To borrow a Yogism from the late, great Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu all over again.”
In a near repeat of Boyceville’s 1-0 road victory over Elk Mound back on May 5th, the Bulldogs traveled to the Mounders’ home field at Village Park Wednesday, June 1 for a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal baseball game and emerged with another stunning 1-0 win as Boyceville junior James Palmer once again outdueled his Elk Mound counterpart Trey Mohr.
“What an amazing game to be a part of,” said Michael Roemhild, Boyceville’s second-year head coach. “To beat Elk Mound 1-0 again at Elk Mound and in the playoffs, feels great. James pitched a great game, and he had the best defense of the year behind him.”
It was the fourth-seeded Bulldog’s second win in three meetings with the Mounders, the regionals top seed. Elk Mound’s lone win over Boyceville this season came in the opener when they punished the home-standing Bulldogs 14-0.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to maintain the momentum of that win when they faced Regis the following day in the regional finals at Bollinger Fields in Eau Claire. The Ramblers were able to hold the Bulldogs’ offense in check as they posted a 5-1 win in the Thursday, June 2 championship contest.
Eau Claire Regis, 16-6, claimed the regional crown and a berth in yesterday’s sectional tournament against Dunn-St. Croix large division champion Durand. Boyceville with the loss finished the 2016 baseball campaign with a 10-9 record and a third-place showing in the final large division standings of the D-SC.
“This was a hard fought game,” noted Roemhild. “Regis was just better than us today. My hats off to them, they are a good team and are coached very well.”
For the second time in as many meetings, James Palmer got the better of Elk Mound pitcher Trey Mohr and improved to 2-0 in their head-to-head tilts.
Despite giving up five hits compared to just three by Mohr, Palmer was able to keep the Mounders from scoring thanks to a solid backing from his defense. He issued just one walk and had four strike outs in attaining the pitching victory. Mohr’s line was just as impressive as he allowed just two base-on-balls and finished with seven strike outs but was tagged with the Mounders’ season-ending loss on their home field.
The only run of the game came in the top of the first inning as the Bulldogs’ pushed home the eventual game winner. Mohr issued a lead-off walk to Boyceville junior Micadin Kahl. He would take third when James Palmer singled two batters later and scored on a fielder’s choice to shortstop as the Bulldogs were able to beat out the double play to score the run.
Elk Mound put a pair on board in its half of the first as Cole Tyman and Ethan Kjellberg singled in back-to-back at bats. But Palmer and the Boyceville defense was able to get out of the inning without surrendering a run.
Boyceville again had something going offensively in the top-half of the second as Kyle Holden and Bryce Boda delivered consecutive singles. But Mohr worked out of the jam and did not surrender another hit the rest of the game. In fact, Mohr retired the next 17 straight Bulldog batters, a streak that ended on a two-out error in the top of the seventh inning.
Elk Mound threatened again in its portion of the third frame. A walk and an error allowed the Mounders to put a pair on base with two outs. But Palmer got Cole Tyman to pop out to left field to end the Mounders’ opportunity.
In the fifth, Carter Pritchard laced a two-out double to put the Mounders in position to bring in the game-tying run. But Palmer was again able to dodge a bullet as he got his counterpart Mohr to bounce back to him and a throw to first base ended the Elk Mound threat.
With a runner on first and one out in the sixth, the Bulldogs’ Jaden Reisimer caught a fly in left and fired it to first to double up the Elk Mound runner, who had taken off for second, to end the inning.
Palmer then retired the Mounders in order in the bottom of the seventh – getting a ground out, a fly out and a strike out – for the victory.
“Jaden Reisimer had some big catches with his biggest one being double play,” stated Roemhild. “Cooper Boesl and Max Engel played their best games defensively.”
Palmer, Holden and Boda picked up the three Bulldog hits – all singles – as each finished 1-for-3 at the plate. Cole Tyman, Ethan Kjellberg, Grant Kjellberg and Alex Hollister singled and Carter Pritchard hit a double, ad the game’s only extra base, for the Mounders.
“I am very proud of every one of my guys,” said Roemhild after the win. “We knew not many people were giving us a chance. We knew that if we played error-free ball and just stayed focus we would be ok. These guys earned and deserved this win.”
Eau Claire Regis
The Ramblers scored four runs in the first three innings of the WIAA Division 3 regional championship baseball contest at Eau Claire’s Bollinger Fields June 2.
Regis, seeded third, added another run for good measure in the fifth and went to take the title and a berth in yesterday’s sectional tournament with a 5-1 victory over Boyceville.
Despite a well pitched game by the Bulldogs lone senior, Hunter Anderson, the Ramblers found just offense to get the win. Anderson pitched all seven innings for the Bulldogs surrendering eight hits and all five runs, three of which were earned, striking out six and walking three.
“I am very proud of Hunter,” stated Roemhild following the season-ending loss. “He pitched a hell of a game. Regis is a good hitting team. To strike out six, walk three and give up only three earned runs…I couldn’t have asked for much more from my senior pitcher.”
But Regis starter Paul Petit proved to be just a bit better. Petit also sat down a half dozen Boyceville batters, walked four and allowed just three hits and an earned run to get the pitching win.
Boyceville, whose lone run came in the third inning when Micadin Kahl walked and scored three batters later on Luke Knudtson’s RBI single, just could not generate enough offense to stay with the Ramblers.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t find a our groove,” noted Roemhild. “We needed to come out right away and score on these guys, like we did against Elk Mound. We were in the game the whole time. We just gave them confidence in the first two innings.”
Regis’ lead-off hit single to open the Ramblers’ first inning and scored to make it one to nothing. Eau Claire added another run in the second.
Boyceville cut it to 2-1 on Kahl’s third-inning score but Regis plated two runs in the bottom half highlighted by Petit’s RBI triple, who helped his own cause by going 3-for 4 at the plate (two singles and the triple) with a pair runs batted in.
Already leading by three runs, the Ramblers tacked on another to make it 5-1 in the fifth when they executed the suicide squeeze with no outs and bases loaded. But Anderson and the Bulldogs were able to get out of the innings without any further damage.
Unfortunately the Boyceville bats just could not make contact with Petit’s pitches as Regis took the win.
Knudtson along with Cooper Boesl and Kyle Holden had the hits for the Bulldogs.
“We are going to miss Hunter next year tremendously,” added Roemhild. “He was a huge asset offensively and defensively. He’s a player that you just can’t replace.”
“But he is the only one gone next year, and we are hungry to go even farther next year,” concluded Boyceville’s coach. “We got a taste of what it is like. Now we just need to work even harder in the off season. I am very proud of this whole group and am ready for next year!”