Message received: Cougars rout Spartans
After committing 11 errors in an embarrassing 16-4 loss to Sun Prairie last Thursday, Janesville Craig High baseball coach Victor Herbst implored his team to play with more intensity.
The Cougars got the message, loud and clear here Tuesday.
Mitch Phillips belted a home run and drove in five runs, while right fielder Tom Yaucher drove in three to lead the Cougar redemption, 14-2 over Madison Memorial in a game that was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
The dominating victory gives Craig (3-2, 1-2) its first Big Eight Conference victory of the season and a clear template for how to play each game.
“We came into today with much more focus and played with a purpose, energy and fire,” Herbst said. “We didn’t come to play last game, but this is how we have to play every game in the Big Eight.”
“The next day after the loss to Sun Prairie, we had a non-hitting practice,” Herbst added.
The Cougar’s improved focus was on display from their first at-bat.
After the Spartans grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on Sam Reese’s two-run double, Phillips answered with a towering two-run homer over the brown ivy-coated right-center field fence to knot the game at 2.
Phillips, however, was just getting warmed up as he made it 4-2 in the second with a two-run double to left center field. Craig later added four more runs in the frame behind RBIs from Cameron Wright, Riley Quinn, and Nolan Stearns.
It only got worse for the Spartans from there.
Craig tacked on three more runs in the third on Yaucher’s two-run double and Charlie Meyer’s RBI single. That made it 11-2 Cougars.
Before the onslaught was stopped, Yaucher, Phillips, and Wright each had another RBI inthe fourth to close the game on top 14-2.
“What helps our offense is that we’re a lot older than we have been the past two years,” Herbst said. “We’ve returned a lot of upper classmen, and it does help with our approach at the plate and knowing what you want to do in certain counts.”
The Cougars’ approach at the plate certainly made life easy on starting pitcher, Cody Steed, who gave up two runs on four hits en route to the victory.
“We just played with so much more energy and focus tonight,” Herbst said. “If we continue to play like this going forward, we’ll have a legit chance to win.”
Craig High will play a Big Eight doubleheader against Madison La Follette on Saturday at UW-Whitewater.
CRAIG 14, MADISON MEMORIAL 2 (5)
Memorial (ab-r-h-rbi)—Genin, 2-1-0-0; Schumann, 2-1-0-0; Luciani, 3-0-0-0; Rice, 3-0-0-0; Reese, 3-1-0-2; Wade, 2-1-0-0; Ellenbecker, 2-1-0-0; Burkhardt, 2-1-0-0; Call, 2-0-0-0. Totals: 21-2-4-2.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Henning, ss/p, 4-2-2-0; Perkins, lf, 4-3-2-0; Yaucher, rf, 4-4-1-3; Phillips, 1b, 4-2-3-5; Wright, cf, 3-1-1-2; Meyer, c, 2-0-2-1; Johns, cr, 0-1-0-0; Quinn, 2b, 3-1-3-1; Stearns, 3b, 3-0-1-1; Steed, p, 2-0-0-0. Totals: 29-14-15-14.
Madison Memorial 200 00—2
Janesville Craig 263 3x—14
E- Memorial 4, Craig 3. LOB—Memorial 6, Craig 9. 2B—Reese, Henning, Yaucher, Phillips. HR—Phillips. SB—Schumann, Wright. SF—Wright.
IP H R ER BB SO
Schumann (L) 1/2/3 8 8 6 0 1
Burkhardt 1 1/3 6 3 3 0 1
Ferguson 1 3 3 3 3 0
Steed (W) 4 4 2 0 1 5
Henning 1 0 0 0 0 2