Janesville Craig's rally falls just short
A thrilling comeback and then a disappointing defeat will do that to a team.
The Cougars cut a four-run seventh-inning deficit to one before falling short against third-place Middleton, 8-7, in a Big Eight Conference game here Tuesday.
The heart-stopping loss left Cougar coach Victor Herbst shrugging his shoulders in disappointment as his team fell to 4-11 in the conference.
“We were where we needed to be at the end and had a good battle,” Herbst said. “But we just didn’t play strong in the middle of the game.”
The decisive battle took place between newly inserted Middleton relief pitcher Alex Miller and Craig shortstop Jameson Henning.
Henning, who already had three hits, including two doubles and two RBIs through six innings, came to the plate with Middleton clinging to a one-run lead and Cougar runners on the corners with two outs.
Miller, however, won the battle, forcing Henning to pop out to the shortstop to end Craig’s upset bid, while Middleton improved to 9-4 in the Big Eight.
“We gave them a scare, even forcing them into a relief pitcher in the seventh,” Herbst said. “We got Jameson at the top of the order with a runner in scoring position where a double may have even won the game, so we were there.”
Unfortunately for Craig, the Cougars didn’t appear to be there in the top of the sixth when two costly errors led to four Cardinal runs and an 8-3 deficit.
“We had a letdown in that one inning where they got it to 8-3,” Herbst said. “But we have to stay out of the innings that get us into a hole. That’s been a problem for most of the season.”
Henning began digging the Cougars out of the hole with an RBI double off the 360-foot sign in left field to cut the lead to 8-4 in the sixth.
Then, after a scoreless Cardinal seventh, the Cougars immediately loaded the bases and scored three runs on a throwing error and a Mitch Phillips two-run double.
But the Cougars couldn’t get a fourth run to cross the plate and quietly walked off the field with a painful loss.
“We didn’t fold up the tents today,” Herbst said. “We were down 4-0 and could have folded up there, but we didn’t. Then we got down 8-3, but we continued battling back.”
Middleton made sure Craig would have to chase the lead from the first inning.
Drew Haack’s RBI single gave Middleton a 1-0 lead in the first. The Cardinals made it 4-0 in the third on RBI singles from Joe Keeler, Kevin Peternell, and A.J. Redders.
Craig cut it to 4-3 behind a throwing error and RBIs from Nolan Stearns and Henning. The game remained at a back-and-forth pace to the final pitch.
MIDDLETON 8, CRAIG 7
Middleton (ab-r-h-rbi)— Meteer, cf, 3-2-2-1; Keeler, rf, 4-1-0-2; Peternell, p, 3-0-1-1; Haack, 3b, 4-0-2-1; Redders, 2b, 4-1-2-1; Gunderson, c, 4-1-0-0; Adler, 1b, 4-0-0-0; Lockner, ss, 2-0-0-1; Gob, lf, 3-1-1-1. Totals: 31-8-8-8.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Henning, ss, 5-0-2-2; Quinn, 2b, 4-0-0-0; Meyer, c, 4-0-2-0; Miller, dh, 2-1-0-0; Yaucher, rf, 4-2-2-0; Wright, cf, 3-0-0-0; Phillips, 1b, 2-0-1-2; Stearns, 3b, 4-1-1-1; Perkins, lf, 4-1-2-0. Totals: 32-7-10-5.
Middleton 103 004 0-8
Janesville Craig 000 301 3-7
E—Middleton 3, Craig 4. LOB—Middleton 6, Craig 9. 2B—Henning 2. SB—Haack 2, Meteer 2, Gob. Henning. HBP—Miller.
IP H R ER SO BB
Peternell (W) 5 4 4 3 5 3
Acker 1 2/3 4 3 1 1 0
Miller 1/3 0 0 0 0 0
Hughes (L) 4 5 4 3 0 1
Pickarts 2 3 4 2 1 2
Iverson 1 1 0 0 0 0