Muskego - Everything came together for the Muskego Impact in its early Land O' Lakes Eastern Division playoff game against Racine on Sunday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Luke Rosemarynowski was in command, allowing only single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings. The hitters were hot, especially Nick Blanchet, who went 5-for-5 with a double, triple, four runs batted in and one run scored.
Muskego rolled to an easy 11-3 victory in that contest, tying its best-of-three series with the Kiwanis at one game apiece.
Later, though, everything fell apart for the Impact in Sunday's nightcap and the third and deciding game of the series.
Pitchers Jake Jewell, Josh Beatka and Nick Mlachnik allowed 11 hits and issued eight walks. The Impact could come up with only five hits, and the defense was shoddy, committing five errors.
Muskego lost that game, 13-3, and saw its season end. Racine advanced to the division championship series against New Berlin, which started on Wednesday night.
"We just didn't play well in that second game," said Impact manager Rick Henneberry, whose team had won the regular-season Eastern championship with a 14-4 record.
The struggles for the Impact began in the first inning, as starter Jewell could not find his control, issuing several walks and bringing in three runs on wild pitches. Racine took full advantage and tallied five runs for a quick 5-0 lead.
"It was disappointing to start out that poorly," Henneberry said. "We spotted them some runs on wild pitches."
Joe Kooping belted a solo home run to centerfield to put the Impact on the board in the bottom of the first inning, but Racine added runs in the second and third to go up 7-1.
Bob Dillon singled in a run in the third and Nick Schmidlkofer came in on an error in the fifth to complete Muskego's scoring. The Kiwanis added two in the fourth, eighth and ninth to wrap up the game.
Muskego had forced the third game with a solid victory in Sunday's opener as Rosemarynowski shut down the Kiwanis, for the most part.
"He located his pitches well," Henneberry said, "and he had good command of his pitches. We also made some good defensive plays behind him."
Muskego tallied twice in the first on a single from Schmidlkofer, a ground-rule double by Dillon and an RBI single from Blanchet.
The 2-0 lead lasted until the top of the fifth, when Racine tallied once.
The Impact quickly answered in the fifth inning with seven runs on five hits. After Kooping reached on an error and Schmidlkofer dropped a double just inside the leftfield line, singles from Dillon and Blanchet scored two runs.
Beatka walked and Kevin Schoenbach placed a shot perfectly in the rightfield corner for a double to plate three runs. Andy Liss then belted a two-run home run well over the leftfield fence to build the lead to 9-1.
Muskego tallied twice in the eighth on a double from Blanchet, his fifth hit of the game.
"He was on fire," Henneberry said of Blanchet.
Schmidlkofer went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Dillon and Mike Robinson each had two hits.
Schmidlkofer, Dillon and Blanchet, the third through fifth hitters, combined to go 10-for-14 with three doubles, a triple, five RBIs and six runs scored. The Impact collected seven extra-base hits.
The series began Aug. 8 with Racine winning, 9-5, forcing the Impact to win the first game on Sunday. Muskego accomplished that but could not pull off the series victory.
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