On the final day of the Rock River League regular season, the Milton Junction Pub Raptors and the Lebanon Whitetails each had a clear path to the postseason.
Win, and they would be in.
Bryce Schuett’s RBI single in the seventh represented the winning run as the Whitetails prevailed on their home field 6-5 on Sunday in what amounted to a play-in game.
Milton (12-9, 9-9 RRL) will miss the playoffs for just the second time since it joined the Rock River League in 2010. Dan Haueter hit a solo home run in the eighth to pull the Raptors within a run but Lebanon’s Tyler Doyle tossed a clean ninth for the save.
“It’s a little disappointing,” Milton manager Doug Welch said. “We won some big games (this season) but we just didn’t quite get there.”
Doyle gave the Whitetails a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first when he connected for a two-run home run—his fifth of the season—to right field. The Raptors had two players thrown out at the plate in the loss.
“We pieced together a team and went up there and just didn’t quite get the job done,” Welch said. “We let it get away from us.”
Milton’s Sam McCann struck out nine.
Lebanon (12-11, 10-8 RRL) clinched the Southern Division’s fifth seed, joining division-champion Clyman, Hustisford, Johnson Creek and Neosho in the playoffs. Hartford, Kewaskum, Oakfield, Brownsville and Cedarburg advanced in the Northern Division.
Welch said Clyman remains the heavy favorite to reach the Rock River championship series. The Canners went 17-1 and led the Southern Division in runs scored (143), home runs (19), on-base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.494), earned-run average (2.04) and WHIP (0.90).
“I’ve been telling people they’re the best team I’ve seen in the Southern Division. I stand by that,” Welch said.
LEBANON 6, MILTON 5
Milton 120 000 110—5 8 3
Lebanon 200 012 100—6 10 2
McCann; Harshbarger, Sabel (9)
Leading hitters—Haueter (M) 2x3, Schuett (L) 2x5, Doyle (L) 2x3. 2B—Klawitter (M), Schuett. HR—Haueter, Doyle.
McCann 9, Harshbarger 4, Sabel 1. BB—McCann 4, Harshbarger 1.