Henke’s homer erases memories of earlier miscue in win over Craig
JANESVILLE One swing of the bat took Jeff Henke from the outhouse to the penthouse.
The Janesville Parker first baseman, who dropped a routine pop-up that led to three unearned runs, redeemed himself with a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to lift the Vikings to a 5-4 Big Eight Conference win over cross-town rival Janesville Craig at Riverside Park here Thursday.
Parker (5-1 overall, 3-1) battled back from an early 3-0 deficit despite five errors thanks to Henke’s heroics and the right arm of senior Andy Kersten. Parker’s starting pitcher threw a complete game. He didn’t allow an earned run and gave up just six hits.
Craig (3-3, 1-3) took a 3-0 lead in the third when Henke had the second out of the inning pop out of his glove, leading to RBI singles by Tom Yaucher and Cameron Wright.
The Vikings cut the lead to 3-1 with an unearned run in the fourth before Henke stepped to the plate in the sixth and delivered. Craig starter Cody Steed tried to get a fastball by Henke, but the senior turned on the pitch and drove the ball over the fence in left center.
“After I dropped the ball, I wanted to crawl under a rock,” Henke said. “I knew I had to do something to make up for it, and he gave me a fastball right down the middle. I was expecting a fastball, and that’s what I got, and it was where I like it.”
Parker added an insurance run in the seventh on Trent Kobs’ RBI bunt single, but Craig made it interesting in the bottom of the inning.
Yaucher, who was 3-for-4, hit his second double of the game to the gap in left and advanced to third on Parker’s fifth error. Mitch Phillips’ RBI ground out scored Yaucher, but Kersten got Wright to pop out to the third baseman to end the game.
“We didn’t play poorly, but I didn’t think we played with any sense of urgency, especially defensively,” Craig coach Vic Herbst said.
“Cody made one bad pitch where he left it up in the zone, and the Parker kid made him pay for it.”
Steed matched Kersten’s complete game. The Craig starter allowed four earned runs while striking out seven.
Parker, which started the season with a conference loss to Middleton, has rattled off five straight wins.
“We haven’t been out on the field much lately, and I’m sure they (Craig) haven’t either,” Parker coach Brian Martin said. “I expected a rough game coming in, and after the first couple innings, I thought it was going to be a classic pitchers’ duel.
“We kept talking when we came in from the field that somebody has got to do something big. We happened to get two guys on (in the sixth), and the ironic baseball gods put Jeff up there in the right spot, and he came through for us.”
Parker will host Madison West in a conference doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday at Riverside, while Craig plays Madison La Follette at UW-Whitewater.
PARKER 5, CRAIG 4
Parker (ab-r-h-rbi)—Ta. Kobs, lf, 4-1-1-0; Johnson, dh, 4-1-2-0; Welch, c, 3-0-0-0; Tr. Kobs, cf, 4-2-2-1; Brandt, 3b, 4-0-0-0; Henke, 1b, 3-1-2-3; Franklin, rf, 3-0-1-0; Long, 2b, 3-0-0-0; Marshall, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 31-5-8-4.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Henning, ss, 3-1-1-0; Perkins, lf, 4-0-0-0; Yaucher, rf, 4-2-3-1; Phillips, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Wright, cf, 4-0-1-1; Meyer, c, 3-0-0-0; Quinn, 2b, 2-0-0-0; Stearns, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Steed, p, 2-0-0-0; Miller, ph, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 28-4-6-2.
Janesville Parker 000 103 1—5
Janesville Craig 003 000 1—4
E—Parker 5, Craig 2. LOB—Parker 6, Craig 7. SB—Wright. 2B—Yaucher 2, Franklin. HR—Henke.
Parker IP H R ER BB SO
Kersten (W) 7 6 4 0 3 3
Steed (L) 7 8 5 4 2 7