The New Berlin West baseball team started to do everything right last week as the Vikings won three of four games and outscored their opponents, 38-16.
That's an average score of 9.5 runs to four runs, for a team that had not scored more than eight runs in a game all season.
"We're swinging the bats well, playing good defense and pitching well," said veteran coach Tom Farina. "It ain't magic."
The Vikings opened the week with a 5-2 loss on July 7 at Pius. They took a 2-1 lead in the first inning, only to see the Popes score two runs in both the fourth and fifth inning to win the game.
West managed only five hits with Andrew Knoll getting two of them and scoring a run. Cory Liebherr started and got the complete game loss (6 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Max Resch got the complete game win (2 BB, 5 K).
"Even in the game we lost we played well," Farina said. "They made four diving plays that would have driven in runs. They were better that day."
The next day, West bounced back impressively with an 18-7 win over the Popes at home, as the Vikings pounded out 14 hits.
Cleanup hitter Bryan Watson had the biggest day with two homers — a three-run shot and a solo bomb — three RBIs, two stolen bases and four runs scored.
Brennan Grossman singled, doubled, walked, scored twice and drove in three runs.
Nate Egofske singled three times and scored three times, and Nate Henrichs singled three times, scored twice and drove in a run.
Knoll singled twice and drove in two runs; Zach White singled, walked twice and scored twice; and Allen Peil walked, singled and scored twice.
Adam Kanter pitched 12/3innings, allowing five hits, six runs and five walks while Adam Fritz pitched 31/3innings, allowing three hits, one run and fanned four.
Two big innings sparked the Vikings to a 16-3 win at Brown Deer on July 10, as they banged out 18 hits.
Trailing 2-1 after the first inning, West exploded for eight runs in the second inning and five runs in the third for a 14-2 lead. The Vikings added two runs in the fifth to close out the scoring.
Peil and Egofske, the top two hitters in the order, each singled twice, doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs each. Knoll and Watson each singled twice, scored twice and drove in a run. White had a triple, a run scored and three RBIs. Henrichs got the win.
This time it was the pitching as the Vikings closed out the week with a 2-1 win over West Bend East on July 11.
Liebherr pitched a complete game, tossing seven innings, four hits, one run and two walks.
"Cory only threw 78 pitches, kept the walks down," Farina said. "It was a well-played game by both teams. We made some good plays, and so did they."
Peil had the only RBI, and Watson and Henrichs scored the only runs. Watson, White and Tim Rink each had two singles.
The defending state champion Vikings are the 11th seed in their sectional, and they played at six-seeded Greenfield on July 15. If they won, they would play at third-seed Muskego on Friday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Farina is happy with his team's play down the stretch.
"If you hang with it, don't give up, you start to play better baseball as a whole," he said. "People have laughed at me in the past because I've said, it's better to play better at the end than the beginning of the season."
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