Janesville Parker graduate hits game-winning single for Warhawks
WHITEWATER This is Matt Beyer’s time of the year.
The sunshine is great, and the UW-Whitewater school year is completed.
Those aren’t the reasons the left fielder on the Warhawk baseball team loves the middle of May. The reason is the Warhawks are in the NCAA Division III regionals.
“It seems I play better in regionals,” Beyer said.
The Janesville Parker High graduate delivered once again for the Warhawks on Wednesday, singling in the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory over Concordia-Chicago in the opening game of the regional at Prucha Field at James B. Miller Stadium here.
Beyer had a strong regional tournament last season, and started off this year’s regional by getting two of the Warhawks’ six hits, including the game-winning single.
“The most important one was that last one,” said Warhawk coach John Vodenlich.
Beyer wasn’t the only standout for the Warhawks.
Starting pitcher Eric Schmitz improved to 9-2 by pitching all 10 innings. Schmitz allowed just five hits and three walks, while striking out three.
“Eric pitched a great game,” Vodenlich said.
Whitewater took a 1-0 lead in the fourth behind the co-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference players of the year Jared Fon and Marty Herum.
With one out, Fon doubled down the left field line and went to third on a wild pitch. Herum brought him home on a grounder to short.
Concordia-Chicago (33-13) tied the game in the seventh on a double and two groundouts.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the 10th.
Catcher Brandon Egnarski singled to left center to open the inning. J.T. Schneider came in to run for Egnarski.
David Cladis then singled into left, moving Schneider to second.
That brought up Beyer, the Warhawks leadoff hitter.
“I knew the pitcher was throwing a lot of curveballs,” Beyer said of the Cougars’ Tim Milroy. “I bunted at the first pitch, which was a ball, but I went at it anyway, which I probably shouldn’t have.
“Then I was sitting on a curveball, and he threw one inside, and I hit it and it went through the five hole.”
That single into left put the No. 4-seeded Warhawks into today’s winners bracket game against top-seeded St. Thomas (Minn.) at 4 p.m.
Vodenlich knows how important it is to win the first game of a double-elimination tournament.
“When we were going for the national championship in 2004, I remember we lost the first game,” Vodenlich said. “It is hell to come back through the losers bracket.”
St. Thomas (35-8) defeated St. Norbert, 5-1, to advance. The Warhawks and Tommies split a doubleheader March 8 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Vodenlich said those early-season games mean nothing.
“We’re absolutely a different team from then, and so are they,” Vodenlich said.
Playing at Prucha Field also makes a huge difference, said Vodenlich, as he watched the third tournament game of the day from his office next to the field.
“It’s a huge advantage for us,” Vodenlich said. “The players love playing here.”
Just as much as Beyer loves seeing the regionals roll around.
WHITEWATER 2, CONCORDIA-CHICAGO 1
Concordia-Chicago (ab-r-h-rbi)—Schulz, lf, 4-0-1-0; Weis, ss, 3-0-2-0; Even, 3b, 4-0-0-0; Skala, c, 2-1-1-0; Miller, cf, 4-0-0-0; Eichholzer, rf, 4-0-0-1; Stephens, dh, 4-0-1-0; Floravanti, 1b, 4-0-0-0; Santarelli, 2b, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 32-1-5-1.
Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Beyer, lf, 5-0-2-1; Friend, cf, 4-0-0-0; Fon, 3b, 4-1-1-0; Herum, 1b, 4-0-1-1; Leavitt, dh, 3-0-0-0; Mierow, rf, 4-0-0-0; Bartlein, ss, 4-0-0-0; Egnarski, c, 3-0-1-0; Schneider, pr, 0-1-0-0; Cladis, 2b, 2-0-1-0. Totals: 33-2-6-2.
Concordia-Chicago 000 000 100 0—1
Whitewater 000 100 000 1—2
E—Even. DP—Concordia-Chicago 1, Whitewater 3. LOB—Concordia-Chicago 4, Whitewater 8. 2B—Weis, Skala, Fon, Herum. SB—Cladis.
Con.-Chicago IP H R ER BB SO
Thorsen 6.1 2 1 1 2 0
Milroy (L, 2-2) 2.2 4 1 1 1 2
Schmitz (W, 9-2) 10 5 1 1 3 3
In other games Wednesday:
-- Aurora 2, La Crosse 1—The WIAC regular-season and tournament champion Eagles lost for just the second time in their last 23 games, falling to No. 7-seed Aurora on Wednesday night.
Aurora (37-8) scored twice in the second inning. Brett VanAsdlen singled and went to third on Mike Foley’s ground-rule double. Both scored on Josh Davidson’s single.
Those were all the runs Aurora would need as pitcher Drew Gay limited La Crosse (33-10) to seven hits. Gay did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
Jay Fanta drove in La Crosse’s only run in the sixth inning.
AURORA 2, LA CROSSE 1
Aurora 020 000 000—2 9 0
La Crosse 000 001 000—1 7 1
Gay and Payne; Verthein, Lauersdorf (7) and Harazin.
Leading hitters—Mackey (AU) 3x5, Braga (LC) 2x3, Fanta (LC) 2x4. 2B—Mackey (AU), Foley (AU), Braga (LC) 2, Fanta (LC).
SO—Gay (AU) 7, Verthein (LC) 5, Lauersdorf (LC) 2. BB—Verthein 4.
-- St. Thomas 5, St. Norbert 1—Charles Bruchu drove in two runs as the No. 1-seeded Tommies (35-8) defeated the Midwest Conference tournament champion Green Knights (26-12).
Matt Hannon drove in St. Norbert’s only run.
ST. THOMAS 5, ST. NORBERT 1
St. Norbert 001 000 000—1 7 2
St. Thomas 000 031 10x—5 7 2
Nutley and Hillesheim; Gapinski and Dorgan.
Leading hitters—Ljunggren (SN) 2x4, Miller (ST) 2x3. 2B—Hannon (SN), Dorgan (ST), Miller (ST).
SO—Nutley (SN) 4, Gapinski (ST) 11. BB—Nutley 7, Gapinski 1.
-- St. Scholastica 8, North Park 7—Designated hitter Parker Olson went 3-for-5 and drove in the winning run with an eighth-inning RBI double to lead St. Scholastica (34-9).
Joe Belmonte went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs for North Park (32-13).
ST. SCHOLASTICA 8, NORTH PARK 7
St. Scholastica 001 301 210—8 12 3
North Park 310 210 000—7 15 2
Kyle, Grieger (5), Rogers (8) and Moody; Kuligowski, Silverthorne (7), McGrady (8) and Sanchez.
Leading hitters—Olson (SS) 3x5, Casareto (SS) 2x5, Schwantes (SS) 3x3, Rice (NP) 2x5, Worsely (NP) 3x4, Belmonte (NP) 4x5; Coduto (NP) 2x5. 2B—Olson (SS) 2, Casareto (SS), Schwantes (SS) 3, Worsley (NP), Sousanes (NP).
SO—Jensen (SS) 1, Grieger (SS) 1, Kuligowski (NP) 6, McGrady (NP) 1. BB—Jensen 3, Kuligowski 2, Silverthorne (NP) 1, McGrady 1.