By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON-The Ashwaubenon A’s took the first step in their quest for the Legion state baseball tournament by defeating the Ahnapee Trailblazers by a final of 6-2.
Michael Rottier pitched six innings giving up two runs and striking out ten.
“Mike is just so competitive in big games,” said Jason Fonder, General Manager of the A’s. “He retires batters at ease when he is healthy. I think a lot of teams are seeing what he has in his arsenal. When he gets in the zone, he is very hard to hit on.”
Drake Doxtater came out of the bullpen in the seventh and garnered the save for the A’s.
The A’s churned out eight hits with Will Adair and Rottier each notching two.
Will Baeten had three RBI’s.
Jake Schneider took the loss for the Trailblazers giving up six runs in as many innings.
Ashwaubenon and Ahnapee resumed their game (rain out prior night) with one out and Rottier didn’t miss a beat.
He quickly retired the side and the A’s shelled Schneider right from the get go.
Adair and Ian MacLean led off with a pair of singles.
With two outs, Riley Siudzinski was hit by a pitch and a wild pitch ensued sending in the first run of the night.
Doxtater walked, and then Baeten hit a corker to right field sending in two more runs to give Ashwaubenon a 3-0 advantage after just one inning.
“Will is a senior catcher who gives us tremendous leadership,” said Fonder. “He is in the cage constantly practicing how to stop difficult throws the pitchers give him.”
After a scoreless second, the A’s struck in the bottom half of the third.
With two outs, Siudzinski was ironically hit by another pitch and then made it to third on a stolen base and errant throw by the Trailblazers catcher.
Doxtater then stepped in and ripped a single that hit the second base plate and caromed into the outfield putting the A’s up 4-0.
The only trouble for Rottier came in the top half of the fourth when Ahnapee found their rhythm on the offensive side of things.
Jeager Brusley started the festivities off with a single to right field and then Jarred VonBramer put down a majestic bunt in which he was awarded with a base hit.
After Tanner DeGrave singled, the bases were loaded for the Trailblazers.
If it weren’t for good intuitive defense on behalf of the A’s outfielders, Ahnapee would have scored sooner.
Unfortunately for Rottier and Ashwaubenon, the shutout didn’t last long.
Two singles later, and suddenly the A’s lead had been trimmed to 4-2 after three and one-half innings.
Ashwaubenon responded like all good teams do.
After a pop out to center, Adair struck for another single.
With two outs, and one runner on, Rottier turned to his bat for production by unleashing a shot to the center fence.
With a 20-mph wind blowing in, the outfielders were not prepared and Rottier settled for a double, scoring Adair.
After a one-two-three top half of the fifth, the A’s put the game away in the bottom half of the fifth.
Siudzinski had a lead-off double and two batters later Baeten hit a shot to second that was misplayed slightly.
It gave Siudzinski just enough time to cross home-plate and give the A’s a 6-2 lead; one in which didn’t change the remainder of the contest.
“Ahnapee was an honorable mention candidate for a portion of the season,” added Fonder. “We got off to the super beginning and then kind of plotted along in the middle half of the game with some key runs. This was a good start in our quest to get to the state tournament. “
Ashwaubenon will host the Kewaunee County Lakers in Game 2 of the regionals.