Injuries cause Somerset baseball to take some lumpsAfter scoring 35 runs on the first day of the season, the Somerset baseball team had significantly more trouble scoring runs in its two games last week.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
After scoring 35 runs on the first day of the season, the Somerset baseball team had significantly more trouble scoring runs in its two games last week.
The Spartans got roughed up by Grantsburg in a non-conference game last Tuesday, 18-3. The Spartans went to Osceola last Thursday and lost their Middle Border Conference opener 5-0.
In the opening games of the season the Spartans swept a double-header from Plum City, 11-0 and 24-0. The competition was much steeper last week.
Somerset coach Brandon Kadlec said injuries and illness have decimated the Spartans. The Spartans started the season without Cody Joiner, who was expected to be the team’s top starting pitcher. Joiner was finally able to get into a game last Thursday, playing catcher at Osceola. The coaches were hoping he’d be strong enough to work into the pitching rotation this week.
Starting catcher Evan Gaddis was floored by strep throat last week and is expected to miss this week as well. In the game against Grantsburg, the coaches had to go to their fifth option to find a healthy catcher. Andy Peters stepped in and played ably, with almost no previous catching experience.
Senior Austin Bushinger is the team’s second pitching option, but his availability is in question too. After pitching four innings against Plum City, he developed a tender arm. He worked the first inning against Osceola, then had to be replaced.
That wasn’t all Bushinger’s fault. The Spartans committed five errors in that inning and the Chieftains scored their five runs.
Zach Waalen has developed into a strong pitching option for the Spartans. He pitched a five-inning shutout against Plum City and he added five more shutout innings in relief against Osceola. He allowed one hit in that stretch.
The Spartans weren’t potent at the plate either, totaling three hits in the game.
Last Tuesday’s game was a chance to get some of the less experienced Spartans some varsity pitching experience, but it came against a swarthy opponent. Grantsburg went to state last year and finished with a 21-4 record. Nate Olin, Derrick Berry and Haydon Dvorak all got their first crack at pitching varsity ball in the loss. They gave up 15 hits, but that wasn’t the only issue. The Spartans committed five errors and had four hit batters in the game.
Kadlec said the team will have to do its best to clean up its mistakes to be competitive in the next few games.
“We’ll be in a lot of tight ones the next few weeks until we get everybody back,” he said.
The Spartans are on the road Thursday and Friday, playing at Barron and Ellsworth on back-to-back nights. The Spartans return home next Tuesday, facing New Richmond in a 5 p.m. start.