Three-run blast powers Sun Prairie past Craig baseball
Janesville Craig High felt the sting of the big hit in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Madison La Follette in Big Eight Conference baseball.
Craig is 11-3 in the Big Eight and 13-4 overall. La Follette is 8-4 in the Big Eight.
Lancers' senior Marty Pollard socked Nick Blomgren's fastball over the leftfield fence for a three-run homer in the seventh inning to snap a 2-2 tie and send the Cougars to a frustrating defeat. La Follette went on to score three more runs in the inning for the final result.
Meanwhile, Craig was held to three hits for the second straight game. Craig's lack of clutch hits like Pollard's three-run blast is disturbing to Craig coach Victor Herbst.
"We don't score a lot of runs, and it puts pressure on our pitchers and our defense," Herbst said. "Tonight for six innings things were even at 2-2. They had a couple base hits and then they get the big knock. It's going to be close games for us until we start hitting the ball better."
Craig took a 1-0 lead on leadoff hitter Cameron Wright's single. Wright stole second, moved to third on Brandon Luebke's bunt single and scored on a fielder's choice.
Luebke no-hit the Lancers through the first four innings to protect the Cougars' slim lead. Mike Harrington, the Lancers' No. 9 hitter, singled to snap Luebke's no-hit bid to start the fifth inning.
After Harrington reached, the Lancers tied it 1-1 on misplayed sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch and took a 2-1 lead on an RBI single. Luebke was pulled for Blomgren with one out and runners on first and third.
The Cougars loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but couldn't produce a clutch hit. Craig scored one run on a bases-loaded walk to tie it 2-2.
La Follette opened the seventh with a pair of singles and Pollard socked his homer to stun the Cougars. Pollard was hoping to give La Follette a boost after going 0-for-3, including two straight strikeouts.
"I thought I was due," said Pollard. "I didn't do too hot the whole game, and then I just pulled through."
Herbst said Pollard's blow was hard to beat.
"It was a big blow in a tight game," Herbst said. "There were three hits going into the seventh inning, so a shot like that is huge. A three-run dinger, that's a huge hill to climb."
LA FOLLETTE 8, CRAIG 2
La Follette (ab-r-h-rbi)—Anderson, ss, 4-0-1-0; Teuscher, rf, 3-2-1-0; Ricci, cf-p, 3-1-1-0; Pollard, cf, 3-1-1-3; Seehow, c, 4-1-1-0; Espinosa, 1b, 1-1-0-0; Nelson, 3-0-0-0; Lazendorf, ph, 1-0-0-0; O'Brien, 3-1-0-0; Harrington, lf, 2-1-1-0. Totals: 26-8-5-3.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Wright, cf, 2-0-1-0; Luebke, p, 3-0-1-0; Quinn, 2b, 2-0-0-1; Blomgren, ss, 3-0-0-0; Hoag, lf, 2-0-0-0; Feggestad, ph, 0-0-0-1; Hoskins, 3b, 3-0-1-0; Pickarts, 1b, 1-0-0-0; Eichman, 3-0-0-0; Johns, rf, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 22-2-3-1.
Madison La Follette 000 020 6—8
Janesville Craig 100 001 0—2
E—Craig 1. LOB—La Follette 5, Craig 4. 2B—Hoskins. HR—Pollard. SAC—Anderson, Teuscher. SB—Ricci, Wright 2.