Late rally gives Muskego baseball team much-needed victory in finale
Warriors slip past Indians to snap streak
Riding a dispiriting three-game losing streak, the Muskego baseball team needed a boost of any kind in its regular-season finale against Mukwonago on July 10.
The Warriors got exactly that with a pair of two-run rallies in the seventh and eighth innings to pull out a 4-3 victory.
They were trailing the Indians 2-0 and had only three hits going into the bottom of the seventh but scored twice on run-producing singles from Ryan Tobin and Michael Frasher (his coming with two outs) to tie it at 2-2.
Mukwonago took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning, but Muskego came back again, tallying once on an RBI single from Brett Finke and scoring the winning run on an error.
Malak sparkles on mound
Muskego had been put in position to win by a fine starting effort from Dan Malak, who worked 71/3 innings and struck out 10.
"That was Malak's best start of the season," said head coach Jacob Paige.
Malak was relieved by ace Luke Thomka in the eighth. Thomka fanned two in his 2/3 innings of work and picked up the victory when the Warriors rallied.
"This was a game we really needed," Paige said. "We wanted some momentum going into the (WIAA) playoffs, and we were happy to win this one.
"We were looking for something positive heading into the playoffs, and we hope that was it."
Muskego lost its other three games last week, all Classic 8 Conference contests, to fall out of the race for the league crown.
The Warriors wound up 12-9 in the conference for fourth place behind champion Arrowhead (15-6), Catholic Memorial and Mukwonago.
"All four teams were in the hunt for the title down to the last week," Paige said. "When the conference champion has six losses, you know it's a balanced league."
They fell to Waukesha West 6-2 on July 9 in a makeup game.
"We just didn't do much at all in that game," Paige said. "We were pretty much shut down."
They dropped a 9-4 decision to Arrowhead on July 8. The Warriors were up 4-1 until the bottom of the fifth, when the Warhawks tallied twice to make it 4-3.
Arrowhead then pushed across six runs in the sixth, all with two outs, to put away the game.
Bennett Serchen went 2-for-3 and Thomka 2-for-4 for Muskego, which lost all three games against Arrowhead this season.
The Warriors opened the week with a 12-7 loss to Memorial, which tallied five runs in the fourth and four in the sixth.
Warriors begin WIAA play
Muskego finished 17-11 overall and will begin WIAA regional play at home at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 18, against either Greenfield or New Berlin West.
The Hawks won the eastern division of the Woodland Conference at 11-7 and were 14-14 overall, while the Vikings, the defending WIAA champions, struggled for most of this season.
The winner plays in a sectional semifinal game at 3 p.m. Monday, July 21, at Greendale.
"We'll be ready," Paige vowed. "We have the (first-round) bye, so we will be rested and at full strength."
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