A’s pound Panthers
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON-The Ashwaubenon A’s legion baseball team moved to 13-8 on the season with a 7-0 shutout over the Oconto Falls Panthers (July 10).
Ben Wendorf was the winning pitcher going five innings giving up two hits and no runs.
Drake Doxtater came in to gather the save.
The A’s pounded out 13 hits. Will Adair, Michael Rottier, and Logan Blazek each had three apiece, while Brady Wittig added two.
The Panthers compounded their problems in the outfield with three errors that led to Ashwaubenon runs.
The A’s came to play right from the first pitch of the evening on the defensive side of things.
Shortstop Jeremy Cox made two incredible throws from his position to rob the Panthers of base-hits.
“I haven’t seen a shortstop play like that in a long time,” said Ben Perry, A’s Head Baseball Coach. “He made some all-league throws.”
The A’s then used that momentum to get their bats flying in the bottom half of their inning.
Adair took a low breaking ball and corked a single down the third base line to open the double-digit hitting output on the Panthers.
Wittig then hit a chopper that squirted through the Oconto Falls infield and suddenly the A’s were in scoring position.
After Adair was thrown out attempting to steal a base, Rottier added a single and Cox walked loading the bases.
Blazek then put the A’s in front 1-0 with a single to center.
The Panthers got out of the inning when they turned in a double play.
Wendorf, meanwhile, went quickly through the Panthers order in the next two innings.
In the bottom of the third, Rottier stepped up and ripped a deep shot to center that from the bleachers looked like it was going over the fence.
It rattled off the wall and Rottier settled for a triple.
Cox walked, and then Blazek mustered two more RBI’s when he unleashed a double to the gap in center.
The A’s went up 3-0 but left one stranded on third at the end of the inning.
After a quick top half of the inning, the A’s got the offensive spark going once again.
With one out, Adair hit a routine pop-up into shallow right field, but the fading light presented problems for the Panthers outfielders and the ball eventually hit the grass.
After a successful stolen base, Wittig took a curve ball and scraped out a shot that went piercing down the first base line.
Adair came home to give the A’s a four-run advantage.
Rottier then added to his exquisite evening.
He sent another missile high up into the sky and again looked like it was going into the parking lot at Ashwaubomay Park.
This time, however, two Panther’s players misplayed the ball off the fence, and it went catapulting away from both.
By the time the center fielder threw the ball in, Wittig had scored, and Rottier was heading to third.
The throw went by the outstretched glove of the infielder, and Rottier beat the tag for the run.
The umpire originally ruled “out” at home plate, but the catcher had dropped the ball at the last moment.
It was called a triple and error, but his teammates were chanting ‘inside the park home run’ when he came back to the dugout.
“Michael just saw the ball well tonight,” added Perry. “He could have had two home runs with the way he connected on those two pitches. It’s been awhile since we’ve had two triples in one game.”
The A’s left two more base runners stranded but took a 6-0 lead into the top of the fifth.
Wendorf pitched a majestic fifth (his last) and came out to fist pumps and congratulatory hand shakes.
“Ben pitched a heck of a game tonight,” said Perry. “He stayed within himself when he was both behind and ahead in the count.”
The A’s added one final run in the bottom of the sixth (their last at bat) when Riley Siudzinski singled sending Blazek home.
Ashwaubenon will host their last regular season tilt on July 12 when they take on the Waupaca Comets in a doubleheader.
“I want to get guys in this week that haven’t seen a ton of action,” said Perry. “We need depth and experience heading into Regionals in just over a week’s time. I want our guys to be rested and ready for that playoff stretch that we are hosting this year.”