Muskego Impact moves on in Lakes playoffs
Team sweeps past North Shore in opening round
Pitching helped lift the Muskego Impact to the regular-season championship in the Land O' Lakes East Division this season.
It also helped the team sweep North Shore in its opening division playoff series last week, and now it may be the key to Muskego's chances of winning the division playoffs and earning its first-ever berth in the Lakes Grand Championships.
The Impact downed North Shore 10-2 on Sunday afternoon at Horn Field after posting a 5-1 triumph in the first game of the set on Wednesday evening.
The sweep boosted Muskego into the division championship series against fifth seed Racine, which upset second seed Butler last week by scores of 4-1 and 6-4.
The first game will be played Aug. 14 at Racine and the series will conclude Aug. 18 at Horn Field. The teams will meet at noon, and if necessary, the third game will be played after that.
"The key all year long for us has been pitching," manager Rick Henneberry said. "As a staff, we have a good earned-run average (3.38)."
Peter Jewell was 3-0 with an ERA of 2.05, while Dave Mihlsimmer went 5-2 with an ERA of 3.98 and Josh Beatka 2-0 with 2.37. Mihlsimmer also struck out 43 in 40 innings this season.
In the Sunday victory over North Shore, Jewell worked the first six innings, allowing six hits with three strikeouts. Cole Borek finished up the final three frames, giving up no hits and fanning one hitter.
Mihlsimmer was the winning pitcher in the 5-1 victory on Wednesday and Beatka finished the game.
On Sunday, the Impact was down 1-0 in the fourth inning when its offense went into gear. Kevin Schoenbach belted a two-run home run to give Muskego the lead for good.
One inning later, Nick Schmidlkofer lined a solo shot for a 3-1 advantage, but North Shore came back to trim it to 3-2 in the top of the sixth.
The Impact responded with seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the sixth. Beatka doubled in two runs, while Brandon Kozinski and Jake Jewell each hit two-run singles. Jewell had two hits in the big inning.
Joe Kooping, Jake Jewell, Nick Paffhasen and Beatka each collected two hits on the day.
In the Wednesday contest, Paffhasen tallied two runs batted in and Dave Archibald brought in another with a sacrifice fly.
"We've actually scored quite a few runs in several of our games," Henneberry said. "It seems if one element (pitching or hitting) is not working, the other does."
That's a good formula for winning, and one that Henneberry and his team hopes continues this week.
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