Winning WIAA regional championships, especially against a long-time rival, is one of them.
Edgerton High’s baseball team did it for the second consecutive year Wednesday with an 8-4 win over Rock Valley Conference rival Beloit Turner.
But before winning last year’s regional title, the Crimson Tide had not done it since 1996.
“Each one is special,” said Edgerton coach Mike Gregory. “You don’t get here that often. The older you get, the more you appreciate these moments.”
The Tide (17-5) is hoping to have even more of these moments to appreciate as it braces for a 1:30 p.m. semifinal game against Madison Edgewood in the Dodgeville Sectional next Tuesday.
It is a challenge Edgerton’s Rock Valley North co-champions are welcoming, especially with a chance to avenge last year’s 11-10 loss to Edgewood.
“We always said this was a regional we can win again,” said senior Josh Eastman, who last week was named the Rock Valley North Player of the Year. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to go further.
“What made it especially nice was coming against Turner, which took us down early in the season. It was nice to get them back.”
The Trojans (18-5) beat Edgerton, 5-4, in the teams’ only regular-season meeting. Both teams went on to win Rock Valley division championships.
The Tide improved its combined record against Rock Valley teams to 14-3 behind another solid pitching performance by senior right-hander Kyle Stearns, who took a shutout into the sixth inning, when Turner scored all of its runs.
He got help from the likes of freshman Tyler Oren, who made a diving catch in right field and turned it into a double play to help snuff out a potential Turner threat in the first inning.
Edgerton did most of its scoring in just two innings, pushing across three runs in the third inning and then adding four more in the second.
Oren lined a single up the middle to open the third inning. One out later, Eastman hit a fly ball to center that fell for a hit.
Riley Clifton hit into a force play at second base, but cleanup hitter Kyle Johnson followed by hammering a double to deep right field that scored both Oren and Clifton.
Johnson, who has 33 RBIs on the season, moved up to third base on a throw to the plate and scored on a wild pitch.
“It was a curveball on the outside corner, and I just took it to right field,” Johnson said. “That inning kind of set the tone for the whole team. It was contagious.”
Stearns helped his cause by tripling down the right-field line. Jamie Shelley followed with a single down the third line to score Stearns.
After Zach Nelson reached on error, Shelley would score from third base on a wild pitch to extend Edgerton’s lead to 5-0.
Nelson and Oren scored the inning’s final two runs. Oren reached on an infield single, stole second base, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an Eastman groundout to make it 7-0.
Turner threatened to make things interesting when the Trojans scored four runs in the sixth.
Steve Porter had a run-scoring single, and Anthoni Jacobs drove in two runs with a double off the glove of Johnson in deep right field. Kyle Hollibush then doubled to center field to drive in another run and slice Edgerton’s lead to 7-4.
However, Nelson scored the game’s final run in the Edgerton sixth when he again reached on an error and ultimately crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Turner put two runners on in the seventh inning, but Adam Gregory, who had come on in relief of Stearns in the sixth, ended the game with a strikeout.
“The kids really made it happen again,” coach Gregory said. “Right now we’ve just got a good cycle of things.”
Turner (ab-r-h-rbi)—Hallmark, cf, 3-0-1-0; M. Jacobs, lf-p, 4-0-1-0; Jones, p-1b, 4-1-2-0; Conway, c, 4-0-1-0; Ace, dh, 3-1-0-0; Andrews, 3b, 0-0-0-0; Hall, 1b, 2-0-0-0; Porter, rf, 2-0-1-0; Bernstein, rf-p-lf, 30-0-1; A. Jacobs, ss, 2-1-1-2; Hollibush, 2b, 3-0-2-1. Totals: 30-4-9-4.
Edgerton (ab-r-h-rbi)—Gregory, 3b, 4-0-1-0; Eastman, 2b, 4-0-1-1; Clifton, lf, 3-1-2-0; Johnson, c-rf, 3-1-1-2; Mickelson, rf, 0-0-0-0; Kinnett, ss, 3-0-0-0; Stearns, p-c, 3-1-1-0; Shelley, dh, 3-1-1-1; King, 1b, 0-0-0-0; Nelson, cf, 3-2-2-0; Oren, rf-3b, 2-2-2-1. Totals 28-8-11-5.
Beloit Turner 000 040 0—4
Edgerton 003 401 x—8
E—Turner 3, Edgerton 1. DP—Edgerton 1. LOB—Turner 9, Edgerton 2. 2B—Jacobs, Hollbush. 3B—Johnson, Sterns. S—Oren. SB—Conway, Nelson, Oren.
Turner IP H R ER BB SO
Jones 3 6 3 3 0 2
Bernstein 2 4 4 0 0 1
Jacobs 1 1 1 1 0 1
Stearns 5 4 1 1 3 1
Gregory 2 5 3 3 0 1