BENTON – Benton/Shullsburg locked down the outright Six Rivers West baseball championship title for the second season in a row with a 5-0 victory over the visiting Belmont Braves at Benton’s Swift Park on Thursday, May 17.
Junior pitcher Jacob Berendes (5-1) tossed a three-hit, complete-game shutout and struck out 12 batters to lead the Zephyr-Miners (17-2 overall, 13-0 SRC) to the victory. Junior catcher Alex Wand doubled in Berendes for the game’s first run in the third inning and junior outfielder Brooks Tiedeman smashed a three-run home run in the sixth inning to seal the victory and the title for Shullsburg/Benton.
“This team has stayed committed to practicing hard and working each and every night to be their best. That shows through clearly in their ability to continue to be successful in the Six Rivers West Conference,” said head coach Tim Strang. “To not only win the conference outright but to stay undefeated up to this point is a special accomplishment. In the game of baseball anything can happen on any given night and this team has put forth a tremendous effort each night they take the field.”
The co-op secured a share of their second straight league crown with a 9-1 win at Potosi on Tuesday, May 15, and then added another notch on their victory belt on Friday, May 18, when they routed the host Black Hawk Warriors, 17-1, in a five-inning contest.
Berendes went 5-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI against the Chieftains, while Wand went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Tiedeman went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the game. Nick Wagner and Will Lawrence each had a run and a RBI in that game.
Shulls/Ben sent 18 batters to the plate in the second inning of Friday’s game with the Warriors, and 13 of those batters came around to score to give the guests a comfortable cushion. Griffin Wiegel went 2-for-2 in the game with a double, three RBI and two runs scored. Wagner and Berendes each drove in three runs and scored once, while Tiedeman knocked in two and scored twice in the win.
Junior Nathan Mowry (6-0) limited the Chieftains to one run of six hits and a walk with four Ks over six innings, and junior Nolan Strang (4-0) allowed a run on nine hits and a walk and fanned seven over three and a third innings against the Warriors.
In their 13 conference contests this season, the Zephyr-Miners have allowed just 18 total runs.
“With our pitching staying strong and our defense playing well, our offense doesn’t have to put up many runs each night in order for us to be successful. However, the bats have been solid; and, hopefully, we can ride the momentum of this season into the WIAA tournament,” remarked Strang.
The Zephyr-Miners’ Six Rivers Conference doubleheader at Barneveld was cancelled due to the weather and will not be made up this season.
The Braves (10-9, 6-8) opened last week with a 6-0 loss at River Ridge, and then closed the week by splitting a doubleheader against Six Rivers East champion Pecatonica, falling 6-3 in game one and rallying for a 5-0 victory in game two to snap a five-game slide.
Belmont plated a run in the top of the first inning of Friday’s opener to halt a 14-inning scoreless streak, and then added two more runs in the third inning to pull ahead of the Vikings by a score of 3-0.
However, Pec struck for six runs in the home-half of the fourth to pull into the lead, and then shutout the Braves the rest of the game to hold on for a league victory.
Belmont turned the tables in the nightcap, using a five-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth inning to secure a split with the Vikings.
Connor Wiegel went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Braves in game one. Brady Wedig had a RBI-double and Travian Rucker added a RBI-single in the opener.
Rucker doubled and drove in two runs for Belmont in game two. Freshman pitcher Riley Christenson (2-0) fired a one-hit shutout and struck out seven batters over five innings for the Braves.
Belmont’s rescheduled doubleheader at Black Hawk on Monday, May 21, was called off due to the weather. It was made up as a single SRC game on Tuesday, May 22. The Braves’ non-conference game at Mineral Point on Tuesday was cancelled to allow the Pointers the opportunity to reschedule a conference game that night.
After going 10 days without playing a game, the Warriors (2-13, 2-10) took to the diamond three times in less that 24 hours, falling to Benton/Shullsburg, 17-1, and defeating Potosi, 23-13, in a twinbilling at home on Friday, May 18, and then dropping a 10-1 decision at Argyle on Saturday, May 19.
Brandon Schiferl went 2-for-3 with a run scored in Friday’s opener, while Noah Metz and Brody Milz added two hits apiece as the Warriors outhit the co-op, 10-9, in the game.
The Warriors used a 10-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth inning to snap a 13 all tie and earn a mercy-rule victory over the Chieftains. They scored 23 times on just nine hits as they took advantage of seven Potosi errors and 13 base on balls to pour on the runs. The hosts plated six runs in the first and adding seven in the third to open the high-scoring affair.
Cayden Milz went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI to lead the Warriors. Metz was 2-for-5 with two runs and Rece Shelton drove in three runs and scored twice with a triple.
Avery Baumgartner, B. Milz and Jett Rufenacht each scored three times against Potosi.
Baumgartner went 2-for-3 with a run batted in against the Orioles on Saturday morning.
