Strong start not enough for Port baseball team in season-ending loss to Erfourth-led Highlanders
The Port Washington Pirates had every intention of advancing past the first round of the WIAA baseball playoffs last week.
Homesteadâ€™s Jake Erfourth had another idea.
The junior used his arm, bat and glove to help hand Port a season-ending, 5-2 loss in a regional semifinal game July 10 at Rennicke Field in Mequon.
Besides tossing a five-hitter for a complete-game victory, Erfourth had an RBI single during a four-run rally in the third inning that wiped out a 1-0 Port lead. He also made a key defensive play by turning a sacrifice bunt into a force-out that ended a Port scoring threat in the second.
â€śJake Erfourth was certainly a key player for them,â€ť Port coach Nicholas Wycklendt said. â€śHe had a great game.â€ť
Even so, the Pirates didnâ€™t go down without a fight. They played Homestead tough in two North Shore Conference losses (11-7 and 7-6) this season and showed more of the same in the rematch.
Port grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mitch Bartlein singled, moved into scoring position and came home on a fielderâ€™s-choice groundout.
But the Highlanders answered with all the offense they needed in the third.
After Mike Bradford singled off Derek Haley to start the inning, Thomas Fazio and Joe Stadler both walked to load the bases. Haley balked home the tying run.
After Erfourthâ€™s run-scoring hit, a bases-loaded walk made it 3-1. Mike Heinrich added a sacrifice fly before reliever Nick Godersky was able to end the uprising.
â€śDerek has been strong all season and tried to give it his all, but I think he just got a little tired,â€ť Wycklendt said.
Godersky helped keep Port within striking distance by allowing only one run the rest of the way. However, the Pirates couldnâ€™t get much going against Erfourth, managing just one more run in the fourth.
â€śNick came in and pitched really well for us, but we couldnâ€™t get our offense going,â€ť Wycklendt said.
Kiley Prellwitz went 2-for-3 but was the only Port player with more than one hit.
In addition to the innings in which they scored, Port had runners in scoring position in the second, third and sixth but couldnâ€™t come up a clutch hit against Erfourth.
The loss gave the Pirates a quick tournament exit and ended their season at 10-19. Despite the disappointing finale, Wycklendt was pleased with his teamâ€™s effort in his first year as varsity head coach.
â€śI think we were improved. We had 10 wins, which is more than Port has had in a number of seasons,â€ť he said.
â€śThe guys never gave up and worked hard all year. We will lose some good players to graduation, but we will have a lot of talent coming back, so weâ€™ll look to do even better next year.â€ť
Among its top players, Port will lose Godersky, Taylor Devenport, Max Kaske, Zach Hauser and Andrew Wood to graduation.
Homestead lost to Arrowhead, 1-0, in a regional title game last Friday and finished the season 21-10.
Image Information: PORT WASHINGTON SENIOR Nick Godersky pitched the final four innings during his teamâ€™s 5-2 loss to Homestead in a WIAA regional semifinal game last week. Photo by Sam Arendt