The Lodi prep baseball team didn’t have the easiest middle of the season, losing seven of 10 games over the final 15 days of May, including a pair of lopsided defeats at the hands of vaunted rival Columbus.
Rather than sulk, the Blue Devils surged into the postseason having won four of their final five games of the regular season, including three straight to head into the playoffs.
All Lodi has done since is keep winning, setting the table for a third meeting with the top-seeded Cardinals in Wednesday’s WIAA Division 2 regional final at Fireman’s Park.
As the old adage goes “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” and it was one one Lodi’s Carson Possehl took to heart. The right-hander held Columbus to just four hits and three unearned runs with five strikeouts in a complete game win as the Blue Devils pulled away for an 8-3 win to capture their first regional title since 2016.
Coupled with his stellar pitching, Possehl went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI while Finn Melchior went 4-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs to power the Blue Devils into next Monday’s Div. 2 sectional semifinal against Mt. Horeb at Brodhead.
Things were tight throughout as the rivals traded sets of runs in the third inning before Lodi (13-10) inched in front with a run in the top of the fifth on a one-out Carson Richter RBI single. It gave the Blue Devils plenty of momentum the rest of the way as Possehl retired the side in order in the home half of the fifth before Lodi blew things open in the top of the sixth.
Lodi sent eight batters to the plate and scored five runs to seize a commanding 8-2 lead. After freshman Mason Lane reached on a dropped third strike, senior Chance Meier reached on an error to put runners on the corners
Keegan Fleischman then came through with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-2. A sacrifice bunt by Brady Ziegler moved Meier and Fleischman into scoring position and they didn’t stay there long, as Possehl ripped an 0-2 pitch to right for a two-run single and a 6-2 lead.
Melchior then plated Possehl with an RBI three-bagger, and later scored on an error to cap the scoring. In desperate need of a response, the Cardinals (16-6) pulled a run back with a Christian Oppor one-out RBI single, but Possehl shut the door as he got Jaymeson Sullivan to ground out to end the threat.
Possehl then slammed the door shut on the bottom of the seventh as he again retired the side in order to punctuate the Blue Devils’ revenge win.
Oppor went 2-for-3 while Trace Kirchberg struck out 11 and allowed six runs (five unearned) on eight hits and a walk in 5 innings of work for the Cardinals, who were saddled by four errors in the loss.
LODI 8, COLUMBUS 3
Pitchers (ip-h-r-er-so-bb) — L: Possehl (W; 7-5-3-0-5-0); C: Kirchberg (L; 5-10-6-5-11-1), Uttech (2-2-2-2-3-0).
Leading hitters — L: Melchior 4x4 (3B), Richter 2x4, Possehl 2x3; C: Oppor 2x3.
Pumas nearly spring upset on top-seeded Hornets
Facing the No. 1 seed Markesan, ranked sixth in all of Division 3 by the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association, presented the Poynette baseball team with quite the ask on Wednesday.
The Pumas were certainly up to the question, however they didn’t have all the answers as the Hornets rallied for a pair of runs in the sixth inning for a 4-3 win in a WIAA Div. 3 regional final at Markesan High School. Senior Riley Radewan allowed just two earned runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in the loss for the Pumas, who more than held their own against the 2019 Div. 3 state runners-up.
On the brink of a massive upset and staring down a 3-2 hole in the bottom of the sixth, the high-powered Hornets (18-2) finally came through. After a leadoff triple by Chayce Osterhaus, senior Bryce Leedle tripled to center field to tie things at 3.
Trevor Roberts then delivered the final blow as he laced a single to right for a 4-3 Markesan lead. Radewan evaded any more damage, but the Pumas ultimately ran out of gas in the top of the seventh. Senior Michael Leiterman started things off strong as he was hit by a pitch to put the leadoff man aboard.
It didn’t result in anything however, as senior Jake Keller rolled into a 6-4-3 double play before senior Jaden McCormick, after going in front 3-0, was put down on three straight looking strikes to end the game.
While it was an anticlimactic end, Poynette (6-13) hung right with the Hornets early as the teams traded runs in the first two innings to tie at 1 through. The Pumas later took the lead in the top of the third when Leiterman scored on an error after leading off the inning by reaching on an error.
Markesan provided the immediate response in the home half with a Osterhaus two-out RBI single that tied things at 2, but Poynette punched back and reclaimed the advantage in the top of the fifth. Again the beneficiaries of two Hornet errors — Markesan had five in the game — senior Kelby Petersen ground out to reliever Gavin Gilbertson to score senior Payton Horne.
Gilbertson was forced into action after the Pumas made Leedle, a University of St. Thomas (Minn.) recruit, hit the 100-pitch count after just 4 1/3 innings. Leedle, who still earned the win, fanned nine with four walks and three unearned runs on two hits.
Osterhaus went 3-for-3 while Roberts went 2-for-3 to help power the Hornets, who will met Mineral Point in the second Div. 3 sectional semifinal next Monday at Viroqua. The fourth-ranked Pointers held off Cuba City, 5-2, in Wednesday’s regional final.
MARKESAN 4, POYNETTE 3
Pitchers (ip-h-r-er-so-bb) — P: Radewan (L; 6-8-4-2-4-1); M: Leedle (W; 4.1-2-3-0-9-4), Gilbertson (2.2-1-0-0-2-1).
Leading hitters — M: Osterhaus 3x3 (3B), Leedle (3B), Roberts 2x3.