Pirates close regular season with win over Phantoms
By Josh Staloch
SUAMICO – The Bay Conference’s top baseball team squared off against the Fox River Classic Conference’s No. 1 squad Friday, June 11.
West De Pere came to Bay Port for a regular-season finale with not much on the line because both teams are busy preparing for the upcoming WIAA Division 1 postseason.
However, neither team played like the game was meaningless with the action back-and-forth until the Pirates pulled ahead by two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to win, 5-3.
“We treated this game like a playoff atmosphere,” Harvey Knutson, Bay Port head coach, said. “Our seedings are set, but when you play a team like West De Pere, who will be on the other side of the bracket and is a very good team, you want to play a good game. I think I saw one of the best games I’ve seen all year. It was the little things we did that got us the win – it felt like playoff baseball.”
Bay Port starting pitcher Theo Zeidler retired the first three batters he faced in order before the offense went to work.
Carl Cano connecting on a 1-2 pitch from West De Pere starter Bryce Vandehi to reach first base with one out away.
Zeidler then ripped a single through the infield to put runners on first and second.
With Kyle Burkland running for Zeidler, catcher Logan VanLaanen earned a walk to load the bases.
Eli Frank then drew another walk to make it 1-0.
The Phantoms got the run back in the third, and then some, when Kaden Kosobucki, with two outs and two runners on, crushed a shot over the left-field fence to make it 3-1.
A wild play in the bottom of the third brought in another run for the Pirates.
West De Pere’s Ethan Susa, who relieved Vandehi on the mound, tried to check a runner leading off first.
His throw was errant, and Braedon Sonnabend came home from third to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Bay Port tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with a good at-bat from Frank, who, working a 3-2 count with one out and runners at first and third, smacked one past the second base to plate Cano.
The Pirates added a pair of runs in the sixth inning after Jacob Kleeman connected for an RBI single to score John Nickel, followed by a blast down the right-field line by Zeidler to plate Kleeman and cap the game’s scoring.
“(West De Pere) played our guys perfectly tonight,” Knutson said. “We hit a lot of hard shots, and they were there for them. They were playing Theo right where they had him scouted at, he just put one right down the line. It was nice to see the boys respond and come back and stay in the game.”
West De Pere: 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 – 3
Bay Port: 1 0 1 0 1 2 x – 5