Small ball, defense lead to Chargers victory

Alwes goes the distance, tallies 9 Ks

Chris Caporale,

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School junior Jacob Banker fields a throw from catcher Josh Richter as Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Cody Szews steals second base. The Chargers used two bunts in the eighth inning to defeat Bonduel 2-0.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior Brandon Olsen dives into second base during Monday’s 2-0 home loss to Wittenberg-Birnamwood. Olsen led the Bears with two hits.

Back-to-back bunts and errors on Bonduel pitcher Jordan Boldt allowed Wittenberg-Birnamwood to finally push a run across the plate in the eighth inning.

A fielder’s choice in the next at-bat by Dalton Zeinert scored Kody Szews as the Chargers won 2-0 on the road Monday.

“In games like this, when both pitchers are pitching extremely well, it comes down to error-free defensively, and you’re trying to manufacture one run, and that’s what we did in that last inning,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood head coach Dan Kapitz said.

The inning started with Matt Kapitz reaching on an infield single, with Wyatt Erb reaching his 100th pitch during the at-bat, forcing the Bears to turn to its No. 2 pitcher Jordan Boldt.

Boldt came in with the Chargers bunting, and two misplays led to two unearned runs.

“You know that’s the situation where they’re going to bunt or something, and so, just got to make the plays, that’s all,” Bonduel head coach Donnie Gruenewald said.

Both starting pitchers, MacLaen Alwes and Erb, each allowed three hits. Alwes, who only needed 86 pitches to get through eight innings, struck out nine batters without a walk.

Bonduel’s best chance at a run came in the first inning when senior Josh Richter singled and stole both second and third base. Alwes got out of the threat when Brent Pieper lined out to shortstop.

“He was pounding the strike zone. It wasn’t anything fancy. He located it well on the outside corner. We didn’t hit it real hard to the opposite field,” Gruenewald said. “We didn’t get good, solid contact all day really.”

Bonduel senior Brandon Olsen was the only other player to reach base, singling twice, once in the second inning and again in the fourth for the Bears (2-2, 1-1 Central Wisconsin Conference-8).

“Our defense was behind (Alwes) and played error-free ball,” Dan Kapitz said.

Through the first seven innings, the Chargers (3-1, 2-0 CWC-8) had just two base runners reach second base. Kody Szews walked in the second inning, stole second base and then was caught stealing trying to advance to third.

In the sixth, Gavin Scheurer singled and then stole second base. He was stranded after Alwes struck out, one of 10 strikeouts for Erb in seven innings of work.

“When you’re playing great teams like Bonduel, if you can stay with them, and then come out with a victory, that does nothing but help confidence,” Kapitz said.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E

Witt-Birn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 0

Bonduel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2