’Hawks scale the Pointers
Donovan’s disdain was just what the Warhawks needed in sweeping two games from the Pointers in the double-elimination WIAC baseball tournament championship.
Donovan mowed down the high-powered Pointer offense in the championship game to lead Whitewater (38-5) to its first WIAC tournament championship in six years with an emotional 6-2 victory over Stevens Point (29-15) here Saturday afternoon.
Donovan, who followed the lead of staff ace Jason Hooper’s brilliant pitching performance in Whitewater’s 5-3 victory in Game 1, allowed just two runs on seven hits in 8 1/3 innings.
The impressive pitching gives Whitewater the golden opportunity to play host in an NCAA Division III playoff regional Wednesday. Assignments will be announced at 10 a.m. Monday.
“Behind everything is motivation,” Warhawk coach John Vodenlich said. “Our eye has always been on the regional and that could have been the motivation. But obviously we found motivation competing here today and doing a nice job.”
That motivation was the chance to avenge a painful 15-7 loss to Stevens Point in the Warhawks’ tournament opener here Friday afternoon.
“You look forward to these games,” said Donovan, referring to playing the rival Pointers. “It’s not so much a hatred, it’s just that you know it’s going to be such a tough game with so many emotions going throughout the game that when you win or lose it matters, a lot.”
The emotional tension between the two teams was even exhibited when both teams got into a heated exchange after the game.
“Whitewater and Stevens Point has become a tremendous rivalry for many reasons,” said Stevens Point coach Pat Bloom, whose team had won five straight WIAC tournament championships. “One of the biggest reasons is that we seem to have a lot on the line every time we play each other so emotions are going to run high.”
On top of all that emotion, Bloom must now wait and see if his team will receive an atlarge berth into the NCAA Division III tournament.
“I would say we deserve a bid,” he said “But if we didn’t get in I would say I could definitely look back to numerous occasions where I felt like we stubbed our toe and hurt our chances.”
The Pointer toe-stubbing on Saturday began in the first inning, when Warhawk leadoff hitter Jordan Stine reached safely on third baseman Justin Jirschele’s throwing error. Danny Putnam then cashed in on the error with an RBI single that put the Warhawks ahead, 1-0.
Putnam would later add another RBI single in the second after Pointer starter Scott Williams’ balk allowed Ryan Leavitt to score, giving Whitewater a 3-0 lead.
After Point cut the lead to 3-2 with a two-run fifth inning, Whitewater took control with a three-run seventh inning behind RBIs from Stine, Donovan and Mike Kenseth.
Point then put the first two runners of the eighth inning on second and third before Donovan retired the next three Pointers to get out of the inning. Stevens Point did not threaten in the ninth. “It was just one of those days where we appeared to be as flawed offensively as we looked good yesterday,” Bloom said.
Whitewater 5, Stevens Point 3
UW-Whitewater, behind a four-run eighth inning, posted a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over Stevens Point in the first game of the WIAC tournament championship. Warhawk outfielder Danny Putnam started the rally with a two-run single, while Ben Kuhlman added a two-run homer to put the Warhawks ahead for good. Jason Hooper posted the victory, giving up three runs on six hits through 7 1/3 innings to help Whitewater force a second game.
(First Game) WHITEWATER 5, STEVENS POINT 3
Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Stine, cf, 3-1-0-1; Putnam, rf, 5-1-2-2; Donovan, 1b, 4-0-0-0; Kuhlmann, 2b, 4-1-1-2; Coe, c, 4-0-1-0; Kenseth, ss, 3-0-0-0; Wessels, dh, 4-0-0-0; Bey-