Milton’s baseball team stranded 11 runners Friday night.
The Red Hawks may have marooned their Badger South Conference title hopes, as well.
They put 15 runners on base but scored just twice, losing 6-2 to visiting Oregon.
Milton, which lost for the third time in five games after putting together a nine-game winning streak, fell to 12-6 overall and 8-3 in the Badger South. Milton entered Friday half a game back of Madison Edgewood in the Badger South standings after splitting with the Crusaders earlier in the year.
“There was really only one inning where we didn’t have a scoring opportunity,” Milton coach Kris Agnew said. “Two-out hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position is something we’ve struggled with the last couple weeks.”
The Red Hawks’ woes in that department started right away in the first inning. They had a chance to take an early lead with two runners on base and just one out but could not convert.
Oregon (6-9, 4-6) went up 1-0 in the third when Eddie Saucedo doubled with two outs, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single.
The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the fourth thanks to Cameron Carpenter’s one-out double down the right-field line. The slicing flare came on an 0-2 pitch.
Milton had a golden opportunity to strike right back in the bottom of the inning when it loaded the bases with one out.
The Red Hawks got one run on a bases-loaded walk but could do no further damage.
“We’re still getting baserunners here and there,” Agnew said. “Not like we were at the beginning of the year, but we’ve still got to find a way to manufacture some runs.”
Carpenter and the Panthers struck again in the fifth. This time, with the bases loaded and two outs, the left fielder swung at the first pitch he saw from reliever Ethan Haefner and ripped a sinking liner to left field. Red Hawks outfielder Jordan Stivarius made a diving attempt to make a catch but couldn’t come up with the ball, and suddenly it was 6-1.
“He was ready for a first pitch and got a mistake and cleared the bases,” Agnew said. “That was probably the difference in the game.”
Carpenter, Oregon’s No. 7 seven hitter, went 2x3 and drove in five runs.
Milton stranded two more runners in the fifth before cutting the deficit to 6-2 in the sixth when Fletcher Terrill doubled and later scored.
The Red Hawks had one more chance in the bottom of the seventh and put runners at first and third with nobody out. Caleb Dammen ripped a comebacker to the mound that glanced off the mitt of Carpenter—who came on in relief in the seventh inning. Carpenter corralled the ball and threw home, and Milton’s Colin Schuetz was tagged out on a close play as he slid head first to the plate.
Two flyouts later, Milton’s comeback bid was ended with two more runner standing on the base paths.
“You’ve just got to keep giving yourself opportunities,” Agnew said. “A couple good swings of the bat or a couple better at-bats, and we’re right in the game.”
Milton has a chance to get back on track today with a nonconference game at Westosha Central at 1 p.m.
OREGON 6, MILTON 2
Oregon 001 230 0—6 11 1
Milton 000 101 0—2 8 0
Brindley, Carpenter (7) and Haufle, Landas (7); Campion, Haefner (5), F. Terrill (6) and Nickel.
Leading hitters—Rusch (O) 2x4, Buskager (O) 3x4, Carpenter (O) 2x3, Schuetz (M) 3x4, Haefner (M) 2x3, F. Terrill (M) 2x3. 2B—Saucedo (O), Carpenter, Schuetz, F. Terrill.
SO—Brindley 2, Campion 4, Haefner 1, Terrill 1. BB—Brindley 4, Campion 2, Terrill 4.