The Niagara legion baseball team pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of six walks to hand the Clintonville Diamond Cats a 10-3 regional loss Wednesday night from Bonduel.
“They hit the ball hard,” Clintonville manager Randy Finger said of the Niagara bats. “Have to give them credit, hats off to them. They came to win and we laid an egg.”
It was a flat performance from a team already guaranteed a spot in this year’s Class A State Legion Baseball Tournament. Three Niagara pitchers held the Clintonville lineup to only three hits, highlighted by Logan Liesenfelder’s fourth inning two-run home run.
Clintonville will point to a missed opportunity in the second inning. The team had the bases loaded with none out, but Niagara pitcher Ethan Blagec buckled down by striking out the next three batters.
The Diamond Cats did take a 1-0 lead in the third when Hunter Vollmer came around to score off a wild pitch after being plunked to lead off the inning.
Niagara would respond and take control of the game in the home half.
After tying the game on an outfield error, Ben Snyder laced a two-RBI single past third to give the team a 3-1 lead, while DH Nate Kruger capped off the five-run inning by driving in a pair with an RBI double.
Logan Liesenfelder two-run blast cut the deficit to two, but it would be as close as Clintonville would get, as Niagara would add four runs of insurance in the fifth and sixth innings.
“Sometimes this is what this group needs is a reality check,” Finger said with disappointment. “I thought we had one the other night, then we came back and won one. I don’t have much else to say. We’ll just leave it at that.”
Liesenfelder, Kyle Finger and Jordan Koeppen were the only Diamond Cat batters to record a hit. Vollmer took the loss after working 3 2/3 innings.
The defeat puts Clintonville in regional elimination game Thursday at 4 p.m. against Peshtigo.
Though their state ticket has already been punched, Finger hopes his team can enter the tournament with the same kind of momentum they had after claiming this year’s New London Clipper Invite.