If there's one word to describe the New Berlin West baseball team this season, it would be resiliency. Whether it is in the middle of a game or after a tough loss, the Vikings have time and time again found a way to respond.
West's latest test, responding after a mistake-filled loss to Pewaukee on June 20 with a win the next day, has it tied for first place with Greendale in the Woodland West division with two regular-season division games to play.
'They play from the first out to the last out,' coach Tom Farina said. 'We don't always get out to the best starts at the beginning of games, but you can always count on them to play until the game is over and never give in and never give up. We always find a way to get something done and make a ball game of it. In most cases we're coming out on top.'
The Vikings were scheduled to play New Berlin Eisenhower on June 27 and 28, while the Panthers play two with Wauwatosa West. Pius XI Catholic and Pewaukee, which play each other, are a game back of the co-leaders.
West last won the Woodland West in 2013 when it shared the division crown with Pius and Wauwatosa West.
'It is definitely an important achievement for our kids,' Farina said. 'After we won our state title in 2013, we had a down year in 2014 and a little bit of a bounce back last year. This year they've taken their bounce back to another level. They are looking to try to achieve a conference title and see what they can do when the postseason arrives.'
After falling, 4-0, to Pewaukee on June 20, West came away with a 6-2 victory over the Pirates the next day.
In the first game, Pirates starter Patrick Tomfohrde struck out 14 in a four-hit shutout of the Vikings. West had scoring chances with runners in scoring position in the third, fifth and sixth but couldn't cash in.
Nate Egofske singled with two on in the sixth, but Oscar Delvalle was tagged out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Tomfohrde then struck out Trevor Duran to end the threat.
West starter Will Bush took the loss, despite allowing just two earned runs over six innings, as the Vikings made six errors. Nick Paget had two of West's four hits.
A Vikings error allowed the Pirates to get on the board in the third on a squeeze bunt by Shaun Campbell. After Pewaukee scored a run on an error in the sixth, Ryan Mulvey singled home a pair of runs to put the Pirates up 4-0.
West didn't let its offensive struggles linger into the next day, as the Vikings jumped on Pirates starter Carl Renz for three first-inning runs on June 21.
'To our credit, we came back (June 21) and played an extremely solid defensive game,' Farina said. 'It was almost as if our kids said, 'We're going to let you know we're not as bad as we played last night.''
After Renz walked two and fired a wild pitch to start the bottom of the first, Egofske singled to left to score two. The Vikings' catcher eventually came around to score on a two-out, third-strike wild pitch.
Egofske delivered again with two on in the fifth, doubling to left-center field to plate both runners. West added an insurance run on a two-out RBI double by Duran in the sixth.
Cory Liebherr didn't allow an earned run in a complete-game effort, scattering seven hits and striking out three. Pewaukee scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to break the shutout, but Liebherr recorded a strike out and got a ground out to end the game.
West rolled past Greenfield on June 23, needing just five innings to dispatch the Hustlin' Hawks, 13-2.
The Vikings jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on RBI singles from Liebherr, Duran and Dan Western; a fielder's choice hit into by Paget; and a ground out by Tyler Stoltenburg.
Alex Redman tossed five innings for West, surrendering two runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
In a back-and-forth affair June 24, Paget delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to give West a 10-9 nonconference win over Brookfield Central.
The Vikings jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Egofske and three bases-loaded walks. Aided by two New Berlin West errors, Brookfield Central answered with six runs in the second to grab the lead.
Egofske doubled, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 6-6 in the fourth. After an error allowed the Lancers to jump in front by a run in the sixth, West scored three times in the bottom of the sixth.
A single by Delvalle and a double by Egofske got the Vikings going, while Paget tied the game with an RBI single. Stoltenburg and Evan Sadowski each drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to give West a 9-7 lead.
Jonathan Osman drew a walk to start the seventh for Brookfield Central, and Jacob Sandy followed with a single. Consecutive ground outs scored Osman to pull the Lancers to within one. A two-out passed ball then allowed Sandy to scamper home with the tying run.
'It didn't phase our kids,' Farina said. 'We came right back out. These kids are finding ways to get it done.'
Delvalle led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. After Egofske flew out, Liebherr doubled to move the winning run to third base. Paget then lined a hit to left to win the game.
After playing Eisenhower on June 27 and June 28, the Vikings will host Shorewood at 5 p.m. June 30.