Erb gets back on track in 3-2 home win

Junior strikes out 10 in 4 innings

Chris Caporale,

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School junior Wyatt Erb pitched four innings on Friday, striking out 10 and allowing one hit as the Bears defeated Oconto 3-2 at home. Erb added an RBI double at the plate in the third inning.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior Brent Pieper awaits a pickoff throw from Wyatt Erb early in Friday’s 3-2 home victory. Pieper scored one of the three runs as well for the Bears.

Bonduel junior Wyatt Erb and freshman Isaac Boldt combined to allow three hits and two runs in a 3-2 home victory over Oconto on Friday.

Erb struck out 10 batters and allowed just five base runners in four innings.

“He was pounding the strike zone,” Bonduel head coach Donnie Gruenewald said. “I think after the last couple of times, he’s been a little bit off, and today we wanted to leave with a good taste in his mouth that, ‘Hey, I can still pitch. I didn’t lose everything.’

“And now we have him eligible, depending on how we want to go on Monday (vs. Weyauwega-Fremont). That’s the main reason he came out.”

After giving up a single, wild pitch and a walk to put runners on first and third in the fifth, Erb gave way to Boldt. Oconto scored on a fielder’s choice and an error to cut its deficit to 3-2.

Boldt then worked his way out of the inning, getting a fly out to left field and a grounder to first. He allowed just one single over the final two innings to keep the Blue Devils at bay.

“If he throws strikes, people will hit the ball,” Gruenewald said. “We can play defense behind him, just as long as they don’t go over the fence. We can catch the ball and throw people out, but that’s really what we wanted them to do is just throw strikes.”

Oconto (11-7, 9-4 Packerland Conference), which was playing without six starters due to a school event, struggled at the plate, especially early.

“They were a little overmatched by varsity-level pitching, but they work hard in practice, so they deserve a chance,” Oconto head coach Adam Timm said of his younger athletes.

The Bears (6-6, 4-4 Central Wisconsin Conference-8) got to starter Parker Anderson in the second inning, Brent Pieper singled and Bryce Engel moved him to third on a double to left field. Pieper then scored on a wild pitch.

Bonduel was back at it in the third inning when Erb doubled to score Brandon Olsen, and then Jacob Banker singled to push across the third run of the game.

“We were just pretty consistent, what we’ve been doing lately,” Gruenewald said. “We’ve been playing fairly well lately.”

Engel led the Bears with two doubles.

Erb gave up one hit and two runs, one earned, and walked three.

Boldt, after facing adversity in his first inning of work, started working the strike zone.

“He started throwing his change-up and curveball for strikes and locating it very well, keeping it down in the zone, keeping it away from the hitters,” Gruenewald said. “He just did a good job.”

Oconto’s Anderson threw four innings, allowing seven hits, three runs and one walk while striking out one.

“He threw well,” Timm said. “He’s a bottom of the rotation guy, No. 5 or 6, but he’s a senior, and he’s one of the kids that they asked us, ‘Do you want to play?’ And he wants to play, and he wants the ball anytime he can play, so that’s what he did today.”

Bennett Frazer pitched the final two innings. He did not allow a hit.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Oconto 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 0

Bonduel 0 1 2 0 0 0 x 3 6 1