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Encore shutout gives Hawks regional crown PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 19:32

Lukas’ second 3-0 gem against Homestead propels Grafton into sectional play

Adam Lukas and his Grafton teammates entered the seventh inning of a WIAA regional baseball final against Homestead last Friday with everything on the line.sports3

Not only were the visiting Black Hawks on the verge of a shutout win over a higher-seeded foe, Lukas was flirting with a no-hitter.

The senior right-hander had to settle for a two-hitter, but his strong arm led the way in a 3-0 victory that advanced Grafton into this week’s sectional round.

“It’s all about Adam’s preparation,” said Grafton coach Brian Durst, whose team protected an early lead to secure its second straight shutout win over Homestead in 11 days.

“He’s at another level of play right now that makes him so tough.”

Lukas, who accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Evansville, blanked Homestead, 3-0, on five hits in a North Shore Conference game July 5.

His control wasn’t as sharp in the rematch, as Homestead drew six walks and had two batters hit by pitches. However, the third-seeded Highlanders were hitless through 6-1/3 innings.

“Adam didn’t have the greatest control, but he was still throwing hard and keeping their hitters off balance,” Durst said.

The sixth-seeded Hawks’ defense also chipped in with an errorless performance.

Grafton withstood the Highlanders’ final comeback bid in the bottom of the seventh.

 
Black Hawks finish with a flourish PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 18:25

Second-place standing in NSC doesn’t help Grafton in WIAA seeding

A solid finish to the regular season gave the Grafton baseball team a two-game winning streak entering the WIAA playoffs this week.

The Black Hawks also went into a regional semifinal Tuesday, July 12, with a bit of a chip on their shoulders.sports1

Despite blanking Homestead on July 5 to earn a share of second place in the final North Shore Conference standings and thumping Brown Deer, 11-1, last Friday, Grafton took a modest No. 6 seed into the regional semifinals. Four other conference teams received higher seeds than the Hawks even though only one, champion West Bend West, had a better league record.

“It was unbelievable,” Grafton coach Brian Durst said of the coaches’ voting at the July 6 seed meeting.

“We were disappointed, to say the least. We requested a third or fourth seed, but the other coaches didn’t see it that way.

“It’s certainly difficult to satisfy everyone with the seedings, but we thought we deserved to be a little higher.”

Grafton finished the regular season 16-8, including an 11-7 conference record capped by a 3-0 home win over Homestead. The victory left the Hawks tied for runner-up honors with Homestead and Cedarburg, six games behind West (17-1).

“That’s the best finish we’ve had in the North Shore since I’ve been coaching here,” said Durst, who’s in his 16th season at the Grafton varsity helm.

“West ran away with it, but second place was really up for grabs. It shows how much competitive balance there is in the conference.

“We had some opportunities to win games slip away late in the season, but we kept ourselves in the mix and finished strong.”

The host Hawks made the most of their regular-season finale against Brown Deer, pounding out a nonconference win with two big innings on Senior Night.

After jumping to a 5-0 lead with a six-hit flurry in the first, Grafton saw its bats go quiet for the next four frames. However, the Hawks caught fire again with a six-run sixth inning that ended the game on a 10-run mercy rule.

Freshman Zach Merkle made his first varsity at-bat a memorable one by lacing a two-out, two-run single on a 3-2 pitch to provide a walk-off victory.

 
Rockets hot streak hits reverse gear PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 18:22

After four consecutive wins, Cedar Grove-Belgium stumbles in conference play

Cedar Grove-Belgium’s baseball team ended the season on two streaks.

The Rockets won four games in a row two weeks ago — three by double digits — and lost its final four games, including a sweep by top Big East Conference team Plymouth.sports2

Last Friday, the Rockets lost, 3-0, at New Holstein, the Big East’s third-place finisher in a tight race at the top.

Jason von Heimburg went the distance on the mound, allowing two earned runs and seven hits in six innings on 81 pitches. He struck out two and walked one.

“Jason Von Heimburg #6 pitched an excellent game,” coach Tom Race said. “He definitely pitched well enough to win. We had 3 costly errors.”

New Holstein’s Justin Weber was even better, allowing one hit to Matt Dirkse.

“He pitched a heck of a game. New Holstein is a tough opponent,” Race said.

On July 6, the Rockets lost, 9-3, to Sheboygan Lutheran.

Tyler Kraus pitched four innings and allowed six runs (four earned), six hits and four walks while striking out two.

Tyler Falk pitched three innings in relief, allowing three unearned runs, four hits and three walks while whiffing three.

 “As a team, we had four errors. This led to five unearned runs,” Race said. “As a team, we have improved greatly on our defense over the season. Today, we went back to kicking it around.”

Dirkse went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk. Brett Simmelink was 2-for-3 with a walk.

 
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