Miken Godfrey doubled and drove in four runs and Gavin Johnson chipped in with three RBI and a run for the Orioles. Brent Ritschard, Mason Waage and Travis Dammen each scored twice for the hosts.
Ben/Shulls received the top-seed in their Division 3 regional bracket for the upcoming WIAA tournament series and will have a first-round bye. The Zephyr-Miners will host the winner of Thursday’s regional quarterfinal game between #4-seed Darlington and #5-seed Cuba City at Benton’s Swift Park in a regional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 29, at 5 p.m. The co-op would also host the regional final game in Benton on Wednesday, May 30, at 5 p.m. if they will win on Tuesday.
Belmont received the #5-seed in their Division 4 regional bracket and will travel to #4-seed Barneveld for a regional quarterfinal game on Thursday, May 24, at 5 p.m.
Black Hawk is the #7-seed in that same D4 regional bracket and heads to #2-seed Argyle on Thursday at 5 p.m.
The Belmont/Barneveld winner advances to face top-seeded Pecatonica in Blanchardville on Tuesday, May 29, at 5 p.m., while the winner of the Black Hawk/Argyle game moves on to face either #3 Southwestern or #6 Iowa-Grant on Tuesday at the home of the highest remaining seed also a 5 p.m. The D4 regional final games will be held on Wednesday afternoon.
Ben/Shull… 004 113 0 – 9 13 0
Potosi…….. 100 000 0 – 1 7 3
Leading Hitters: B/S– Brooks Tiedeman 2x3, Nick Wagner 2x4, Jacob Berendes 5x5, Alex Wand 2x4. 2B- Wagner, Nolan Strang. P– Carbone 2x4, Udelhofen 2x3.
W- Nathan Mowry (6IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 4K, 1BB). L- Eastlick (4IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER, 4K, 1BB).
At Potosi, on Tuesday, May 15
Belmont….. 000 000 0 – 0 3 3
Ben/Shull… 002 003 x – 5 6 0
Leading Hitters: Bel– None. B/S– HR- Brooks Tiedeman. 2B- Alex Wand.
W- Jacob Berendes (7IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 12K, 3BB). L- Ethan James (4.67IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 7K, 5BB).
At Benton, on Thursday, May 17
Ben/Shull…… 0(13)2 02 – 17 9 1
Black Hawk….... 010 00 – 1 10 4
Leading Hitters: B/S– Nick Wagner 2x3, Alex Wand 2x4, Griffin Wiegel 2x2. 2B– Wiegel. BH– Noah Metz 2x3, Brody Milz 2x2, Brandon Schiferl 2x3.
W- Nolan Strang (3.33IP, 9H, 1R, 0ER, 7K, 1BB). L- Avery Baumgartner (1.33IP, 2H, 7R, 5ER, 0K, 5BB).
At South Wayne, on Friday, May 18
Belmont…….. 000 000 0 – 0 1 3
River Ridge… 140 010 x – 6 6 1
Leading Hitters: B– None. RR– Redman 2x3.
W- B. Crubel (5IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 3K, 3BB). L- Jake Amenda (3IP, 5H, 5R, 3ER, 6K, 3BB).
At Patch Grove, on Tuesday, May 15
Belmont……. 102 000 0 – 3 6 2
Pecatonica… 000 600 x – 6 7 0
Leading Hitters: B– Connor Wiegel 2x4. 2B- Brady Wedig. P– Swenson 2x2, Busser 2x3. 2B- B. Hendrickson.
W- Prust (4IP, 3H, 3R, 0ER, 5K, 1BB). L- Jacob Amenda (3.33IP, 3H, 6R, 6ER, 4K, 6BB).
Pecatonica… 000 00 – 0 1 3
Belmont……. 000 5x – 5 4 1
Leading Hitters: P– None. B– 2B- Travian Rucker.
W- Riley Christenson (5IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 7K, 3BB). L- Johnson (4IP, 4H, 5R, 3ER, 4K, 0BB).
At Blanchardville, on Friday, May 18
Potosi…………... 145 03 – 13 13 7
Black Hawk… 607 0(10) – 23 9 0
Leading Hitters: P– Carbone 3x3, Eastlick 2x4, B. Udelhofen 3x3, Spriggs 2x3. 2B- Carbone, B. Udelhofen, A. Udelhofen. BH– Cayden Milz 3x5, Noah Metz 2x5. 3B– Rece Shelton.
W- NA. L- Bierman.
At South Wayne, on Friday, May 18
Black Hawk… 100 000 0 – 1 4 4
Argyle……….. 110 044 x – 10 6 1
Leading Hitters: BH– Avery Baumgartner 2x3. A– G. Johnson 2x4, Godfrey 2x4. 2B– Godfrey.
W- B. Ritschard (6IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 6K, 2BB). L- Nick Metz (4.67IP, 5H, 6R, 4ER, 0K, 4BB).