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A three-run rally in the bottom of the third inning helped Mauston pick up its first conference win of the season against Wautoma.

The Golden Eagles (2-7 overall, 1-2 South Central) notched their second win of the year by holding off the Hornets (1-5, 0-3) Monday, April 15 at the Woodside Sports Complex in Mauston. The game was originally to be held at Mauston High School but was moved due to wet field conditions.

Wautoma struck first in the top of the third, starting with a Sam Weiss single to lead off the inning before he later came around to score. In the bottom half of the inning, the Golden Eagles strung together four consecutive one-out hits courtesy of Dakota Barrix, Wyatt Finucan, Cade Hall and Wyatt Massey.

Barrix scored on a passed ball while Finucan and Hall were driven in on Massey’s single to give Mauston a 3-1 lead.

In the top of the fourth, the Hornets got one back when Collin Koats drove in Kyler Fenske with an RBI single. In the bottom of the fifth, Finucan walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hall’s RBI groundout to second.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet,” said Mauston head coach Mike Stoughtenger. “Dylan Erler gave us a chance to win on the mound. We made plays for him and we had a couple timely hits. So even though we didn’t play our best baseball, we got the job done.”

It was a much-needed win for the Golden Eagles, who have stumbled a little bit out of the gates to start the season. However, Stoughtenger is hopeful that a close conference win could possibly be the start of improved play across the board moving forward.

“Early on, we’ve struggled to get wins and it’s nice to do enough to get a win,” he said. “We need to do a better job of putting pressure on them in practice so they can translate it into the game. I’d say the biggest thing is we as coaches have to add more depth to the roster just by getting guys ready to be put in these situations where the game is on the line. We need to have them have so many reps that they want the ball hit to them in the late innings.”

Though the wins have been hard to come by in the early part of their schedule, Stoughtenger is pleased with the way some of his younger players stepped up to fill important roles as needed.

“We had some adversity with some players that didn’t get a chance to play until tonight,” he said. “So we had young guys fill roles for the first seven games of the year. They were asked to play very big roles against really good teams and I thought they did a really good job of handling that.”

Following the long Easter weekend, the Golden Eagles will be back in action when they host River Valley (1-8) Monday, April 22 at 5 p.m. in non-conference play. They will then face conference foe Wisconsin Dells (5-2, 3-0) Tuesday, April 23 at 5 p.m. at the Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells.

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