Legion Roundup: Errors doom Oconto Falls in loss to Denmark

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Denmark scores 10 runs in fourth to pull away

Tyler Mielke delivers a pitch during Oconto Falls’ loss to Denmark. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Following a disappointing loss to Ashwaubenon on Tuesday, the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team was looking for a bounce back performance against Denmark on Wednesday evening.

That thought was foiled early in the matchup though, as the visitors took advantage of some Oconto Falls defensive miscues to earn the lead. Denmark later scored 10 runs in the fourth and cruised to a 15-3 victory in five innings.

Denmark scored a run in the top of the first inning on a Cole Paplham RBI single. Oconto Falls starting pitcher Tyler Mielke was able to limit the damage by inducing a double play groundball.

After Denmark starter Blake Derricks worked a 1-2-3 first inning, Denmark got right back to work with the bats in its half of the second.

Travis Wellner and Reece Piontek each singled for the visitors to open the inning before an error allowed Vincent Wertel to reach base, Piontek to reach second and Wellner to cross home plate. Another Oconto Falls error allowed Drake Locklear to reach base and both Piontek and Wertel to score. Mielke was again able to escape further damage by getting a ground ball double play.

After two quick outs in the home half of the second, Oconto Falls’ Connor Peetz and Jacob Peterson each singled. Derricks kept the hosts off the scoreboard by getting a popup.

After surrendering a one-out walk in the third inning, Mielke and Oconto Falls were able to another double play to get out of the inning.

The hosts looked to be in business in the third after Mielke reached on an error and Dylan Nelson singled to get the frame rolling. The momentum quickly shifted back to Denmark after Derricks got a flyout, strikeout and groundout to end the threat.

“We got into a little bit of a slump tonight,” Nelson said. “It was kind of a contagious thing, where we had one error and then a few more after that. We just weren’t able to answer back with the bats.”

Sam Virtues replaced Mielke on the mound in the fourth inning and had a difficult time finding the strike zone. When the righty did fire a pitch near the zone, Denmark always seemed to find an opening in the Oconto Falls defense.

After back-to-back singles opened the inning, the visitors drew two straight walks to plate a run. After a big strikeout, Brennen Miller delivered a single to score another run before walks by Cole Paplham and Derricks plated two more runs.

Denmark blew the game open by scoring six more runs before Oconto Falls could get out of the inning. Denmark, which now led 14-0, totaled just four hits in the inning, but drew five walks and took advantage of three critical errors.

Despite the big deficit, Oconto Falls did not stop fighting. Virtues walked to open the bottom of the fourth inning before Peetz singled. An error on the hit allowed Virtues to make it all the way to third.

Peterson then plated the host’s first run on a groundout that forced Peetz out at second. After Cliff Yuma walked, Zach Persons grounded into another forceout, erasing Yuma at second and allowing Peterson to reach third. Dylan Nelson then came through with a RBI single that scored Peterson and moved Parsons to third. Derricks escaped without any more damage by getting a foul popup.

Jason Moeller came on to pitch the fifth for Oconto Falls and saw the first batter he faced reach on another error. After a single by Wellner moved Derricks to second, a passed ball allowed each runner to move up another base. Wertel drove in Derricks on a sacrifice fly to record the visitor’s 15th run.

Needing at least four runs to extend the game at least another inning, Oconto Falls put together a strong rally. After a groundout started the inning, the hosts had their next three batters single to load the bases and force Denmark into a pitching change.

Piontek came on in relief for the visitors and induced a groundout from Peterson. Peetz was forced out at second on the play while Kamdan Bloom scored. After Yuma walked to reload the bases, Piontek struck out the following batter to end the contest.

“This was just an off game for us,” Peterson said. “They hit the ball well but we could have done a lot of things differently. We just have to come together better as a team.”

Oconto Falls slipped to a 3-5 record following the game. Despite the tough loss, coach Joe Sefcik knows the team can respond positively going forward.

“I asked them all to think why they are out here playing baseball,” coach Sefcik said. “I know these guys are all competitive and they know they can play better than this. I think they will use this game as motivation down the road.”

Oconto Falls is now preparing for the start of regionals on July 20. After Marion/Tigerton dropped out of the Clintonville Regional and some reconfiguration of the schedule, Oconto Falls will now face Bonduel on the opening day of play. The contest was scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start in Clintonville.

Ashwaubenon blanks Oconto Falls

The Oconto Falls Legion baseball team could not push a runner past second base in a 7-0 road loss to Ashwaubenon on July 10.

Ashwaubenon scored a run in the first inning to take an early lead. That was all the cushion the pitching duo of Ben Wendorf and Drake Doxtater needed. Wendorf pitched the first five innings for the A’s, allowing just three runs over five innings. Doxtater surrendered just one hit over two innings.

Ashwaubenon added two runs in the third inning, three more in the fourth and a final run in the sixth.

Sam Virtues posted two hits for Oconto Falls, which fell to 3-4 overall. Jason Moeller, Cliff Yuma and Virtues each pitched two innings for Oconto Falls.