Eagles batter Spartans
JEFFERSON —?The last week has been nothing but ebb and flow for the Jefferson High School baseball team. After losing an uncharacteristic three-straight games, the No. 6 ranked Eagles have rebounded with three consecutive victories.
Jefferson’s latest win came Tuesday, a 16-6 six-inning Rock Valley Conference slugging of McFarland at Fischer Field in a game that saw the Eagles erupt for 16 hits.
“At practice (Monday) all we did was hit; we tried to make some adjustments from the weekend and what we’ve seen the first third of the season, and guys really bought into it,” Jefferson coach Greg Fetherston said.
With the game tied 6-6 through 4 1/2 innings, the Eagles (10-3 overall, 7-2 RVC), ranked sixth in the latest Wisconsin Baseball Coaches?Association Division 2 poll, had back-to-back five-run innings, hammering out nine hits in the process.
After the Spartans (4-7, 3-5) scored four times in the top of the fifth to tie the score, Jefferson sent all nine batters in its lineup to the plate in the bottom half of the inning.
The Eagles welcomed the return of Ryan Brost, who missed the last six games after spraining his ankle, and the sophomore responded big going 3-for-3. His double to the left-center field gap greeted McFarland reliever Lucas Espinoza, and ignited the first five-run rally.
“It sure was nice to get Ryan?Brost back in the game, he just makes our lineup a little deeper,” said Fetherston of the sophomore center fielder. “He didn’t miss a beat tonight.”
Brost would score on Evan Anfang’s two-run single, while Cam?Anfang (groundout) and Ian Drays (double) added RBIs as the Eagles led, 11-6.
Brost again keyed another rally, leading off the sixth with another single. After a walk to pinch-hitter Zack Peterson, Nick Hauser, Brandon Laesch and Evan Anfang hit consecutive RBI singles, before Cam Anfang’s two-run double scored Laesch and Evan Anfang to end the game on the 10-run rule.
The Eagles beat one of the top pitchers in the RVC, Brady Wedvick, getting seven hits while scoring six runs off the hard-throwing senior right-hander.
“We hit a lot of off-speed pitches tonight, and we hit them hard, and against a great pitch — Brady throws three good pitches — we had some good approaches,” said Fetherston.
Jefferson had to play from behind early as McFarland took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second after starter Cam Anfang gave up four hits, including an RBI triple to Tysen White.
The Eagles rallied to tie the score at 2-2. Senior Hunter Milbrath and Brost singled, before junior Dante Heard beat out an infield single, scoring Milbrath. Then with two outs Laesch stepped to the plate and hit a 2-2 Wedvick offering just inside the right field foul line to score Brost with the game-tying run.
“Brandon puts the ball in play, that’s why he’s earned a spot in our lineup,” said Fetherston of Laesch, who finished the night 3-for-3 from the No. 9 spot in the batting order. “I couldn’t be happier for a guy that works so hard.”
Cam Anfang earned the win, striking out three batters while allowing just two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.
With the win Jefferson remains tied with Evansville, an 11-4 winner over Edgerton, atop the RVC North standings.
The Eagles and Spartans meet again Thursday, playing a 4:45 p.m. game in McFarland.