Grafton wins pitchers’ duel at Hartford

Aleknavicius throws a gem; Port Washington drops three of four
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Though they both wear orange, Grafton’s Jacob Aleknavivius perhaps doesn’t hate those proverbial Mondays like Garfield the famous cartoon cat.

The junior pitcher tossed a gem on Monday to beat Hartford, 2-0, on the road, one week after nearly beating Cedarburg in another pitchers’ duel.

Against the Orioles, Aleknavicius allowed two hits in going the distance, the second of which was a little bouncer between home and third base that stopped on the line. He whiffed two, walked one and hit two batters.

“He again had a great game for us. He really commanded his pitches well and stayed ahead of hitters, kept hitters defensive,” coach Brian Durst said.

The game remained tied at 0-0 until the sixth inning. Jake Garncarz and Colin Indermuehle got hits, and Aleknavicius bunted them over. Zack Merkle and Carson Bernd followed with back-to-back RBI singles.

“He had to make that hold up because that was the only offense,” Durst said.

The victory followed a Saturday home win over non-conference opponent Whitnall in a literal walk-off.

After the Falcons tied the game, 3-3, in the top of the seventh, the Hawks were held scoreless and the game went into extra innings.

It took only one for Grafton to end the game.

Tommy Lamb whiffed the side in the top of the eighth, and the offense took it from  there.

Hunter Schmitt led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, and Lamb bunted him to second. Garncarz reached on an infield single, and Indermuehle walked to load the bases.

Aleknavicius then ran the count to full before drawing a dramatic walk-off walk to win it.

Schmitt started and went five innings, whiffing four and walking five before he reached his pitch limit. Carson Chopp pitched one inning before Lamb finished the game.

It was a back-and-forth game, with the Falcons scoring in the top of the first and the Hawks tying the game in the bottom of the second.

They took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, with the Falcons tying the game in the top of the fifth. But Grafton took the lead right back with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out double by Zack Merkle to score Indermuehle, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.

“I was really happy to see the way we responded all game long,” Durst said. “It was nice to see us driving in runs with two outs. Those are the hits we were missing in the previous game.”

That game was a rematch with Cedarburg on April 3 — the NSC is having teams play the same opponents on Mondays and Wednesdays, one home and one away.

After beating the Bulldogs, 5-1, on April 1, the Hawks lost, 3-1, two days later in Grafton.

Aleknavicius and Bulldog Nathan Hucko took no-hitters into the sixth inning. The Bulldogs finally got to Aleknavicius for three runs on two walks and two hits, and Josh Merkle came in to finish up.

The Hawks tried to come back in the seventh. Zack Merkle walked, Aleknavicius doubled and Bernd had an RBI groundout. But Hucko worked out of the jam to finish the game.

Aleknavicius walked five and struck out six. Hucko whiffed nine and walked two.

The 3-1 Hawks were to play Hartford on Wednesday, but tried to move the game up to Tuesday given the weather forecast. No umpires, however, were available. They host Port Washington on

Monday, April 15 and plat at Port on Wednesday, April 15. Both games are at 4:30 p.m.

Port drops three of four on thin pitching

The Pirates lost three of their last four games, hurt by a lack of pitchers in the last two losses.

On Monday, Port lost to powerful West Bend East 30-1, in five innings, two days after losing to New Berlin Eisenhower, 22-14.

“New Berlin Eisenhower is a good offense. I’d say West Bend East is another level. They’re loaded,” coach C.J. Koehler said.

The Suns scored 14 runs in the first inning to put the game away early. Port scored its run on a George Klassen single that scored Patrick Lippe.

Some Port players were deemed ineligible, which hurt pitching depth. The Pirates used five pitchers in both games.

On Saturday, Port’s offense tried to keep up. Lippe was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Joe Yandry was 2-for-2 with a double. Nolan Mueller was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Klassen had a hit and two walks and Marcus Schmit had a hit and two RBI.

At Milwaukee Riverside on Friday, the Pirates bounced back from a big deficit to win, 11-9.

Down 8-1 headed into the third inning, Port mounted a comeback.

Klassen went 3-for-3 with three RBI, Schmit was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Eli Buczek was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI in the No. 9 spot and Lippe had a hit and two walks.

Freshman Brayden Thompson started and allowed eight runs in the first two innings, but Koehler said his defense didn’t help him out. He posted a zero in the third inning. Connor Hoida pitched well in relief for his first varsity save.

In a rematch with Slinger on April 3, two days after Port won, 4-3, the Owls won, 8-6.

The Owls scored six runs in the third inning to take a 6-3 lead. They hit a grand slam after Port couldn’t get to a pop fly in foul territory.

Port tried to come back, once loading the bases with the middle of the order up, but didn’t score. The Pirates put a runner on in the seventh but couldn’t tie the game.

“We played pretty well, just couldn’t get those timely hits,” Koehler said.

Schmit went 2-for-3 and Klassen went 2-for-4.

Klassen started and got to a high pitch count in the third inning, after two scoreless frames. Yandry and Ehtan Bornhoefer finished up.

The 4-3 Pirates were scheduled to play at West Bend East on Wednesday and host Waukesha South on Friday before facing Grafton next week.

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