New Berlin - All three area baseball teams - New Berlin Eisenhower, New Berlin West and Muskego - enjoyed some success in the 2012 season.
Ike's Lions won their final nine Woodland Conference contests to finish 13-4 and win the Black Division championship by one game over Wauwatosa West.
West's Vikings also claimed a division crown, although with much less drama than their crosstown rivals. They went 17-1 to easily win their sixth straight Blue Division title by five games.
The Muskego Warriors also won a championship but had to wait a bit longer. They posted an 11-9 mark in regular-season Greater Metro Conference play but then swept three games to capture the GMC Tournament, topping eventual WIAA state champion Oak Creek in the title game.
Here is a brief summary of each team's season:
New Berlin West
The Vikings came into the campaign with an inexperienced pitching staff but found enough hitting to get by until the pitchers started to find their footing later in the year.
"This year in some ways surprised me," said head coach Tom Farina, whose team went 22-5. "We had graduated the majority of last year's pitching staff, so we had to change our style of play a bit.
"We knew we would not have as strong a staff as we had in recent seasons. We knew there would be growing pains and there would be a feeling-out process. We had to make sure that we scored enough runs to make up for that, and we did. Our offense was as solid as we've had in years."
West tallied 10 or more runs on 11 occasions during the season, including memorable scores of 21-14 and 15-14 that seemed more at home in a football campaign.
"When we didn't have a successful first time (at bat), we made adjustments to the pitcher the second and third times," Farina said. "We did that better than most teams I've had. Also, our defense was solid, so when our pitchers threw to contact, we made the plays."
Sophomore Andy Knoll was the top hitter at .449 and collected 37 runs batted in, while senior Zach Scholz hit .428 and drove in 22 runs and senior Adrian Peil batted .414 with 26 RBIs.
Junior David Tsolak became the ace of the staff, and other pitchers developed as well.
The Vikings bid farewell to seniors Logan Schmidt, Scholz, Matt Rink and Peil.
The Lions also had some rebuilding to do this season, as senior Kurt Hegeman was the lone player with any regular varsity experience.
Hegeman put together a fine season and made the first all-Woodland Conference team. He hit .405 with a team-high 32 hits, 22 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He went into the final 12 games of the season with 16 RBIs but was then switched to the leadoff spot, limiting his chances for more.
He also posted two victories and two saves on the mound.
The Lions (15-12) were able to build around Hegeman as other players adjusted to the varsity.
Junior Mitch Arman was named the Woodland Black Division player of the year after batting .413 overall and .512 in the conference with 17 RBIs. Arman also went 8-3 as a pitcher, including 6-1 with a 2.15 earned-run average in Woodland play.
Senior Tyler Sagat hit .397, junior Turner Sagat .397, junior Steve Sakar .349 with 17 RBIs and 12 steals and junior Andrew Contrucci .306 with 12 steals.
"We didn't have any one guy put up giant numbers," first-year head coach Aaron Adsit said. "We had a lot of pieces that came together and made a pretty good team. Beyond (Hegeman), we had a lot of guys contributing for the first time at the varsity level."
Eisenhower loses three seniors: Hegeman, Sagat and Brandon Wing.
The Warriors were up and down for most of the season but put everything together for the GMC Tournament, knocking off Sussex Hamilton, regular-season champion Menomonee Falls and Oak Creek.
"We certainly made some improvements as the season went on," head coach Jacob Paige said. "The highlight was obviously the GMC Tournament."
Pitching was the key for Muskego, which assembled a solid staff behind junior Josh Breider and senior Peter Jewell. Breider played the role of staff ace to the hilt, going 7-2 with one save. He allowed just 12 earned runs in 60 innings for an earned-run average of 1.40 and held foes to a cumulative average of .189.
"Pitching, with Breider at the top, was our strong suit," Paige said. "Every time your pitching is strong, you have a chance in a game. We were up and down with our bats all year."
Senior Austin Wendlandt keyed the offense with 21 runs scored and 19 RBIs.
The Warriors lose six seniors: Wendlandt, Jewell, Aaron Nichols, Graham Ambrose, Joey Bandoszeski and Brandon Socher. They did have 10 juniors on the roster this season, so they will have plenty to work with in 2013.
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