Written by Ozaukee Press
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 19:01
Close weekend loss leaves team one game back of Mercs in division standings
DUSTIN KESNER helped the Grafton Express pound out an 11-2 win over Plymouth in the teams’ regular-season finale Saturday.
Photo by Sam ArendtA share of the Northern Division title slipped through the hands of the Grafton Express last weekend.
Needing to win its final three regular-season games of the Land O’ Lakes baseball season, Grafton came up one victory shy.
West Bend edged the Express, 4-3, on Friday, with the winning run scoring on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Grafton bounced back Saturday to defeat Plymouth, 11-2, but had to settle for second place in the division race with an 11-7 record.
Cedarburg (12-6) successfully defended its title by getting past Saukville, 5-4, on Saturday.
Cedarburg enters this week’s division playoffs as the top seed and received a first-round bye. Grafton is the No. 2 seed.
On Friday, the Express held a 2-0 lead after five innings of a pitchers’ duel between starters Jordan Clark of Grafton and Davis Yach of West Bend.
West Bend (9-9) moved ahead with a three-run sixth, but Grafton tied the game at 3-3 in the ninth when Clark singled and scored on an error.
In the 10th, Brant Anderson drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game.
Against Plymouth, the Express surged ahead early and pounded out 21 hits in a lopsided victory.
Grafton built a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first when five of its first six batters reached base on hits. The lead grew to 9-1 after five innings.
Joey Thome led the Express with four hits. Justin Gephart had two hits for Plymouth (9-9).
Mickey Pruefer pitched a complete game for the win. He scattered eight hits, struck out four and walked one.
Saukville (8-10) gave Cedarburg a battle before succumbing in the Mercs’ title-clinching win.
The Saints held a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Cedarburg rallied to pull even in the third.
After falling behind, 5-3, Saukville scored its final run on an RBI single by Kyle Dieringer in the ninth.
Dieringer finished with three hits, as did John Regnitz for Cedarburg.
Highlights of other local Northern Division games last week follow.
Thiensville-Mequon 15, Port Washington 9
Port couldn’t keep pace with the free-swinging Twins in a road loss Saturday.
The Lakers (4-12) had 15 hits and scored in five innings, but Thiensville-Mequon (9-9) answered with a 21-hit attack. The Twins overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring five runs in the first and
never trailed again.
Ryan Romens hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Port. The Lakers got three hits from Nick Heiting and two apiece from Ed Kozlowski and Chris Laurishke.
Brady Bingham led the Twins with six hits, including two doubles.
Port Washington 4, Saukville 3
The host Lakers overcame a 2-0 deficit with a four-run rally in the first inning Friday.
Laurishke and Kozlowski each had RBI doubles in the comeback.
Saukville scored its final run on Cole Granrath’s sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Laurishke and Kozlowski had two hits apiece. Dieringer led Saukville with three hits.
Grafton 14, West Bend 7
A nine-run fifth inning, highlighted by Clark’s three-run homer, lifted the Express to a road win Aug. 4.
The flurry gave Grafton an 11-3 lead and helped it withstand a four-run rally by West Bend in the seventh.
Clark finished with a team-high three hits.
Sam Keller, E.J. Sexton and Joe Stubbe each had three hits for the Benders.
Thiensville-Mequon 12, Saukville 7
A late comeback couldn’t save the Saints from a road defeat Aug. 3.
Saukville trailed, 11-0, after five innings before outscoring the Twins, 7-1, the rest of the way.
Matt Jacoby and Casey Johnson had two hits apiece for the Saints.
Bingham and McEwen each homered for the Twins.
Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 18:58
Reloading back line will be crucial to success of young Grafton boys’ team
The defense has never rested for the Grafton High School boys’ soccer team, and this year should be no exception.
One difference for the Black Hawks, though, will be the challenge of reloading their perennially steady back line.
“We lost a big chunk of our defense to graduation, so we have to find new people to step up there,” said Grafton coach Don Arnold, whose team is coming off a 4-3, third-place finish in the North Shore Conference last season.
“We definitely have plenty of talent coming back, but we may have to move some players around to find the right mix.”
The Hawks, who went 8-8-5 overall in 2010, lost eight players to graduation, including standouts such as Michael Salm, Ryan Kearns, Alex Konop, C.J. Koehler and Nick Markworth.
Kearns was a first-team all-conference defender, and Salm received second-team recognition as a midfielder.
A major plus will be the return of sophomore goalkeeper Killian Mielotz, who won the starting job in his first year of varsity ball and is counted on to anchor the defense.
“Killian is young, but he’s already got a lot of experience,” Arnold said.
Among Grafton’s other returning players, junior Willie McElligott received All-NSC honorable mention as a forward. He led the Hawks with 12 goals last year and should again be one of
the league’s top offensive threats.
“Willie has great speed and ball-handling skills, but he could also help us on defense,” Arnold said.
The Hawks are also counting on leadership from veterans such as senior midfielders Kevin Johnson and Kevin Wegner, juniors Jacob Wilde, Jacob Kellett, Alex Lorbecki, Wolfgang
Pilarski, Nic Bocanegra and Alec Rosenberg and sophomores Zach Greenwood and Matt Salm.
McElligott, Wilde, Kellett and Pilarski are among a group of versatile players who can contribute at a variety of positions. Kellett showed promise as a forward before being injured and
could make a major difference if healthy this fall, Arnold said.
Wilde’s strongest position is center midfielder, but he could contribute as a sweeper, Arnold added.
“Early in the season, everything will really be up for grabs,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, but it’s a question of how it will all fit together.”
Germantown is the defending NSC champion and should be strong again, along with runner-up Cedarburg and Nicolet, Arnold said. Although his young team will be an underdog, he believes it could jump into the title chase.
“We will not be a favorite because of the players we lost,” Arnold said. “But when people are looking at us as being in the middle of the pack, that gives us a chance to surprise them.”
After opening practice this week, the Hawks will face their first competition Saturday, Aug. 13, when they travel to Cedarburg for a 4 p.m. scrimmage.
Grafton opens the season for real at home Wednesday, Aug. 17, with a 7 p.m. nonconference match against Catholic Memorial.