Logan Liesenfelder slides into home safely in the second inning of Clintonville’s win over Bonduel Friday
There never seems to be a shortage of hostility anytime the legion teams from Bonduel and Clintonvillle get together, especially in a regional elimination game.
Friday’s game was no different, as Clintonville managed to shake off a three-run first inning deficit to hand Bonduel a 6-4 loss, ending their season.
“It is just a bitter, bitter rivalry,” said Clintonville manager Randy Finger, whose team already has a spot in the Class A State Legion Tournament by hosting. “Sometimes they win, sometimes we win. We came out on top today. These guys came fired up. We get an automatic bid, but they are not satisfied with that. They want the regional bid and that’s what we’re here to do.”
There were only a couple of chippy moments between teams and fans, primarily coming on an appeal during a tag-up when umpires ruled Kyle Finger left second base too early on a great catch in center field that was tracked down by Jordan Boldt.
Bonduel tagged Clintonville pitcher Chad Bork for three runs in the opening frame, thanks in part to an RBI single from Brent Pieper that plated Boldt and Bailey Dingeldein.
Bork would find a rhythm after that inning, allowing just one run on four hits the rest of the way.
“Chad did an outstanding job,” Finger said of his pitcher. “Our catcher Kyle [Finger] called a great game and Chad hit his spots. They work good together, they really do.”
Clintonville claimed the lead in the second inning, striking for four runs. Finger and Bork both reached to begin the rally. A sacrifice bunt by Nick Schoen set up RBI singles from Logan Liesenfelder and Josh Schroeder. The Diamond Cats also took advantage of three Bonduel errors in the inning, two of them coming on throws from the catcher down to second.
“It’s a never ending story of little mistakes,” said Bonduel manager Jason Boldt, whose team committed four errors in the game. “It cost us a lot of games this summer. It’s frustrating. When we do make those mistakes in the games it seems to carry on for a while. They need to learn if they make a mistake to let it go and move on.”
Logan Liesenfelder belted a solo homer in the fourth inning to extend Clintonville’s lead to three. It was his second home run of the regional and a great sign for the Clintonville offense.
“Every time I come down to the field, he’s in that cage hitting,” Finger said of Liesenfelder’s work. “He struggled here early in the season, but he is coming on right now.”
Bonduel would get the run back in the fifth, which was answered again in the home half by Clintonville, when Kyle Finger singled home Colton Kluth.
Clintonville only had five hits in the game against Bonduel pitcher Isaac Boldt, who took the complete-game loss.
The Bonduel lineup tallied eight hits on the day. Pieper, Josh Richter and Bryce Weier each went 2-for-4. It was the last game for all three players, along with Brandon Olsen, who also had a hit.
“They’re a lot of fun to be around,” said Jason Boldt of this year’s team. “It’s never a dull moment in the dugout that’s for sure with this group. The four guys that are done after today, we’re going to miss them. We do have a strong group coming through though, so next year we should be right back there.”
Clintonville lives to play another regional contest with the win. They’ll have to beat Oconto Falls-a team they’re fairly familiar with-for a right to get another shot at Niagara, who’s 3-0, including a 10-3 win over Clintonville on Wednesday.
If Clintonville were to beat Oconto Falls, the Diamond Cats could get a heavy dose of Niagara because both teams would advance to the state tournament regardless of the outcome-and set up a potential state matchup-but Finger’s team is taking things one game at a time.
“We had a talk after [the Niagara] game because Niagara came to play and we didn’t that night,” Finger said. “They said we’re not satisfied with the automatic bid. I almost wish we didn’t have it and I think they do too because it would make us play harder, but I think they realize that we need to be on a winning streak going into that tournament. Just because we’ve got an automatic bid, we are not quitting.”
First pitch between Clintonville and Oconto Falls will be at 1 p.m. from Village Park in Bonduel.