Delavan-Darien High School’s Sam Grover throws a pitch. (Michael S. Hoey photo)

By Michael S. Hoey

Correspondent

The Delavan-Darien baseball team defeated Williams Bay in a nonconference road matchup, 17-11, on Saturday. The Comets jumped out to an early 8-0 lead but had to fight to keep that advantage and come away with the win.

“Sometimes when you jump out to an early lead like that, you take for granted that you have got the game made, and then you give them a chance to come back,” Coach Mike Grover said. “You can’t take the foot off the pedal.”

Ben Butke scores a run in the first inning.

The Comets scored eight runs in the first two innings, but then the Bulldogs changed pitchers and the bats went quiet. Williams Bay crept within 8-5 before the Comets scored two in the sixth. Even then, the Bulldogs put a scare into the Comets by scoring four in the bottom of the sixth to draw within 10-9. The Comets put the game away with a seven-run seventh inning.

“I think they finally looked at the scoreboard and realized they had better get going again,” Grover said.

D-DHS scored three in the first inning. Sam Grover led off with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Ben Butke. After Butke stole second, a wild pitch allowed Grover to score and Butke to advance to third. Butke then scored on a single by Noal Brouwer. Brouwer moved to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch. He scored on another wild pitch.

The Comets got five runs in the second. Michell Lewis walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Trent Hernandez. Seth Sybesma brought Lewis home with a single and later scored on a triple by Butke. Grover, who had walked, also scored. Butke scored on a ground out by Brouwer. Eric Gonzalez singled. Josh Johnson ran for him and scored on a single by Ryan Hoey.

In the meantime, Grover was sailing through the Williams Bay lineup facing the minimum six batters through two innings. Williams Bay brought Austin Pfeil into the game in relief of Jack Kuiper, and Pfeil shut out the Comets with two innings of one-hit ball.

Williams Bay got on the scoreboard with one run in the fourth. The Bulldogs loaded the bases on a double, a walk and a single, but it took a balk to bring in Kuiper with the one run.

Williams Bay broke through in the fifth. Until the fifth, the Comets had played well defensively – something they have struggled with at times.

“We were playing a good game, then we had some mental lapses,” Grover said. “We had some mental errors, we weren’t ready, and we dropped some balls.”

Even worse, all the damage was down after two were out on strikeouts. A hit batsman, two singles and a third single that should have been caught for the third out of the inning, an error and an errant pick-off throw allowed the Bulldogs to cut the lead to 8-5.

The Comet bats woke up in the top of the sixth. Butke singled and stole second and third. Gonzalez tripled Butke in and later scored on a wild pitch.

Williams Bay got as close as it would all day to completing a comeback with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 10-9. Lewis was in to pitch. With one out, the Bulldogs drew two walks and both scored on a triple by Pfeil. With two outs, Pfeil scored on an errant pick-off throw to third by Gonzalez. A bloop double down the right field line by Eli Edington scored another run.

In the top of the seventh, the Comets put some distance between themselves and the Bulldogs with seven runs. The highlights included a double by Hernandez, an RBI single by Grover, a fielder’s choice by Butke that scored Sybesma, an RBI single by Brouwer, a single by Hoey that brought two Comets home and a double by Lewis that brought two more home.

“That was huge,” Grover said about the insurance runs his team scored when the game got close.

Grover said the same things happened for the Comets in the seventh that happened to them in the Bulldog fifth and sixth innings. The Comets benefitted from some errors and misplays but also had some timely hitting and good base running.

The Bulldogs scored two in the bottom of the seventh off of Hoey, but that was as close as they could get.

Sam Grover pitched five innings giving up three hits and one earned run. Williams Bay (3-9) scored its 11 runs on just six hits thanks to four Comets errors.

Butke, Gonzalez and Hoey each had three hits. Butke, Brouwer and Hoey all had three RBIs.

The Comets (2-9, 0-7 SLC) did not fare as well in Southern Lakes Conference play earlier in the week. The Comets traveled to Lake Geneva to play the Badgers in a double header on May 1.

Badger won the first game 9-1. The Badgers (5-7, 4-5) scored three runs in three different innings – the third, the fourth and the sixth. D-DHS scored once in the sixth. Brouwer walked, and Gonzalez singled. Oliver Hetzel hit into a double play, but Brouwer moved to third and then scored on a single by Sybesma.

Once again, the Comets hurt themselves by committing seven errors.

“The big thing is we have to clean up the errors,” Grover said. “We can’t give them six to- seven outs an inning.”

The Comets also struggled to hit off Badger pitching. Addison Hochevar limited them to one run on three hits over six innings. Cade Carpenter threw one perfect inning of relief.

The Comets only had two errors in a 9-3 loss in the second game but still struggled to hit as they managed just five hits in the nightcap.

D-DHS got on the scoreboard first in the first inning. Grover singled and scored on a double by Brouwer. Badger took a 2-1 lead in the second and added two more in the third.

The Comets got one back in the bottom of the third. Grover reached on an error and moved to second on another error. He moved to third on a ground out and scored on a double by Gonzalez.

Badger scored three in the fifth and two in the sixth to build a 9-2 lead. The Comets scored once in the seventh. Lewis walked and eventually scored on a ground out by Hernandez.

The Comets also dropped both games of a home double header with Wilmot on May 4. Wilmot won the first game 10-0 scoring three in the first, one in the second, three in the third and three more in the fourth.

Wilmot’s Kyle Gendron held the Comets to one hit by Brouwer over five innings.

The Comets fared much better in the second game but fell 3-0. Brouwer gave up two hits and one earned run over four innings. Four Comet errors aided the Panthers (11-3, 7-2). Wilmot’s pitching was also pretty good. Josh Vankampen held the Comets to two hits by Gonzalez and Sybesma over 4.2 innings.

Grover said the difference in the margin of victory in the two games was that Wilmot threw its ace, Gendron, in the first game and the Comets threw theirs, Brouwer, in the second game.

“We just have to put the ball in play more,” Grover said. “A lack of hitting has been a problem all year.”

 
 

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