As the Muskego baseball team entered the final week of the regular season, earning a piece of a third consecutive conference championship remained a realistic goal.
The Warriors took care of their part by sweeping Mukwonago in a two-game series, but Kettle Moraine prevented Muskego and Waukesha North from grabbing a share of the league title by downing the Northstars twice to win the crown outright.
Muskego finished at 14-6 in league play, one game back of Kettle Moraine at 15-5 and one game ahead of third-place Waukesha North at 13-7.
The Warriors also dropped nonconference games to Oak Creek (10-8) and West Bend West (9-6) to close the regular season at 16-10.
Muskego was seeded fourth in the New Berlin Eisenhower sectional. After a first-round bye, the Warriors were slated to host either fifth-seeded Cudahy or 12th-seeded West Allis Hale in a regional final July 12.
Muskego overcame four different deficits, including rallying from three down in the bottom of the seventh, before falling 10-8 to Oak Creek in nine innings on July 3.
Rob Zolecki singled home Kyle Hammitt to tie the game at 5-5 in the sixth inning, but Oak Creek scored three runs in the top of the seventh to go up 8-5.
Alex Kalisnig reached on an error to start the bottom of the seventh and moved to third on a double by Mike Lehner. Sam Platow followed with a single to score Kalisnig. A pair of pop outs left the Warriors down to their final out.
Zolecki came through again in the clutch, tying the game with a two-run double to center.
Muskego went down in order in the eighth, and Oak Creek scored twice in the ninth to take the lead. The Warriors brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but couldn't come back for the fifth time in the same game.
Rain pushed back Muskego's two-game series with Mukwonago one day to July 6 and 7.
The Warriors scored six times in the ninth inning to claim a 9-3 victory on July 6 and then pulled out a 4-3 win on a walk-off squeeze bunt by Matt Auble in the eighth inning July 7.
Muskego led 3-0 after five innings in the first game of the series, but Mukwonago scored twice in the sixth and tied the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh.
Unphased, the Warriors exploded for six runs in the top of the eighth.
Hammitt drew a leadoff walk and moved all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zolecki. Nick Moll gave Muskego the lead with a single to right. After a hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases, Kalisnig plated Moll with a single to make it 5-3.
Lehner drew a bases-loaded walk, and Matt Auble connected on a two-run double to extend the lead to 8-3. Lehner later scored on a wild pitch to cap the six-run frame.
Moll finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Auble and Kalisnig each had two hits and two RBIs.
Schure allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out four. Zolecki earned the win in relief with 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
In game two, both teams scored early, as Mukwonago took a 3-0 lead in the second inning only to watch Muskego tie the game with a run in the second and two in the third.
The score remained 3-3 into the bottom of the eighth inning.
Kalisnig led off with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Lehner drew a walk, Platow sacrificed the runners to second and third. Auble then dropped down a squeeze bunt to score Kalisnig with the winning run.
Frankie Cistaro had two hits and Auble drove in two runs.
Ryan Mass started on the mound and allowed three runs over three innings. Zach Schulz came on to throw three scoreless innings and Lehner earned the win by throwing three scoreless frames.