that are legitimate No. 1s on most teams. I’m very confident in whatever pitcher I have toeing the slab that they will keep us in the ballgame.”
Clintonville learned plenty about itself while coming in third. The Diamond Cats came from behind in a pair of wins over Oconto Falls and ended up going 3-2.
“I learned a lot about the team because we had some guys gone on vacation and working,” said coach Randy Finger. “We saw some things out of guys who maybe don’t get as much playing time, a lot of guys really stood up this week. It shows the character of these guys after being down five or six and being able to battle back. Even in our losses, I saw a lot of good things.”
Clintonville opened tournament play by scoring six unanswered runs to overcome a three-run deficit and pick up a 7-4 victory over Oconto Falls on June 26. Brock Smejkal came through with a two-RBI triple and two-run double in the win.
After being shutout by Bonduel, Clintonville faced Oconto Falls again, but this time with the loser being eliminated.
Oconto Falls led 6-1 before Clintonville began its comeback.
After scoring twice in the sixth, the hosts scored three more times in the seventh to tie the game. The seventh-inning rally included a RBI single from Colton Kluth and a two-RBI single by Jacob Viergutz.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the 10th inning. Clintonville’s first three batters reached before Presley Rosenow came through with the clutch hit, singling to right field to score the game-winning run.
“I was just looking for contact,” Rosenow said after the win. “This was a win or go home situation and we just want to keep this streak going for playoffs.”
In a Saturday morning elimination game against Freedom, Clintonville scored five runs between the first and second innings and coasted to a 5-0 win. Kluth earned the win on the mound after pitching five innings. Viergutz covered the final two.
Clintonville finally ran out of pitching options in a 14-6 elimination loss to New London.
New London jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two innings before Clintonville scored four in times in the third, including a two-RBI double by Smejkal and solo homer from Klay Finger. New London took control for good by scoring the next five runs.
Despite an 0-2 record in the tournament, coach Kobey Pues liked what he saw from his team.
“Winning is a lot more fun but the kids are having some fun right now and they loose in the dugout and not all uptight,” he said. “There’s some promise we can get from here, the game is fun again.”
In the June 26 loss to Bonduel, Shawano rallied from a four-run deficit and briefly held a 6-5 lead before Bonduel pulled away for good.
Shawano was eliminated in a 7-2 loss to Oconto Falls on Friday.
After Oconto Falls grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Shawano came right back with a run of its own to tie the game. Kris Krause scored on a groundout by Wylee Springborn.
Shawano then pulled ahead when Krause singled home Nick Grignon in the third inning. Oconto Falls answered with five runs in the fourth and another in the sixth to pull away for the win.
Leader intern Molly Gretzlock contributed to this story.