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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Badgers fall in sectional final

Terry Mayer/The Week
Colter Beck rounding third base during Badger's 11-8 loss to Kenosha Bradford
By Eric Steurer/Contributor

Badger High School's baseball season ended in familiar fashion Tuesday, losing in the WIAA Division 1 sectional finals 11-8 to Kenosha Bradford.

The familiar face was that of Sam Schissel. This time it was in relief and for a different team, though.

"I'm glad he's a senior," Badger coach Tom Uhen said after Schissel ended his team's season one game short of a trip to state for the second straight year.

Schissel, a University of Minnesota recruit, pitched a complete game shutout last year for Racine Park in the sectional finals against Badger. This year the transfer helped the Red Devils earn their first trip to state in 44 years by closing the game out with a perfect seventh inning.

Terry Mayer/The Week
Badger shortstop Clinter Andresen dives for a catch.
Badger defeated Delavan-Darien 6-4 in their semifinal game earlier in the day to set up the sectional final game against Kenosha Bradford, who defeated top-seeded Burlington.

Badger jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring all three runs with two outs.

Pitcher Rich Ecklund walked and Jordan Christner reached on an error before Colter Beck hit a single to right field. Jose Marquez, who came in as a courtesy runner for Ecklund, scored on Beck's single. Christner and Beck advanced on a passed ball and Clint Andresen drove in Christner on an infield single. Badger scored again when Thomas Larwa reached on an error, allowing Beck to score from third.

Terry Mayer/The Week
Richard Ecklund on the Mound for the Badgers.

Bradford answered back in the bottom of the first with the help of a faulty fence.

Lewer led off with a ground-rule double to left-center that went under the fence. Two batters later, Schissel hit another ground-rule double under the fence in left-center, scoring Lewer. Schissel advanced to third on Matt Richer's single and scored when Pete Djurickovic reached on an error by the first baseman. Eric Corrao hit the third ground-rule double of the inning under the fence in left-center, scoring Djurickovic.

Bradford scored two more in the bottom of the second when Lewer hit a two-out double to left-center and John Atkins reached on an infield single. Schissel drove in Lewer with a single and Richer reached on an error, scoring Atkins.

Badger took a 7-5 lead in the top of the third courtesy of three doubles in the inning by Beck, Keith Trovillion and Jorge Marquez.

Ecklund and Christner hit back-to-back singles in the top of the fourth with one out, ending Jake Loewen's day. Brenden Schulz, who relieved Loewen, walked Beck and gave up a sacrifice fly to Andresen, increasing the Badger lead to three.

The Badger defense struggled in the bottom of the fourth, allowing Bradford to tie the game before being bailed out of the inning when Corrao was caught in a rundown trying to advance to second.

More defensive miscues allowed Bradford to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Chwala led the inning off with a walk and scored when Schulz's hit was mishandled in the outfield. Schulz advanced to third on the throw home and scored on another double by Lewer.

Another breakdown by the Badger defense in the bottom of the sixth gave Bradford their last run. Andresen walked the first two batters before getting Chwala to foul out to the first baseman. The runners advanced on the next batter when Beck threw to second and no one covered the base, sending Beck's throw into center field. Lewer hit an RBI single before Lee Pankau relieved Andresen to get the last out.

Badger gave up five unearned runs in the game. "Defense let us down," Uhen said. "I like scoring eight runs, but I don't like giving up 11."

The Badger offense scored all eight of its runs off the right-hander Loewen and was unable to do any damage against the two lefties, Schulz and Schissel. Loewen went three and one-third with two walks and two strikeouts while Schulz went two and two-thirds with three walks and two strikeouts.

Ecklund pitched four and one-third innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

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