Defending state champs halts Legion’s playoff run

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

After a tough loss to open last week’s Class A regional tournament, the East Troy Post 188 Legion baseball team bounced back with two straight victories.

But in the fourth game, Post 188 ran into the defending state champions from Waupun.

And that’s where the run ended.

East Troy trailed by just one run into the seventh inning before Waupun pulled away in a 5-1 victory to end Post 188’s summer campaign.

“We got beat by a good team,” East Troy coach John Wick said. “This is two years in a row that we hung with them. Last year, they beat us 3-2. It was one of only two games that (Waupun’s) playoff opponents stayed within seven runs of them.”

Waupun jumped out in front with a single run in the second inning before East Troy knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame.

Jason Dopke reached on an error, moved to third on a single by Nick Bertschinger and scored on a wild pitch.

A solo homer by Waupun in the fourth inning broke the tie, followed three hits and two walks in the seventh that led to three more runs to close the scoring.

East Troy, which fell 2-1 to Markesan in the tournament opener, advanced to face Waupun with victories of 11-1 over Green Lake and 9-5 over the Kenosha Rake.

Bertschinger took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Green Lake. He allowed just two hits, one earned run, two walks and struck out seven in seven innings of work.

East Troy built a 6-0 lead by the third inning.

Four walks and a wild pitch led to a run in the second, followed by a pair of two-run hits by Josh Oswald and Logan Mitchell in the third.

“Green Lake was young, and we exploited it early,” Wick said. “Nick Bertschinger was excellent. He just keeps getting better. It will be a great senior year for him next year.”

After a walk to Will Iloncaie in the fifth, four straight singles by Oswald, Bertschinger, Mitchell and Jacob Mast led to two more runs and built the lead to 8-0.

Post 188 finished the scoring on a two-run double by Oswald in the sixth and an RBI hit by Mitchell in the seventh that scored Mast, who had doubled.

East Troy trailed Kenosha 5-4 into the sixth inning before it rallied to stay alive.

After Bertschinger and Ryan Olsen reached and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, Mitchell drove a two-strike pitch into the gap to give Post 188 the lead for good.

East Troy added insurance runs on hits by Mitchell, Evan Wick, Iloncaie and Oswald.

In the opener against Markesan, neither team could get into an offensive groove, Wick said. Post 188 managed just six hits, as lloncaie took the loss.

For the game, Iloncaie allowed three hits, two walks, two earned runs and struck out six. Oswald led the offense with two hits.

While his team fell short in its goal to advance to this week’s state tournament, Wick said the season as a whole was a positive one.

Several players ended their legion careers, including his son, Evan, but John Wick said he believes the future is bright.

“It’s a bittersweet ending,” he said. “I love the kids, love the game, love the time spent, but as Evan leaves, so does up to 10 years of being with many of the kids. “(Assistant) Tom Kostopoulos and I hope to see the Post 188 program grow next year. There is the possibility to have a junior and senior squad next year.”

 

Wick in All-Star Game

Wick will represent Post 188 in the annual Legion All-Star Game Sunday, Aug. 9, at Miller Park, Milwaukee.

The game will follow the Brewers-St. Louis Cardinals game that begins at 1 p.m.

From the 125 Senior Legion teams in the state, 56 players are selected, John Wick said.

As a junior, Evan Wick batted .404 for Post 188, and this year, he hit .422. He also caught nearly every game the last three years.

“Most people take catching, framing, blocking and throwing for granted,” John Wick said. “It’s a physically demanding job, the most brutal and crucial, game-in and game-out.

“Pitchers are always going to get headlines, but they rotate in and out. Every time we took the field, there was No. 33 behind the plate ready to work.”

Evan Wick, who will play next year at Viterbo College, La Crosse, said he’s looking forward to the game.

“Josh (Oswald) was there last year, and he keeps telling me what a great time it was,” he said. “It just gets me more excited for the opportunity.”

 

 

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