Parker will play for Big Eight title
JANESVILLE--Bring on the Cardinals.
Needing a victory over Janesville Craig on Thursday to set up a winner-take-all game today with Sun Prairie, Janesville Parker’s baseball team did its part.
Mitch Benway drove in six runs as the Vikings hung on for a pivotal 9-6 Big Eight Conference win.
Parker improved to 15-2 in the conference and hosts Sun Prairie, also 15-2, at 5 p.m. today.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position to play for a Big Eight title,” Parker coach Brian Martin said. “Yeah, we would’ve still had that chance with a loss tonight, but now we can win it outright.”
Benway was the catalyst against the Cougars. The senior came into the game with six RBI for the season but doubled his total in two at-bats. He ripped a three-run double in the bottom of the first, and his two-run double in the fourth gave Parker what seemed to be a comfortable 7-0 lead.
“What a night for Mitch to break out,” Martin said. “It’s Senior Night, and we’re playing against Craig.
“And as it turns out, we needed those runs. I knew Craig was too good of a team to not make some kind of comeback.”
Trailing 7-0, the Cougars made it interesting in the fifth. Craig (15-10, 9-9) sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs. Wyatt Olson and Nick Blomberg had RBI singles as Craig chased Parker starter Collin Powers.
Craig cut the lead to one in the sixth on Evan Spry’s double and a Parker error.
The Vikings answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, including Benway’s sixth RBI of the game on a bases-loaded walk.
The Cougars had the tying run at the plate in the seventh, but reliever Darin Brewster worked out of a jam by getting Spry to fly out to center to end the game.
“We just ran out of innings,” Craig coach Vic Herbst said. “If we play like we did the last couple innings next week (in tournament), I like our chances.
“My guys gave great effort tonight. We just dug too big of a hole.”