Cudahy - The WIAA regional baseball game between Cudahy and New Berlin Eisenhower on July 10 was competitive and thrilling from beginning to end, as the Packers won, 8-7, on a walk-off run-scoring single from 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 7-7 with just one out.
Eisenhower head 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," Littmann said, "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.
The Lions got the game rolling in the first inning, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, keyed by a two-run double from Steve Sakar. They led until the third inning, when Pendzich drove in two runs on a double to make it 5-4 for the Packers.
Outfielder keys Ike's defense
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," Adsit said. "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 base paths, 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," Cudahy head coach Mike Lessard said. "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."
Base running errors costly
The Lions also had runners caught between bases twice.
"We were making the proper adjustments during the game," Adsit said, "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."
Sakar finished 2-for-2 and drove in three runs for the Lions, Arman singled in a run as Eisenhower took a 7-5 lead and Wilson also brought in one run. Arman took the loss on the mound, working 6 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking three.
Eisenhower, which had just one starter returning this season, finished 15-12 and won the Woodland Conference Black Division crown for the third straight year.
The Lions earned the respect of Lessard, who said, "You've got to give Eisenhower a lot of credit. I'm proud of all of our guys for hanging in there."
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