Indians nearly knock off champs
By Hub City Times staff
CRIVITZ – The Greenwood Indians came within one strike of knocking off the defending state champions in Division 4, in a sectional semi-final played June 4 at Crivitz High School. The Indians lost to the two-time defending state champion Athens Bluejays 6-4, in dramatic come-from-behind fashion in the seventh inning.
Athens had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Javon Penney had a base hit, Connor Westfall walked and Seth Coker got a hit to load the bases. Dakota Willemssen then ripped an RBI base hit to score Penney. After Dayne Diethelm struck out, Derek Czech knocked in Westfall as Coker got thrown out at third base.
After quiet second and third innings, the Indians stormed into the lead with a three-run fourth. After back-to-back base hits by Jonah and Xander Hinker, Cole Zimbauer reached on a throwing error by Coker at shortstop to load the bases. Trenton Klabon then smacked a two-run base hit scoring both Hinkers, as Zimbauer was thrown out at third base. After a base hit by Sully Whitford, Westin Schmitz reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Klabon.
The Indians added to their lead in the fifth inning. After Cooper Bredlau struck out to lead off the inning, Jonah Hinker laced a triple to the gap in left-center field, then scored on a wild pitch and error by Willemssen.
After a quick sixth inning, the Indians went into the top of the seventh just three outs away from their first sectional semifinal win since their state championship year of 2013, when they beat Lake Country Lutheran 6-4 in the title contest.
Greenwood pitcher Cooper Bredlau led off the seventh by striking out Diethelm. After walking Czech, Bredlau got Jake Denzine to pop out to Klabon at first base. With one on and two outs, that’s when the game unraveled for the Indians. Cobie Ellenbecker got a base hit and then Cooper Diedrich walked to load the bases. With two strikes on Javon Penney, the Athens center fielder ripped a two-run base hit that scored Czech and Ellenbecker to tie the game at 4.
After Penney stole second, Westfall walked to load the bases. Seth Coker took advantage, knocking a two-run base hit that scored Diedrich and Penney and gave Athens the lead. Willemssen then flied out to Whitford in center to end the Athens seventh.
In the Greenwood seventh, Jaeger Johnson led off the inning with a base hit, but Tragen Bogdonovich bounced into a 4-3 double play for two quick outs. Bredlau then popped out to Diethelm at first and the game was over.
Willemssen got the win for the Bluejays, who then beat Gibraltar for the sectional title and a return trip to the state baseball tournament in Appleton. Bredlau took the loss for the Indians, who ended their season 19-3.
Johnson led the Greenwood attack with two singles and a double. Jonah Hinker added a single and a triple. Klabon went 2-for-3 with two singles and two runs batted in. Whitford and Xander Hinker were both 1-for-3. The Indians also lost to Athens in a 2011 sectional semifinal, but beat the Bluejays in a 2010 sectional semifinal before losing to Rosholt in the sectional championship contest. Greenwood also beat Athens in a 2006 regional semifinal game, and a regional quarterfinal contest in 1995.