Errors outnumbered hits for the Beaver Dam prep baseball team Tuesday evening against Sauk Prairie. They also outnumbered runs.
By a lot.
The host Golden Beavers were sloppy in the field and couldn’t get in a groove at the plate, a lethal combination that led to a 4-0 Badger North Conference loss to the Eagles.
So it’s back to the drawing board for a team that has eyes on repeating as league champion.
“We’ve got to be a better team than that and more mentally sound,” said Beaver Dam coach Nate Wilke, whose team mustered only three hits while committing four errors. “We want to win a conference championship and we need to play better than we did today or that’s not going to happen.”
The lackluster performance reared its head right away, too, with the Eagles (3-4, 1-2 Badger North) getting an unearned run in the top of the first inning when Ben German drew a one-out walk, stole second, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out error for a 1-0 lead.
It would stay that way until the sixth, when Sauk Prairie added two more runs — including another unearned tally — on a two-run single by Brooks Leister.
And the last run was plated an inning later when Beaver Dam (3-3, 2-1) botched a pickoff attempt with runners at first and third, allowing Bryant Schaaf to steal home.
The Eagles weren’t a whole lot better offensively than Beaver Dam, finishing with only five hits.
But the combination of reaching on errors, a few stolen bases, two hit batters and productive at-bats with runners in scoring position was enough to do the job.
“We got a couple hits when it mattered, which we have been struggling with for a while,” Sauk Prairie coach Darin Pape said. “We put the three phases together — we made a couple mistakes, but we overcame them.”
It helped having Schaaf on the mound, as the hard-throwing righty struck out 10 while walking three.
“He threw pretty hard and he had a good hard breaking ball,” Wilke said. “We always tell the kids, ‘Be in charge of your at-bats,’ and I don’t think we were in charge of our at-bats.”
“He was getting ahead in the count and he was mixing up his pitches, so he was able to throw more than just his fastball,” Pape added. “He did a really nice job of getting ahead and staying ahead to keep them off balance.”
The Beavers did, however, churn out a few opportunities to score.
But Sauk Prairie escaped the first one — two on, two out in the third — thanks to a baserunning gaffe and then Broden Boschert hit into some bad luck in the fifth, lacing a two-out screamer right at the second baseman to strand a pair.
Then in the seventh, cleanup batter Wesley Biel lined a two-out shot to right with the bases loaded that had it not been right at the right fielder would have likely cleared the bases and made it a one-run game.
Beaver Dam also stranded a runner at second in both the fourth and sixth innings.
All in all, it just wasn’t the Golden Beavers’ day at the plate.
But the silver lining was that Neil Braker allowed only one earned run and four hits while striking out seven and walking three in six innings of work.
“Neil pitched a heck of a game — he pitched way too good of a game to take a loss,” Wilke said. “It’s frustrating.”
“He’s crafty. He mixes his pitches up really well; he’s got a nice breaking ball and he had us baffled for a while — we were kind of swinging out of our shoes at times,” Pape added. “But once we started making some adjustments and were more patient, it paid off.”
SAUK PRAIRIE 4, BEAVER DAM 0</&hspag3>
Sauk Prairie 100 002 1 - 4 5 2
Beaver Dam 000 000 0 - 0 3 4
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) SP — Bryant Schaaf (W, 5-2-0-3-10), Ben German (2-0-0-1-1). BD — Neil Braker (L, 6-4-1-3-7), Brandon LeBeau (1-1-1-0-1).
Leading Hitters (two or more hits): Brooks Leister (SP) 2x4, LeBeau 2x3. RBIs: Leister 2.