|

Jefferson captures RVC North by narrow margins

Comments Comments Print Print
Eric Schmoldt
Friday, May 19, 2017

EVANSVILLE--An exciting Rock Valley North Conference baseball race came down to a showdown between the top two teams in the final week of the season.

Fittingly, they played a pair of low-scoring, one run games, and the championship came down to extra innings and a matter of inches.

A couple errant throws over the final three innings Thursday cost Evansville, and Jefferson took advantage with a 3-2 road victory that went eight innings and gave the Eagles an outright conference title.

Jefferson also won 2-1 at home Tuesday to sweep the week and finished 13-3 in league play. Evansville is 11-4 with a game still to play against Edgerton today.

“It’s fun. Sometimes we wish it wasn’t so close all the time and we started hitting the ball a little more, but it was definitely fun,” said Evan Anfang, who scored the game-winning run in the eighth.

Anfang called an audible to open the eighth inning, making his own decision to drop down a bunt to lead off the frame. The ball went back to Evansville pitcher Logan Wardwell, who saw his throw sail down the right-field line, and Anfang wound up all the way at third base.

“I just wanted to make something happen,” Anfang said. “Then it was right at the pitcher, and I didn’t think it was a good one.”

“It wasn’t the best bunt, but what it did was force them to make a play,” said Jefferson coach Greg Fetherston, who said Anfang is one of a couple Eagles players with the green light to bunt in any situation. “It’s a situation where everybody gets a little bit tighter, and he’s fast getting up the line.”

Anfang scored one batter later when Ryan Brost lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.

Evansville’s Chase Katzenmeyer—who went 3-for-4—got a two-out hit in the bottom of the eighth, but the Blue Devils could not muster a rally.

For the first five innings, it didn’t appear they’d need one. Zach Mielke’s run-scoring double in the second and Demitrious Heniadis’ RBI single in the fourth gave Wardwell a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Devils had a hit in every inning and 11 of them overall, but they ran into two outs when trying to reach second base off singles and a third when a runner was picked off.

Then, Jefferson’s bats came alive—and Evansville gave away an extra out or two—in the sixth.

Hunter Milbrath led off with a double but was nearly doubled off a batter later when Katzenmeyer, the second baseman, caught a line drive. But his throw to try and catch Milbrath off the bag at second escaped into left field, and Milbrath scored a batter later on Brost’s double.

Ian Drays followed with a grounder to Evansville shortstop Johannes Haakenson, and the Blue Devils had Brost caught too far off second base. But Haakenson’s throw got by Katzenmeyer, giving the Eagles runners at first and third with one out. Chris Dekrey made Evansville pay by blooping a run-scoring single to left field that tied the game.

“You can’t make mistakes against Jefferson or in games like this, whoever the opponent is, when you’re trying to win a championship,” Evansville coach Brian Cashore said. “They’re disappointed in coming up short. Any time you put every ounce of effort and mental energy into something that’s important to you and you come up short, it stings a little.

“I’m proud of how our kids competed and came ready to play. There’s just a slim difference between finishing as conference champion and finishing second.”

JEFFERSON 3, EVANSVILLE 2 (8)

Jefferson 000 002 01—3 6 0

Evansville 010 100 00—2 11 3

Brost, Drays (5) and Milbrath; Wardwell and Aasen

Leading hitters—Drays (J) 2x4, Haakenson (E) 2x3, C. Katzenmeyer (E) 3x4. 2B—Milbrath (J), Brost (J), Drays 2, Mielke (E).

SO—Brost (J) 4, Drays (J) 6; Wardwell (E) 5. BB—Drays 1.

 

An exciting Rock Valley North Conference baseball race came down to a showdown between the top two teams in the final week of the season.

Fittingly, they played a pair of low-scoring, one run games, and the championship came down to extra innings and a matter of inches.

A couple errant throws over the final three innings Thursday cost Evansville, and Jefferson took advantage with a 3-2 road victory that went eight innings and gave the Eagles an outright conference title.

Jefferson also won 2-1 at home Tuesday to sweep the week and finished 13-3 in league play. Evansville is 11-4 with a game still to play against Edgerton today.

“It’s fun. Sometimes we wish it wasn’t so close all the time and we started hitting the ball a little more, but it was definitely fun,” said Evan Anfang, who scored the game-winning run in the eighth.

Anfang called an audible to open the eighth inning, making his own decision to drop down a bunt to lead off the frame. The ball went back to Evansville pitcher Logan Wardwell, who saw his throw sail down the right-field line, and Anfang wound up all the way at third base.

“I just wanted to make something happen,” Anfang said. “Then it was right at the pitcher, and I didn’t think it was a good one.”

“It wasn’t the best bunt, but what it did was force them to make a play,” said Jefferson coach Greg Fetherston, who said Anfang is one of a couple Eagles players with the green light to bunt in any situation. “It’s a situation where everybody gets a little bit tighter, and he’s fast getting up the line.”

Anfang scored one batter later when Ryan Brost lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.

Evansville’s Chase Katzenmeyer—who went 3-for-4—got a two-out hit in the bottom of the eighth, but the Blue Devils could not muster a rally.

For the first five innings, it didn’t appear they’d need one. Zach Mielke’s run-scoring double in the second and Demitrious Heniadis’ RBI single in the fourth gave Wardwell a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Devils had a hit in every inning and 11 of them overall, but they ran into two outs when trying to reach second base off singles and a third when a runner was picked off.

Then, Jefferson’s bats came alive—and Evansville gave away an extra out or two—in the sixth.

Hunter Milbrath led off with a double but was nearly doubled off a batter later when Katzenmeyer, the second baseman, caught a line drive. But his throw to try and catch Milbrath off the bag at second escaped into left field, and Milbrath scored a batter later on Brost’s double.

Ian Drays followed with a grounder to Evansville shortstop Johannes Haakenson, and the Blue Devils had Brost caught too far off second base. But Haakenson’s throw got by Katzenmeyer, giving the Eagles runners at first and third with one out. Chris Dekrey made Evansville pay by blooping a run-scoring single to left field that tied the game.

“You can’t make mistakes against Jefferson or in games like this, whoever the opponent is, when you’re trying to win a championship,” Evansville coach Brian Cashore. “They’re disappointed in coming up short. Any time you put every ounce of effort and mental energy into something that’s important to you and you come up short, it stings a little.

“I’m proud of how our kids competed and came ready to play. There’s just a slim difference between finishing as conference champion and finishing second.”

JEFFERSON 3, EVANSVILLE 2 (8)

Jefferson         000      002                           01—3          6                                  0

Evansville        010      100                           00—2        11                                  3

Brost, Drays (5) and Milbrath; Wardwell and Aasen

Leading hitters—Drays (J) 2x4, Haakenson (E) 2x3, C. Katzenmeyer (E) 3x4. 2B—Milbrath (J), Brost (J), Drays 2, Mielke (E).

SO—Brost (J) 4, Drays (J) 6; Wardwell (E) 5. BB—Drays 1.



Comments Comments Print Print