PORTAGE — Self-inflicted wounds were a backbreaker for the Baraboo baseball team Tuesday night.
The Thunderbirds struggled to hit spots, combining for 12 walks, and committed four errors en route to a 10-6 loss to rival Portage in a Badger North Conference opener at Bidwell Field.
“We told them after the game ‘We did this to ourselves in this one,’” Baraboo coach Steve Considine said. “Not to take anything away from Portage, but we self-inflicted a lot of wounds.”
Six of the 10 Warriors who scored reached on walks, including two in the bottom of the first inning when Portage jumped out to a 3-0 lead. After Baraboo (3-1, 0-1 Badger North) was retired in order to open the top of the first, Baraboo junior Brady Quinn issued back-to-back walks to Portage’s Wyatt DeLoof and Grant Garrigan on a total of nine pitches to put a pair of runners on base.
Portage’s Kaden Lehman then reached on an infield single and DeLoof scored on an overthrow by Quinn to put the Warriors (1-1, 1-0) in front. Garrigan later scored on a wild pitch and Lehman crossed the plate on a groundout by Matthew Carpenter to put Portage up 3-0.
The Warriors continued to pile on the runs, adding a fourth in the second as DeLoof again scored on an error, and four more in the third to seize a commanding 8-0 lead. Baraboo eventually got on the board in the top of the fourth on a three-run home run by senior Dylan Barganz.
Sophomore Calvin Peterson singled to lead off the inning and senior Mason Peterson walked to put two on for Barganz, who hammered one out in right-center field to cut the deficit to 8-3. With no outs, junior Ethan Cummisford singled, but the T-Birds failed to score again.
On a steal attempt by courtesy runner Graham Langkamp, junior Trevor Adams was called out for batter’s interference. Langkamp was later caught stealing and Lehman struck out junior Brock Turkington looking to end the threat.
Baraboo had another prime opportunity in the top of the fifth but were again kept from doing too much damage. Following back-to-back one-out singles by seniors Zach Kline and Jack Macdonald, Calvin Peterson walked to load the bases.
Mason Peterson hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 9-4, but the T-Birds didn’t score again in the inning. After going down in order in the sixth, Baraboo scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh to trim the lead to 10-6, but never got closer.
“We were proud of our fight and we were one or two hits away from really making this thing interesting, even in the last inning,” Considine said. “That eight-run lead was just too much to overcome.”
Lehman struck out seven and allowed four runs on six hits in 4⅔ innings to pick up the win for the Warriors. Considine said the T-Birds’ approach vs. Lehman was too passive in the early going.
“We weren’t as aggressive early in the game and once we started being aggressive, we had some success,” Considine said. “But if you let him get two strikes on you, it’s going to be a long night.”
Considine is confident his team will rebound from its first loss.
“We’re going to throw strikes and we’re going to make the plays,” he said. “We’re a good team and we know that, so I just think it’s a hiccup in the road. Tip your cap to Portage and let’s get back after it.”
PORTAGE 10, BARABOO 6
Baraboo 000 310 2 — 6 6 4
Portage 314 110 x — 10 5 3
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — Bar — Quinn (L; 2-2-3-5-1), Adams (0.2-1-2-4-0), C. Peterson (3.1-2-2-3-1). Por — Lehman (W; 4.2-6-4-3-7), Walker (2.1-0-0-1-4).
Leading Hitters — Bar — HR — Barganz. Por — Stensrud (2x4).