Shawano holds off Clintonville’s comeback bid

Casey Baumann allows just 4 hits in complete game win
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Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Casey Baumann delivers a pitch during the team’s 3-2 win over Clintonville on Thursday.

For a second straight day, the Shawano Legion baseball team got a gem from its starting pitcher.

Casey Baumann assumed the role on Thursday, allowing just four hits over seven innings to lead Shawano to a 3-2 win over Clintonville in a Clintonville Tournament winner’s bracket matchup.

Pitching to contact, Baumann quickly worked his way through the Clintonville lineup. He finished the night with one strikeout and one walk allowed.

Shawano entered the game on a three-game winning streak, thanks to strong starting pitching and an offense that put together big innings. While the pitching was present again Thursday, the big inning for the offense was not.

The Patriots scored a single run in the first, second and fourth innings. The team had opportunities for even bigger innings, but Clintonville starter Colton Kluth was able to limit the damage, stranding two runners each time.

Parker Pues opened the game with a walk before stealing second. Joey Tadych also walked to put Shawano in position for a big inning.

After a flyout and strikeout, Nick Grignon came through with a two-out single. The Diamond Cats might have been able to throw out Pues at home, but the ball squirted under the leftfielder’s glove, allowing Pues to score easily. With Tadych at third and Grignon at second, Kluth forced a popup for the final out of the inning.

The top of the second started with Cole Nelson and Steve Hoffman being hit by pitches. Brett Ainsworth then walked to load the bases. Pues followed by lifting a flyout to right, allowing Nelson to cross home plate. Clintonville tried to throw Nelson out but the relay throw was late and off the mark, allowing Hoffman and Ainsworth to move up a base.

Kluth tightroped out of further damage by getting a foul popup and lineout. In the third inning, Kluth quickly worked through the Patriots fourth, fifth and sixth hitters.

The bottom of the order again proved to be tough outs in the fourth though, as Nelson was hit by another pitch and Hoffman walked to open the frame. Ainsworth then sacrificed the runners up a base on a bunt.

Pues delivered a single to right, allowing Nelson to score from third. Hoffman also tried to score, but the Diamond Cats executed the relay to cut down the potential second run. Pues, who had moved to second on the throw home, moved to third on a Tadych single, but Kluth struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Baumann did not allow a baserunner until the fourth, a one-out walk by Matthew Morse. Clintonville’s Kyle Finger, who was in the starting lineup despite being hit by a pitch in the face on Wednesday night, then reached on an error to put runners on first and second. Baumann remained calm on the hill and induced back-to-back groundouts to escape without allowing a run.

Clintonville finally was able to post its first hits in the sixth. Jacob Viergutz opened the inning with a single and was followed by a Logan Liesenfelder single. After an infield popup, Finger ripped another single to left to load the bases.

Baumann again was unfazed by the traffic on base, inducing another groundout. The Patriots recorded the out at first, allowing Viergutz to score. After the out was recorded, Shawano tried to throw Liesenfelder out at third after he rounded the base, but the throw was off the mark, allowing Liesenfelder to score. With the tying run at third, Baumann forced another groundout to end the inning.

In the seventh, Clintonville’s Jared Cartwright singled with one out and then was replaced at first by Trenton Vollmer after an infield popup was dropped. Vollmer tried to steal second, but Shawano catcher Brad Bartz delivered a perfect throw to record the third out and end the contest.

“I have a pretty good fastball with break on it, it’s not very fast but it breaks a lot and its hard to get solid contact against,” Baumann said. “I really had that working, especially in the first few innings.”

“He was throwing a lot of strikes and really pounding the zone,” Shawano coach Ryan Koenig said. “He also was pretty efficient in terms of pitch count in the heat we played in. He kept the ball in the zone and our defense made the plays behind him.”

From the fifth inning on, Kluth settled in and kept Shawano off the scoreboard. He induced a double play to end the fifth before stranding a runner at third in the sixth. With two outs in the seventh, Kluth was replaced by Nick Schoen, who struck out the next batter to strand a runner at second. Kluth struck out six batters to work around five walks.

“Once he (Kluth) gets in trouble, he has an uncanny way of working out of it,” Clintonville coach Randy Finger said. “To only allow them three runs tonight with how many baserunners they had was just outstanding work. He and Kyle (Finger) were on the same wavelength tonight.”

In other Thursday action from the Clintonville Tournament, Bonduel earned a 9-3 win over Omro, Little Chute topped Ripon 15-14 and New London rallied past Waupaca 5-4. With the losses, Omro and Ripon were eliminated.

Bonduel and Clintonville each played in elimination games on Friday while Shawano was awarded an off day. The Patriots will take their four-game winning streak into a 9 a.m. matchup with New London on Saturday.

“When we play with that amount of energy, we play better as a team,” Pues said. “Going on this win streak is only going to improve and intensify our games in the future and make up more energetic and ready to play.”

“These wins just keep boosting our team chemistry,” Baumann said. “Things are clicking right now and we just hope to keep riding the wave.”