WAUPUN — Walks, wild pitches, groundouts, errors, and yes, RBI hits, too.
The Waupun prep baseball team scored in a multitude of ways on Thursday evening vs. Campbellsport, all adding up to a 15-5 East Central Conference victory in a game at rainy Gus Thompson Field that ended with one out in the bottom of the fifth because of the 10-run mercy rule.
One of the ways stood out most to Warriors coach Derrick Standke, though.
“The bats are finally waking up,” he said. “We hit some balls hard today in not favorable conditions.
“Up and down the lineup, guys hit the ball hard.”
The Warriors got hits from six of the nine spots in the batting order, totaling 10 to match the most they’ve had in their last six games.
Better yet, the 15 runs equal their second-highest scoring output of the year and the most that they’ve plated since winning 16-4 over Lomira on April 8.
But it was a quiet start for Waupun (11-0) — the top-ranked team in Division 2 according to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association — with nothing to show for Baron Buchholz’s one-out single in the first inning.
The second inning was a different story altogether. In that frame, Waupun started by loading the bases on a hit-by-pitch and two walks before Caden Bronkhorst scored on a wild pitch, Cole Hicken and Brayden Sanders scored on Jaden White’s single and White scored on Baron Buchholz’s RBI walk, making it 4-0.
Reece Homan drew a second RBI walk in the inning before Keegan Hartgerink grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice to cap the Warriors’ six-run second.
Waupun put runners at second and third an inning later on Jarrett Buchholz’s two-out double to left, but came up empty in that frame before putting up another crooked number in the fourth.
Hicken’s RBI walk and Sanders’ RBI single started the scoring in that inning before White plated his third and fourth runs of the game with a two-run double to right field that made it 10-0.
Bronkhorst then scored on a wild pitch and White on an error to make it 12-0 before an RBI groundout by Homan completed the big inning.
A messy top of the fifth for Waupun — a leadoff double, a run-scoring wild pitch and three walks — all set the stage for Kade Walsh’s two-out three-run double to right that made it 13-5 and led to the Warriors needing two runs in the bottom half to end the game early.
They got those runs in pretty short order, however, with Bronkhorst getting plunked in the back to open the frame and then pinch hitter Keenan Westhuis drawing a walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Sanders singled to left to make it 14-5 before Wyatt Paul stuck his bat out there and flopped an RBI single back up the middle to drive in Westhuis and end the game.
So after needing runs in the final inning — one of those times in the ninth inning — to win two of their previous four games and close victories in the other two, the Warriors won rather easily for a change.
There’s plenty of experience on the roster which has helped in clutch situations. But there’s also a lot that’s different — positions on the diamond and in the batting order, in particular — that’s different from when Waupun won the WIAA Division 2 state championship a year ago.
Things might finally be starting to come together for good, though — and for a program that’s shown it knows how to be at its best when it matters most, that’s no surprise.
“Our strength has been pitching and defense, which we knew (would be the case),” Standke said. “And the hitting’s starting to come.
“The last few years that’s what we’ve been doing.”
WAUPUN 15, CAMPBELLSPORT 5 (5 INNINGS)</&hspag3>
Campbellsport 000 05 — 5 5 2
Waupun 060 72 — 15 10 0
Pitching (ip-h-er-bb-k): C’sport — Logan Pollpeter (L, 5+-2-5-3-0), Logan Faris (3-6-7-7-0), Nicholas Narges (0-0-2-1-0), Luke Eichstedt (0.1-2-0-0-0). Waup — Vaughn Williston (W, 5-5-5-3-7).
Leading hitters (two or more hits): C’sport — None. 2B: Kade Walsh, Jalen Gellings. Waup — Brayden Sanders 3x3, Jaden White 2x4. 2B: Jarrett Buchholz, Jaden White.