Somerset baseball ends up third in Middle Border Conference standingsAfter its 0-4 start in Middle Border Conference baseball action this season, the Somerset baseball team was left for dead by many fans in the area.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
After its 0-4 start in Middle Border Conference baseball action this season, the Somerset baseball team was left for dead by many fans in the area.
Once the Spartans got healthy, they went from sickly to sizzling. Since the 0-4 start, the Spartans went 8-2 in MBC games to climb all the way to third place in the 2012 final conference standings. The 8-6 record is the same as the Spartans had in 2011, when they advanced to the WIAA Division 2 sectional championship game.
The Spartans finished their conference schedule last Thursday with a 10-0 win against Durand. The following afternoon the Spartans scored another 10-0 blanking, this time against St. Croix Central in a non-conference game.
Junior Nate Olin pitched the shutout against Durand, shackling the Panthers on three hits. Durand has been playing much better in recent weeks and this game was scoreless until the fourth inning. That’s when Somerset senior Dominick Lohmeier hit the first of his two homers over the rightfield fence in Somerset. His second homer was a three-run bomb in the sixth inning that gave the Spartans the win on the 10-run rule. The homer capped a seven-run sixth inning in which the Spartans lumped together six hits. A double by Jordan Langness was another of the key blasts in the rally.
Freshman Tyler Lueck, who moved into the first base role due to senior Ryan Himes nursing a bad hamstring, had three hits in the win.
The Spartans have become more selective hitters and that showed in their win Friday over St. Croix Central. The Panthers started a pitcher who’d never hurled in a varsity game before. The Spartans waited to see what he had, which was mainly walks. The Spartans drew four walks in the first inning, leading to a four-run rally. A two-run single from Olin was the key hit of the inning.
The Spartans put the game away by scoring six times in the fourth inning. Singles from Lohmeier, Cody Joiner and Lueck set the stage for a big inning. Singles from Doree and Langness and a two-run double from Zack Waalen kept those baserunners circling the bases.
Andy Peters got the pitching start and he needed just 57 pitches to win the five-inning game. Central could manage just two hits against Peters, who struck out five Panthers.
On Monday the Spartans took on River Falls from the Big Rivers Conference in a late addition to the schedule. The Somerset coaches were looking for a good challenge before the team began playoff action and they got it. The Wildcats beat the Spartans 10-3.
Waalen convinced Coach Brandon Kadlec that he could pitch despite being ill. After Waalen gave up two runs in the first inning the coaches decided he was in no shape to continue and sent him home. Kadlec said the biggest positive from the game was that four pitchers saw game action, with Olin, Austin Bushinger and Peters all seeing pitching.
The Spartan offense showed no life until River Falls built up a 10-0 lead. The Spartans then scored twice in the fifth inning on doubles by Joiner and Lueck. They added another in the sixth inning on a double by Evan Gaddis and singles from Lohmeier and Bushinger.
The Spartans received the top seed in the WIAA Division 2 regional bracket, meaning they’ll receive a bye in the opening round of playoff action being played this Thursday and Friday. The Spartans’ first playoff game will be at home at 5 p.m. next Tuesday against the winner of Thursday’s game between Amery and Unity.
With a week between games, the Spartans added a controlled scrimmage against Prescott this Thursday to keep their skills sharp for the tournament trail.