Cudahy walks off a winner

July 10, 2012

Tuesday evening’s baseball playoff between Cudahy and New Berlin Eisenhower ended just as competitively and thrillingly as it had been played, with the final score standing at 8-7 after a walk-off single RBI from Cudahy’s Jacob Littmann.

The Packers entered the bottom of the seventh inning down 7-5 and had not scored since the third inning. Collin Eichner started with a single to the outfield just past Eisenhower’s Aaron Wilson. He subsequently stole second and moved to third on a single from JT Athy.

Zach Polser, a courtesy runner for Athy, stole second on a wild pitch before Ike’s Mitch Arman, who had pitched the entire game, walked Joe Rogers to load the bases. Chase Pendzich stepped up to the plate with two hits and three RBIs already on his ledger. His double into the outfield brought in Eichner and Polser to tie the game at 7 with just one out.

“I go through the same routine every time,” said Pendzich. “It feels great, I haven’t felt that before and I want to keep it going.”
Eisenhower coach Aaron Adsit decided to walk Teontae Morgan, the Packers’ next batter, once again loading the bases, and bringing Littmann up to bat.

“I was really nervous,” said Littmann, “especially when I saw the intentional walk but then both the coaches came and talked to me and said to go and get my pitch and that first pitch, I liked it.”

Littmann sent the first delivery into the outfield and scored Rogers.

“I feel amazing,” Littmann said. “I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world.”

“We got the top of the order up,” said Cudahy coach Mike Lessard. “Collin Eichner’s been pretty good for us all year and I feel like when he gets on, it’s a spark plug for us. When he gets on, good things happen. I like our lineup. Each pitch is a separate at bat and you’ve got to remember to breath. I think that’s overlooked. They just ride it out, have a good quality at bat, and stack those on top of each other.”

The Lions got the game rolling in the first inning, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The Lions led the game until the third inning when Pendzich drove in two runs on a double to make it a 5-4, Packers. But from there, Cudahy stood still until the final batter. Leading the defense for the Lions was Andrew Contrucci, who made two rather remarkable catches in the outfield.

“Andrew’s gotten better as the season went along like most of our team,” said Adsit. “We’re a very young program from top to bottom. We’re only graduating three seniors. Andrew’s a junior who really didn’t have varsity experience until this year, and he’s really made some strides defensively for us, and that’s going to be important for us moving forward.”

Cudahy had a defensive weapon of its own, however. On four occasions, Eisenhower runners were gunned down on the basepaths, either stealing or leaning too far off the bag.  Relief pitcher Randy Meyer picked off two runners on first to end the top of the seventh without giving up any runs.
“He’s been doing that all year,” said Lessard. “He’s picked guys off that have been a foot off the base. He’s just got a good move and those were some big outs. Our guys are confident when we get a clean inning.”

The Lions also had runners caught between bases twice.

“We were making the proper adjustments during the game,” said Adsit, “But just like anything during the course of the game, it doesn’t always go to plan, and I think that’s all it really was. We took care of our business and a couple of breaks didn’t go our way. Personally, I have been on as many walk-offs as I have been on guys walking off on us, so it all evens out in the end and I feel very confident about the way we handled things.”
Lessard added, “You’ve got to give Eisenhower a lot of credit. I don’t think it was one player or one pitch. I’m proud of all of our guys for hanging in there and playing it one pitch at a time.

Next up for Cudahy will be top seeded Oak Creek, but the Packers feel that they are up to the challenge.

“Oak Creek is a good team, but anything can happen,” said Littmann.





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