Turn the key, step on the gas and don’t look back.
It’s a sound approach to winning baseball games, and it was the one the Beaver Dam American Legion Post 146 varsity squad used in Wednesday night’s 8-4 victory over Stoughton Post 59.
“When you see a number on the scoreboard five consecutive innings,” Beaver Dam coach Mark Klawitter said, “that’s a coach’s dream — that tells you that you’re hitting throughout the lineup.
“It was a really nice effort at the plate.”
It sure was, as Post 146 churned out seven hits and six walks to score in every inning from the first through the fifth — with all but one batter reaching base at least once in the game.
The big blows came in the early going, however, as Brandon LeBeau singled and scored on Wesley Biel’s triple to the right-field corner to make it 1-0 in the first inning before Biel came home on Adam Chase’s two-out infield single to make it 2-0.
Then after Chase worked around a one-out single on the mound in the second to keep Post 59 scoreless, the Beaver Dam bats went back to work.
Reserves Jeffrey Bemis and Drew Pawicz — in the lineup in the Nos. 8 and 9 spots in the order because a couple starters were out — reached via a single to shallow right and a walk to lead off the frame. And that set the table for Neil Braker’s towering homer to right field that cleared the foul pole by a whisker but landed well beyond the 325-foot marker.
“I think it’s his first home run on a big field so a big day for him,” Klawitter said. “He didn’t get cheated; it was a great swing. He’s been struggling a little bit so it was nice to see him hit a ball really hard.”
Bemis and Pawicz combined to finish 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a pair of runs.
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“It’s nice to see a couple of bench guys who don’t get a lot of action go in there and do a really nice job,” Klawitter said. “That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Pawicz’s two-out RBI single in the third was Beaver Dam’s lone run in that frame and made it 6-0 and Max Klawitter’s sacrifice fly to left to plate LeBeau — who led off the inning with a double — provided the lone run in the fourth to stretch the advantage out to 7-0.
Trouble brewed in the fifth, however, as Post 59 was finally able to get to Chase for three straight one-out walks that loaded the bases for Kadin Milbauer’s two-run triple.
Parker Milbauer was thrown out at home on that play, preventing it from being a bases-clearing triple. But Stoughton added two more runs when Brady Estervig delivered with an RBI single and Ryan Ellingson pounded an RBI double, both with two outs.
Chase was then relieved by Bradon Franke, who issued a pair of walks before finding the zone to put out the fire with a strikeout of Jared McGuire.
“Adam Chase hasn’t pitched a lot this year but he gave us four very solid innings, so he did a really nice job. And once Bradon came in and settled down a little bit, he finished quite nicely,” Mark Klawitter said. “It seems like we always have one bad inning, so we just have to at some point find a way to avoid that one bad inning and we’re going to be a very solid team.”
Beaver Dam could afford a rocky inning in this one thanks to its bats, and in so winning, Post 146 washed away the taste of two straight losses — 4-2 to Stevens Point and 13-1 to Wisconsin Rapids — on Saturday and Sunday at the Firecracker Classic in Stevens Point.
Those two defeats for Double-A Beaver Dam were to teams in the higher Triple-A division — with Rapids ranked third in the state in that class.
And in fact, six of Beaver Dam’s seven losses — Post 146 is now 5-7 after Wednesday’s win — are to Triple-A teams.
“Our two losses up in Point were to the two teams that ended up in the championship, so you can’t really be that dissatisfied,” Mark Klawitter said. “We’re competing with some of the best teams in the state right now.”