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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:30

Sectional semifinal loss to Bay douses Port Washington’s spark in baseball playoffs

Exhilaration propelled Port Washington into the sectional round of the WIAA baseball tournament last week.PORT WASHINGTON COACH Jeff Dornburg (far right) gathered his infield players for a talk on the mound during Friday’s sectional-semifinal loss to Whitefish Bay.        Photo by Sam Arendt

Just as quickly, a lack of execution ended the Pirates’ playoff trail.

After rallying to upset Nicolet in a first-round game, Port had no magic left at Whitefish Bay, which hammered out an 8-1 win in a rain-delayed sectional semifinal at Cahill Park on Friday.

“They just came out, hit the ball and put us in a hole,” said Pirates coach Jeff Dornburg, whose team fell behind in the second inning and never recovered.

“It wasn’t our day. We had some scoring opportunities, but we weren’t able to take advantage of them.”

The Pirates, who started the day with a season-best four-game winning streak, threatened to score in the first inning. But after loading the bases with two outs, they came away empty.

Bay wasn’t about to return the favor.

In the bottom of the second, the Blue Dukes’ first two batters reached against Port starter Derek Haley — Pat Rose on a single and James Stecker with a walk.

Grant Menard followed with a long home run that cleared the left-field fence and put Bay up, 3-0.

Before the inning ended, the Dukes added another run, with Pat Harrington’s RBI single making it 4-0.

While Bay starter Justin Alt continued to blank the Pirates, the Dukes tacked on two runs in the third. This time, Johnny Markweise’s two-run double made it 6-0.

Port’s only offensive highlight came in the fourth.

After Max Kaske walked to start the inning, Nick Godersky singled and Zach Hauser walked to load the bases.

Port tried to steal a run by inducing a throw to second base, but the Dukes’ relay caught Kaske at the plate. The Pirates then had to settle for an RBI groundout by
Haley.

Port had four hits the rest of the way, but all were singles. Bay turned a double play in the seventh to help snuff out the Pirates’ final scoring chance.

“We just didn’t execute,” Dornburg said. “Whenever we got something going, we couldn’t finish it.”

Alt finished a complete-game victory with a seven-hitter. He struck out four batters and walked three.

The loss went to Haley, who lasted two innings before giving way to two relievers — Taylor Devenport in the third and Godersky for the final three frames.

Markweise, Rose and Garrett Demuth each had two hits for Bay, as did Kevin Schmidt for the Pirates.

The loss left Port with an 8-20 record. Bay improved to 19-13 and moved on to the sectional title game, where it defeated Cedarburg, 11-3, to qualify for this week’s
state tournament.

After finishing last in the North Shore Conference with a 3-15 record, the Pirates stepped up their game late in the year. They finished the regular season with three
straight nonconference wins and knocked off Nicolet (see related story) to enter Friday’s sectional round on a high note.

The late-season run, as well as a number of close losses early in the year, left Dornburg encouraged.

“We would have liked to win more, but this team was so much improved over last year,” he said. “We had a lot of games we could have won, and we couldn‘t say that before.”

With Schmidt the only player the Pirates lose to the graduation, Dornburg is upbeat about next season.

“We have a lot of good young players who will be back as three-year letterwinners next year,” he said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t continue to improve.”

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