Preble wins pitcher’s duel
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Preble and Bay Port high school baseball teams hooked up in a pitcher’s duel for Fox River Classic Conference bragging rights May 10.
With runs and hits at a premium, Preble escaped with a 1-0 victory over the Pirates at Joannes Stadium.
The Hornets (13-2 overall, 11-2 FRCC) scored an unearned run in the first inning for the only tally of the game.
“That was a good baseball game,” said Preble head coach Andy Conard. “We know whenever we play Bay Port, it’s going to be a tight, close game. They are well coached and do a lot of the little things right. Getting the first run on the board was big for us. Those games are fun to manage.”
Preble’s Ryan Stefiuk and Bay Port’s Jett Thielke were both on top of their games on the mound.
Stefiuk, a Vanderbilt University recruit who throws in the low ‘90s, gave up one hit, struck out six and allowed no runs in his five innings of work.
Clemson recruit Max Wagner earned the save with two innings of one-hit relief.
Thielke was equally as effective in allowing only two hits while striking out nine in six innings.
The Madison college commit walked one and didn’t allow an earned run in his 83 pitches.
“It was a good game, but we couldn’t get the clutch hit when we needed it,” said Bay Port head coach Mike Simoens. “Unfortunately, our defense kind of bit us in the first inning. All three pitchers were dynamite. We’ve been able to scratch out a couple of runs in a few of our close games, but against the quality pitchers we saw today, we weren’t able to. Our bunting let us down a few times, too.”
After Thielke coaxed two ground-ball outs in the first, an infield error by the Pirates (11-6, 10-3) prolonged the inning.
The Hornets Josh Nicklaus then delivered the only run of the game when he ripped a first-pitch fastball to right center for a double, driving in Wagner.
“I had never faced Thielke before,” said Nicklaus, who had the only two hits for Preble. “I had noticed he was throwing first-pitch fastballs, so I was ready for it. I was seeing the ball well all game. I wish we had scored a few more runs, but Thielke was great out there.”
Call Verlanic had a two-out single in the first for Bay Port but was picked off first by the lefty Stefiuk to end the inning.
Jake Berg had the only other base knock for the Pirates in the seventh but was stranded at first to close the game out.
Carl Cano was the only Bay Port base runner to reach second, doing so in the sixth after he reached on an error and stole second.
After both pitchers struck out the side in the second, the Hornets Connor Shefchik reached second after a one-out walk and a sacrifice bunt, but Thielke ended the inning with a groundout.
“Errors are part of the game,” Conard said, whose team also committed an error. “We are going to make mistakes once in a while, but we don’t worry about the physical mistakes. Sometimes you get a break, and you need to capitalize on it like we did. I would guess we will see Bay Port again down the road in the postseason.”
Bay Port: 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
Preble: 100 000 x – 1 2 1