The New Berlin West baseball team topped off its walk-off win against Greendale on June 12 with another show of fireworks, defeating Greendale a day later, 9-6, to complete the sweep.
After a relatively silent offensive output in the first five innings, the Vikings took command of the game with an eight-hit, seven-run sixth inning. Greendale’s 3-2 lead quickly became a 9-3 deficit.
“Once we got the first couple hits and especially once we tied the game, they just took off,” New Berlin West manager Tom Farina said. “They were seeing the pitch that they wanted, and they attacked it.”
“I give New Berlin West’s hitters a lot of credit,” Greendale manager Brian Johnsen said. “They had a lot of good at-bats, and they kept putting the pressure on us.”
Following hits from second baseman Will Bush and designated hitter Matt Obradovich, Johnsen gave the ball to Colin Becko to stop the bleeding.
Becko, however, did not have better luck, allowing six more hits including a two-run double by first baseman Nick Paget.
“It was a great pitch to hit,” Paget said. “It was about waist-high and right down the middle, so I just capitalized on it.”
Paget was no stranger to big hits. He blasted the walk-off grand slam to defeat Greendale one day earlier, 5-1.
“Our offense tonight was a carryover from what we did last night,” Farina said. “We didn’t hit the ball early last night and late in the game we just got on fire.”
Paget echoed the sentiment.
“After you hit a walk-off, you feel invincible and you feel like you can do anything,” Paget said. “You have to expect your pitch, and when you see it, you just have to rock it.”
Greendale junior Ryan Hoefs took over on the mound for the final four outs without any issues, but Greendale had already dug itself a six-run hole.
“You have to be playing catch-up baseball,” Johnsen explained. “You have to be patient and you have to string a bunch of hits together, so it doesn’t allow you to be as aggressive as you want on the bases.”
Greendale bounced back quickly despite the change in mindset, cutting the Vikings lead to 9-5 with the bases loaded and one out for senior first baseman and Northern Kentucky commit Griffin Doersching.
The 18-year-old slugger missed a game-tying grand slam by a few feet. Instead, he drove in only one run with a sacrifice fly, and the following hitter flew out, keeping the score at 9-6.
“We battled,” Johnsen said. “We competed for seven innings tonight. We made a game of it. We cut the lead in half after that. I’m proud of my guys for that.”
Errors, particularly on the right side of the infield, plagued both teams, with eight combined errors.
“The lack of rain has made the field very hard, so it was tough on both teams tonight,” Johnsen said. “Obviously, you want to make those plays, and they made a couple more than we did tonight.”
Pitching helped West overcome its defensive woes as well.
“Our pitchers weren’t perfect tonight, Farina said. “But they did enough positive things to get us through at the right times.”
For Farina, the sweep marks progress for a young team only starting one senior.
“We started our season as expected, a little slow, making a lot of mental mistakes and physical mistakes, getting down about it because they’re young kids making the big step from U14 baseball basically to varsity high school,” Farina said. “In the last four or five games, they’ve figured a lot of things out, they’ve begun to believe in each other and believe in themselves and good things are starting to happen to them.”
Defeating Greendale also gives the young team a much-needed confidence boost
“They’re kind of a standard-bearer over the last few years in the conference,” Farina said. “To be able to take them down twice is huge for us.”