A pair of close defeats in the Land O' Lakes Grand Championship baseball playoffs last weekend ended the season for the Muskego Impact.
Muskego fell 4-2 to Burlington on Saturday at Horn Field and 5-3 to Pewaukee at Sussex on Sunday.
"We were just a few key hits away from victory," manager Rick Henneberry said. "It is disheartening to lose those close games, but we had a good season. I was proud of the accomplishments this group had this year."
Muskego won the regular-season championship in the Eastern Division, then claimed the playoff title as well to earn its first-ever trip to the Grand Championship.
Against Pewaukee on Sunday, the Impact fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but rallied for three runs in the top of the third.
Andy Liss reached on an error, then Nick Schmidlkofer singled to right-centerfield and Joe Kooping doubled off the leftfield fence to score Liss and Schmidlkofer. Jake Jewell followed with a single to right, plating Kooping and giving Muskego a 3-2 lead.
Pewaukee tallied three times in the bottom of the fifth on three hits and a walk to go up 5-3. Two of the hits were bloopers just over the infield.
Dave Mihlsimmer pitched a complete game for the Impact but fell to 8-3 on the season. He allowed nine hits and four earned runs while striking out three and walking one.
Muskego only totaled five hits, with Kooping and Schmidlkofer garnering two each.
On Saturday, the Impact had to face Burlington ace Brian Henschel, who had played AA professional ball in Texas. Henschel allowed four hits and struck out 16.
"He is a very good pitcher, and it's tough to get anything going when you strike out 16 times," Henneberry said.
Peter Jewell took the loss, his first of the season as he dropped to 7-1. Jewell gave up eight hits and struck out nine himself. Cole Borek pitched hitless innings in the eighth and ninth.
Burlington scored in the top of the second when a ball was lost in the Horn Field outfield vines, allowing the batter to come all the way around for a ground-rule home run.
Burlington went up 2-0 in the third and 4-0 in the fifth.
The Impact scored twice in the seventh on singles from Jake Jewell, Kevin Schoenbach and Liss but could not manage anything else against Henschel.
Muskego fell to 21-9 on the season, and Henneberry is optimistic about next year.
"Hopefully everybody comes back, and we will have a good nucleus," he said.
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