Vikings rally to beat Kettle Moraine, 7-6, in extra innings
Face West Bend West at 6:30 p.m.
Back-to-back suicide squeezes by Tim Rink and Mike Phillips in the bottom of the eighth inning gave New Berlin West a comeback, 7-6, win over Kettle Moraine at Kapco Park in Mequon in the WIAA State Semifinals on Friday afternoon.
Trailing, 6-5, as the Lasers scored the lead run in the seventh on an infield hit, the Vikings fought back for the second time. Tyler Stephens led off with a walk and Bryan Marx pinch-ran.
Bryan Watson smashed a single to left moving Bryan Marx up and then Kevin Marx sacrificed both runners up. Rink then laid down a perfect bunt and Bryan Marx beat the throw home, Rink safe at first, tie game at 7-7.
"I'm glad they threw the ball home," Rink pointed out. "If they throw it to first to get me, there's two outs and we can't squeeze again."
West coach Tom Farina didn't give Phillips the sign right away, but after throwing a ball the sign came and Phillips delivered, scoring Watson with the winning run.
"When I put the bat on the ball and got it down, I knew the game was over," Phillips said. "I did my job."
KM's Chris Trafton tripled in the second inning and scored when Rink took a grounder at third and threw wide of the plate, allowing Trafton to score.
But the big error of the game came in the third inning, when the Lasers scored four runs, three coming on a bases loaded error when Watson, who doesn't usually play the outfield much misplayed a ball and let it go all the way to the wall.
Trailing 5-0, the unsung hero of the game - starting pitcher Dave Tsolak - slammed the door on Kettle Moraine the rest of the way.
"I knew I had to keep putting up zeroes, because sooner or later my team is going to get the bats going," Tsolak said. "Like they have all season. I know I can rely on them for runs. I was nervous, but I was confident we'd swing the bats."
When asked if he was getting stronger, he replied "I was getting madder. I'm looking in the face of my last chance to play high school baseball and I knew I wasn't going to leave anything behind. When I pitch, I give it everything I got."
He retired 11 of 12 hitters, with the only runner getting on with an error through seven innings.
"He's a bulldog, he doesn't give in," Farina said of his top pitcher. "He tries to fight his way through it and that's exactly what he did for us and what we needed him to do for us today."
In the fifth, those bats Farina and Tsolak referred to came to life.
Stephens singled and Watson, showing what he is made of after his error, slammed a double helping his team get back in the game. Sophomore Allen Peil then ripped a double down the left field line, just out of the grasp of Jacob Pohlman, cutting the score to 2-0.
"I know this team gets better as hitters as the game goes on," Farina said. "They make adjustments, they have all year."
Peil singled and doubled and drove in two runs, Phillips had two singles and an RBI, Watson scored twice, doubled and singled and Kevin Marx singled twice, scored a run and drove in one.
Austin Fritz will start the state championship game at 6:30 p.m. against West Bend West, which beat Sheboygan Falls, 8-7, in the other semifinal game.
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