Albion notches big victory
The Albion Tigers are back on solid ground in Home Talent League baseball—at least for the moment.
Albion broke a two-game losing streak by snapping Fort Atkinson's eight-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Sunday, which enabled the Tigers to regain the undisputed lead in the West Division of the Southeast Section.
But everything will come down to next weekend, highlighted by Albion's regular-season finale Sunday at Lodi.
With their win over East Division leader Fort Atkinson (13-2), the Tigers (10-5) gained a half-game edge over Lodi (8-5), a 5-3 winner over Cambridge. Utica (9-6) fell a game behind Albion by losing 4-1 to Jefferson (9-6), an East Division playoff contender.
Lodi can tie Albion for first place by winning a makeup game Friday night at home against Lake Mills. But no matter what, it still comes down Albion's game at Lodi.
If the Tigers avenge a 3-1 loss to Lodi, they will be undisputed West Division champions. If they lose, tiebreakers with Lodi and Utica could deprive them of one of the division's two playoff berths.
Meanwhile, Mike Nanstad withstood two Fort Atkinson home runs in pitching a four-hitter to give visiting Albion a critical victory over the Generals. It was Fort's first loss since a 7-6 setback in a 10-inning game against Lodi on May 31.
Albion took the lead for good in a two-run first inning that started with walks to Ben Everson and Ethan Vaade. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Everson scored on a sacrifice fly, and Marty Johnson singled home Vaade.
Chris Koepke had a solo home run to right field for Fort Atkinson in the bottom of the first, but Albion extended its lead to 4-1 in a two-run third. Everson ignited that rally with a double off the right-field fence, and Jesse Appel's bunt single, followed by a throwing error, fueled the fire.
Albion went up 5-1 in the fifth on Jim Eastman's RBI single, but Fort Atkinson retaliated with Tim Brokl's solo homer run to left-center in the sixth.
The turning point came after Fort Atkinson loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. The Generals got one run on Bryan Wallace's sacrifice fly, but Albion completed an inning-ending double play on a throw to third base.
-- Lodi 5, Cambridge 3—Kyle Mack pitched a complete game as Lodi kept the heat on Albion and damaged Cambridge's East Division playoff hopes.
Cambridge fell into a second-place tie with Jefferson at 9-6 and will lose the playoff bid if Jefferson beats visiting Lake Mills next Sunday.
-- Jefferson 4, Utica 1—Chris Folbrecht collected two singles and two RBIs in a Jefferson victory that boosted the Blue Devils' playoff bid and knocked Utica out of a tie for the West Division lead.
-- Lake Mills 7, Evansville 3—Kyle Wollin led the way with two triples and two RBIs as Lake Mills (5-9) overcame a 3-0 deficit against visiting Evansville (3-12).
Ben Kraus, Jon Frey and Brent Cashore had consecutive singles in Evansville's two-run first inning, but Lake Mills turned the game around with two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth.
-- Whitewater 6, Orfordville 2—Nick Raether's three-run double in a six-run eighth inning carried Whitewater (4-11) past the Orioles (5-10).
Five of the Swingers' runs came with two outs, and Jason Kollwelter's complete-game pitching carried them the rest of the way.
-- Stoughton 11, Deerfield 1—Scott Muehlemann, Dave Hanson, Lonnie Klecker and Taylor Schmidt each drove in two runs in Stoughton's seven-inning victory.