Warhawks enjoy sweet win
Knocking the Pointers out of the NCAA Division III regional on Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium was the cherry on top.
The Warhawks scored twice in the bottom of the sixth and rode the gritty complete-game pitching of Jeff Donovan for a 2-1 victory over the Pointers here Friday afternoon.
The win knocked the WIAC regular-season and tournament champion Pointers out of the regional, and it put the Warhawks in prime position to earn a berth in the Division III World Series.
St. Scholastica (Minn.), the other survivor in the double-elimination tournament, has to beat the Warhawks (35-11) twice today to keep Whitewater from making it fourth trip to the NCAA Division World Series since coach John Vodenlich took over the program in 2004.
“I think we’re more excited because we beat Point,” Vodenlich said. “Not that we thought they were superior or anything, but you look at the rivalry. Them and us have been battling it out for a long time.”
It was a year ago Sunday that the Pointers scored a run in the top of the ninth to beat the Warhawks, 4-3, here to clinch a spot in the 2010 Division III World Series.
That was not lost on the five Warhawk starters Friday who played in that game.
“I know (pitcher Eric Schmitz) has a screen-saver of the dog-piling on our mound,” Donovan said. “He photo-shopped ‘Never Again.’ ”
Donovan gave up his only run Fri day in the first inning. A single by Justin Jirschele scored Cody Koback, who had doubled. Donovan allowed another single before getting out of the inning.
“They were jumping on first-pitch fastballs,” Donovan said.
He adjusted and held the Pointers scoreless the rest of the way.
Vodenlich knew his senior ace would be primed for a good performance.
“That’s a young man who has a third-place finish in baseball and a national championship ring on the football field,” Vodenlich said. You can’t do those things without being prepared for the big game.”
While Donovan was pitching his first complete game since high school, the Warhawk hitters and fielders also played a huge part in the win.
Whitewater left the bases loaded in the first inning and two on in the third. The Warhawks delivered in the sixth.
Catcher Rob Coe was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He advanced to second on a tapper by Donovan.
Pointer coach Pat Bloom then removed his freshman starter, Zach Wendorf, who had pitched only 19 innings before this game.
Bloom put in Ryan Iverson, who had a 1.25 ERA in 36 innings going into the tournament. Iverson had pitched 1 1/3 innings Friday morning in a 5-1 win over Hamline.
“My hope was we could kind of sneak him in and out,” Bloom said. “He definitely did not have his best stuff.”
With Brent Young up, Coe took off for third.
“He has the green light,” Vodenlich said.
The Warhawk catcher beat the throw, which got past Jirschele and rolled into short left field. Coe got up and scored Whitewater’s first run without a throw, forcing a 1-1 tie.
Young grounded out, but freshman Jared Fon doubled into the gap in left center. He advanced to third on a passed ball.
Janesville Parker High School graduate Matt Beyer delivered a sharp single to right, which scored Fon with what turned out to be the game-winner.
Fon also sparkled in the field with six assists.
That’s a senior All-American in a freshman’s body,” said Vodenlich. “That’s how I describe his performance today.”
Mother Nature will be the dictator today. The Whitewater-St. Scholastica game could start anytime the radar indicates a few hours of dry weather.
The Warhawks will be armed with a relatively rested pitching staff.
“I feel very good where our pitching is,” said Vodenlich. “But we still got to step up and make the plays.”
WHITEWATER 2, STEVENS POINT 1
Stevens Point (ab-r-h-rbi)—Douglas, 2b, 4-0-0-0; Korback, cf, 4-1-2-0; Jirschele, 3b, 4-0-2-0; Gerber, 1b, 4-0-1-0; Barnes, lf, 3-0-0-0; Kevin Thomas, ph, 1-0-0-0; Rennicke, dh, 4-0-1-0; Fritz, ss, 4-0-1-0; Clark, rf, 4-0-1-0; Considine, c, 3-0-1-0. Totals: 35-1-9-1.
Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Putnam, rf, 4-0-1-0; Eichstaedt, ss, 4-0-0-0; Coe, c, 2-1-0-0; Donovan, p, 3-0-0-0; Young, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Fon, 3b, 4-1-2-0; Beyer, lf, 3-0-1-1; Friend, cf, 3-0-2-0; Wessels, 2b, 2-0-0-0; Keller, ph, 1-0-0-0; Cladis, 2b, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 29-2-6-1.
UW-Stevens Point 100 000 000—1
UW-Whitewater 000 002 00x—2
E—Considine. DP—Stevens Point 1, Whitewater 1. LOB—Stevens Point 7, Whitewater 7. 2B—Koback, Clark, Fon. SB—Fritz, Coe.
IP H R ER BB SO
Wendorf 5 1/3 3 1 1 3 0
Iverson 2/3 3 1 1 0 1
Williams 2 0 0 0 0 1
Donovan 9 9 1 1 0 4