Edgewood pitcher denies Edgerton’s bid for state
In Tuesday’s sectional semifinal game, Chris Ritter spoiled any plans the Crimson Tide had of ending the 19-year absence.
Ritter struck out 12 and overcame some first-inning jitters to lead Madison Edgewood to a 7-3 victory in the second game of the Dodgeville Sectional. The Crusaders (23-3) also beat Portage, 7-3, in the title game to earn the school’s first berth since 2005.
Edgewood plays Fox Valley Lutheran in a state semifinal game next Wednesday.
Edgerton (17-5) scored two runs in the first inning off Ritter but could not solve the hard-throwing right-hander after that. The Crimson Tide had only four hits off Ritter and got only two runners as far as second base after the first inning.
Ritter, a Bradley University recruit, no-hit Rock Valley North co-champion Evansville in a regional final and made it a clean sweep over the other Rock Valley North co-champion on Tuesday.
“He was head and shoulders above any other pitcher we’ve seen this season,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “He was just throwing strike after strike after strike, and when you get a kid that’s throwing in the low 80s and getting his curve ball over, what are you gonna do?
“The better team won today. I thought we had them on the ropes a little bit in the first inning, but the key was that they came back and got three runs on us in the bottom of the inning to take back the momentum.”
Edgerton got off to a great start. The first three hitters reached on errors, including Ritter’s throwing error on Riley Clifton’s sacrifice bunt that allowed Adam Gregory to score. With runners on first and second, Kyle Johnson laced a double to the gap to score Josh Eastman. But with runners on second and third and nobody out, Ritter struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam.
The Crusaders quickly erased the deficit in the bottom of the first off Edgerton starter Josh Eastman. With one out, Robert Parman delivered a two-run triple.
Clifton nearly caught Parman’s drive, but the ball fell to the ground after Clifton crashed into the fence. Nick Hughes’ RBI groundout scored Parman as the Crusaders took the lead for good at 3-2.
“There was a lot of adrenaline that first inning, and you could tell that by the way we kicked and threw the ball around in the first inning,” Ritter said. “We just had to settle down and play our game.
“Once we got the lead, I had enough confidence in my fastball to know that they (Edgerton) weren’t going to be able to come back.”
The Crusaders added three insurance runs in the second. Kyle Haen’s two-run single keyed the rally, while Eastman hurt himself by walking three and hitting another batter.
Although he was tagged with the loss, Eastman threw well after the second inning. The senior right-hander struck out four and made key pitches to get out of trouble when he had to have it.
“I’m really proud of the effort Josh gave us, especially since he’s been sick,” Gregory said. “He wasn’t able to practice Sunday because of the flu, and yet he went out there today and got stronger as the game went on.
“We just needed to score more runs than we did in the first. We get another one or two runs there, and it changes the whole complexion of the game. Maybe I should’ve squeezed in a run, but how often do you do that in the first inning of a game?”
Trailing 7-2 in the fourth, Edgerton scored a run on Trevor Kinnett’s leadoff triple and an RBI single by Jamie Shelley.
EDGEWOOD 7, EDGERTON 3
Edgerton (ab-r-h-rbi)—Gregory, 2b, 4-1-0-0; Eastman, p, 3-1-0-0; Clifton, lf, 3-0-1-0; Johnson, c, 3-0-1-1; Kinnett, ss, 3-1-1-0; Shelley, 3b, 3-0-1-1; King, 1b, 2-0-0-0; Nelson, cf, 3-0-0-0; Oren, rf, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 27-3-4-2.
Edgewood (ab-r-h-rbi)—Haen, cf, 4-1-1-2; Minnaert, 2b, 3-1-0-1; Ritter, p, 1-0-1-0; Dahmen, cr, 0-1-0-0; Parman, ss, 3-1-1-2; Hughes, c, 4-0-1-1; Wabers, 1b, 4-1-1-0; Longo, rf, 2-1-2-0; Cosgrove, dh, 1-1-1-0; Benesh, 3b, 0-0-0-0; Scherschel, lf, 2-0-1-1. Totals: 24-7-9-7.
Edgerton 200 100 0—3
Madison Edgewood 331 000 x—7
E—Edgerton 1, Edgewood 3. LOB—Edgerton 4, Edgewood 7. SAC—Eastman, Clifton, King, Scherschel. 2B—Clifton, Johnson. 3B—Kinnett, Parman.
IP H R ER BB SO
Eastman (L) 6 9 7 7 6 4
Ritter (W) 7 4 3 1 0 12
PORTAGE 12. PRAIRIE DU CHIEN 5
Portage 020 0(10)0 0—12 8 0
Prairie du Chien 500 000 0— 5 6 4
Hamilton, Voelker (7) and Wade; Kozelka, Monovis (5) and Pedretti.
Leading hitters—Greene (P) 2x4, Koch (P) 2x4. 2B—Koch (P), Greene (P). 3B—Koch (P). HR—Hamilton (P), Kozelka (PC).
SO—Hamilton 4, Voelker 2, Kozelka 3, Monovis 3. BB—Hamilton 6, Kozelka 4, Monovis 2.
EDGEWOOD 7, PORTAGE 3
Madison Edgewood 010 000 6—7 7 1
Portage 030 000 0—3 7 0
Longo, Hughes (3), Curtin (3) and Hughes; Koch, Voelker (7) and Wade.
Leading hitters—Parman (ME) 2x4, Scherschel (ME) 2x4, Bortz (P) 2x3, Coleman (P) 2x3 2B—Parman (ME) 2, Bortz (P) 2.
SO—Hughes 2, Curtin 5, Koch 3, Voelker 2. BB—Curtin 1, Koch 2, Voelker 2.