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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — The Elk Mound Mounders’ 2019 baseball season came to an end last Tuesday in Boyceville after their early lead evaporated during the Bulldogs’ six-run, fifth inning in the WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal contest.
Boyceville erased Elk Mound’s 2-0 lead with a double and a pair of home runs including a three-run dinger by Bulldogs’ sophomore Walker Retz in the bottom of the fifth inning and went on to beat the Mounders 6-3 in the May 28 playoff showdown at Evenson Field.
It was the third time this season that the two teams had met on the baseball diamond, each with a 3-0 home win over the other, but top-seeded Boyceville’s six runs in the fifth inning gave it the “rubber match” win and a spot in last Thursday’s (May 30) WIAA Division 3 regional championship game against Eau Claire Regis, which the Bulldogs hosted and won 8-3.
Elk Mound finished the season with a 13-6 record.
The Mounders broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning with a pair of runs off Nate Lew’s two-run fence clearing shot. Blaze Todd had a single to center field to start the Elk Mound third. Nate Lew followed it with a home run over the left field fence and the visiting Mounders a 2-0 advantage.
Lew finished with two of Elk Mound’s seven hits and a pair of RBIs in his four at bats while Todd went one-for-two with a walk. Ethan Kaanta also had two hits for the Mounders. Ryan Bohl and Chase Rhude had the other two hits.
It would stay that way until Boyceville finally broke out their bats in the bottom of the fifth where it collected five of their seven hits and all six of its runs. Jacob Granley drew a walk from starter Blaze Todd to start the Bulldogs’ rally. Ira Bialzik followed with a single.
Jaden Reisimer then doubled off the top of the left field fence to score Granley with Boyceville’s first run. Walker Retz then stepped to the plate and unloaded on a pitch that cleared the right-center fence scoring himself, Bialzik and Reisimer for a 4-2 Boyceville lead. The next next Bulldog batter, Trett Joles, sent another Todd pitch over the fence this time in left field and made it a 5-2 advantage. Boyceville added their sixth and final run when Trevor Hollister reached on an error and later scored on Connor Sempf’s single.
The very next inning, Elk Mound put its first three batters on base but was only able to plate one run, its final in the game. Ryan Bohl led off the sixth with a single to left field and then was advanced to second when Boyceville’s pitcher Connor Sempf balked. Bohl then scored when Ben Heath hit a ground ball to Boyceville shortstop Walker Retz and safely reached base on an error.
A double play earned Boyceville the first two outs of the sixth inning when Nate Lew was thrown out at first and Ben Heath was tagged out advancing to third. The final out of the inning came from Avery Kaanta who struck out swinging.
Elk Mound attempted another rally in the seventh inning, With two quick outs, Ethan Kaanta hit a single to center field. Cole Steinhorst took the count to full before Boyceville replaced Connor Sempf on the mound with Walker Retz, who threw one pitch to Steinhorst to record the strike out and end the Elk Mound season.
Shouldering a majority of the pitching duties for Elk Mound was Blaze Todd. He pitched five innings, giving up even hits and five earned runs while striking out seven in a losing effort. James Javanovich pitched a full inning for the Mounders as he struck out one batter in his seven pitches thrown.
ELK MOUND 3, BOYCEVILLE 6
Elk Mound.….….….……0 0 2 0 0 1 0 – 3
Boyceville….….…..…..0 0 0 0 6 0 X – 6
Elk Mound (3) AB-H-R: Chase Rhude 4-1-0, Ryan Bohl 3-1-1, Nate Lew 4-2-1, Cole Steinhorst 4-0-0, Brett Lew 4-0-0, Blaze Todd 2-1-1, Ethan Kaanta 4-2-0, Avery Kaanta 3-0-0, Ben Heath 2-0-0. Total 30-7-3.
Boyceville (6) AB-H-R: Brendan Sempf 3-0-0, Trett Joles 3-1-1, Walker Retz 3-1-1, Trevor Hollister 3-1-1, Connor Sempf 3-2-0, Jaden Reisimer 4-2-1, Jacob Granley 2-0-1, Ira Bialzik 3-1-1, Logan Knudtson 3-0-0. Total 27-8-6.
Pitching: Elk Mound — Blaze Todd 5 IP, 8 H, 7 K, 1 BB, 6 R (5 earned), James Javanovich 1 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 R; Boyceville — Connor Sempf 5IP, 6 H, 2 K, 1 BB, 3 R (2 earned), Trevor Hollister 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB, 0 R, Walker Retz 1/3 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 R.