Somerset baseball starts first win streak of season
The high hopes the Somerset baseball team had for 2013 haven't carried through, but the Spartans are hoping they can end their season with a flourish.
The Spartans earned their first consecutive wins of the season when they defeated Baldwin-Woodville on Monday, 7-2. That followed a 17-7 win over Unity in a tournament at Grantsburg on Saturday.
The Spartans are hoping that this two-game win streak is the start of something big. The team still has a goal of returning to the WIAA sectional tournament for the third straight year.
"We told the kids we expect them to win out," Somerset coach Brandon Kadlec said of the team's remaining five regular season games.
The Spartans weren't overwhelming against B-W, but they made the most of their chances. Kadlec said the Spartans had enough baserunners where they could be successful playing "station-to-station" baseball. The big hit generated by the offense was a two-run homer from Nate Olin that expanded the Somerset lead to 5-2.
Olin also got the pitching win. He worked the first four innings before handing the ball off to Derrick Berry, who took care of the final three innings. They combined to strike out nine B-W batters while issuing two walks.
MBC chances gone
The Spartans were hoping to be an impact player in the Middle Border Conference this season. Losing all three of their conference games last week ended any chance Somerset had of being a contender for this year's title.
The Spartans struggled mightily on defense and it weighed down the other aspects of their game in a 15-3 loss to New Richmond last Tuesday. The Spartans put up a healthy battle against defending state champion Ellsworth last Thursday, but the game got away from the Spartans in the late innings, resulting in a 7-4 Ellsworth win.
The third MBC loss of the week came on Friday when the Spartans were put away by Amery, 6-2.
The loss to New Richmond stung the Spartans, who've played close games with their rivals each of the past few years.
"We played terrible defense and had seven walks. When it rains it pours," Kadlec said.
Zac Waalen was Somerset's starting pitcher. Six of New Richmond's 15 runs were earned.
The Spartans did have their chances in this game. They left 11 runners on base, eight of them on second or third base.
Against Ellsworth the Spartans led for much of the game. Somerset scored twice in the second inning and added another in the third inning.
Ellsworth took a 4-3 lead, then extended it to 7-3 in the sixth inning.
Nate Olin pitched the complete game for the Spartans. Errors again were a big part of Somerset's downfall. Three of Ellsworth's seven runs were earned.
Somerset was limited to two hits by Ellsworth pitcher James Georgekas. Waalen and Drew Kelly netted the only hits.
The Spartans were missing several players for Friday's game at Amery. Waalen and Berry pitched solidly again, giving up two earned runs.
The offense generated five hits, with three of them coming from Austin Wodarz.
The Spartans played in a tournament in Grantsburg on Saturday where it was a return to near polar conditions. The Spartans lost to Grantsburg 10-0 in the opening round of the day, with snow falling several times during the game.
Ben Hammer got the starting pitching assignment with Jesse Krongard working in relief. Grantsburg was limited to four hits, but the Spartan pitchers walked 12 batters.
In the second round of the tournament Somerset started slowly against Unity, falling behind 7-0 in the first two innings. The Spartans then caught fire, coming back to win 17-7.
Tyler Lueck pitched the complete game win for the Spartans, striking out nine in six innings.
Lueck, Kelly and Jordan Langness led the offense with two hits each.
The Spartans have a busy final week of the regular season, starting with a game at Durand on Thursday. Next week starts with a game at home against St. Croix Falls on Monday. The Spartans will play at Prescott next Tuesday.