Clintonville finishes second at own tournament after loss to New London

Shawano claims third place after posting 2-2 record
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Leader photo by Morgan Rode Clintonville’s Logan Liesenfelder, left, scores on a two-RBI single by Colton Kluth (17) in the sixth inning of a 11-5 win over Waupaca on Saturday.

After playing in four straight elimination games, New London finally proved to be too much for the Clintonville Legion baseball team, claiming a 7-3 victory in the championship game of the Clintonville Tournament on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon.

Clintonville, which was playing its sixth game in four days and fourth game in less than 24 hours, scored two runs in the top of the first inning and held a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the fourth. New London took control of the game with a five-run fourth, taking advantage of a depleted Clintonville pitching staff.

Trenton Vollmer started the game for the Diamond Cats and worked the first 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one run. Nathan Krueger, who had pitched a seven-inning gem earlier in the day, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third to preserve the lead.

Jared Cartwright, who had also pitched earlier in the day, started the fourth inning on the hill but ran into trouble, forcing Clintonville coach Randy Finger to again turn to Krueger. New London finally figured out the tall righty, with Will Wohlt delivering a three-RBI double to put the Clippers ahead. New London scored two more runs in the inning and another run in the sixth to seal an undefeated run through the tourney.

Clintonville, which needed to beat New London twice in the double-elimination format, ended up using a total of five pitchers in the game. Keenan Doornink drove in all three of the team’s runs, ripping a two-RBI single in the first and RBI single in the fourth. Outside the run-scoring innings, the Diamond Cats had just two batters reach base.

Despite falling short in the title game, coach Finger couldn’t have been happier with the effort his team put forward in the tournament.

“I’ve coached a lot of teams, but never a team with as much heart as this,” Finger said. “We just kept battling, and they would have continued to do so if they were given another game. I am so proud of these guys.”

Clintonville believes its strong tournament play helped the team prepare for regionals, which begin July 20.

“This tournament basically taught us how to battle back,” Krueger said. “We played elimination games the last few times out and came out with a couple big wins after some pretty long days. We have a lot of guys on this team that all know their roles and played well.”

“I think this tournament helped show a lot of potential in some of the younger guys,” Doornink said. “A lot of young guys were asked to step up and help out, and everyone did their part. It also showed how dangerous a team we can still be, even with our backs against the wall.”

Among the eight-team tournament, local teams Shawano and Bonduel also competed.

Shawano opened the tournament with a 7-3 victory over Bonduel and got a bye on Friday after knocking off Clintonville 3-2 on Thursday night. The Patriots matched up against New London on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the championship.

New London took a 2-0 lead before Shawano responded with two runs in the top of the second on a RBI single from Alex Hoffman and RBI groundout from Brett Ainsworth. The Clippers got the lead right back with a run in the third, the game’s final run. Isaac Buntrock was dealt the loss but pitched well over 1/3 innings. Steve Hoffman got the final two outs in the sixth.

Clintonville opened the tournament with a 7-3 win over Bonduel before falling to Shawano, sending the Diamond Cats into the loser’s bracket and elimination games. Clintonville downed Little Chute 9-4 on Friday night behind a four-RBI game from Kyle Finger and complete game five-hitter from Nick Schoen.

Clintonville opened Saturday by taking down Waupaca 11-5, thanks to a seven-run sixth inning, eliminating Waupaca. Colton Kluth drove in three runs for Clintonville, while Schoen had two RBIs. The Diamond Cats jumped out to a 4-0 lead through three innings, but Waupaca surged ahead with two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Logan Liesenfelder worked 5 2/3 innings, striking out six batters along the way. Cartwright pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and earned the win.

Clintonville and Shawano then met in another elimination game, marking each team’s second game Saturday. Like Thursday’s matchup, the contest turned into another pitcher’s duel — this time between Clintonville’s Krueger and Shawano’s Steve Hoffman. The Diamond Cats topped Shawano 2-1.

Krueger pitched a complete game, five-hitter to earn the win. He also clubbed a pair of RBI doubles that nearly left the ballpark, scoring Kluth in the second and pinch-runner Chance Bork in the sixth.

Hoffman pitched six innings, allowing just six hits. Parker Pues plated Cole Nelson for the lone Shawano run on an infield single in the seventh inning. The loss eliminated Shawano from the tournament with a 2-2 record and third-place finish.

“I’m proud of the way the guys played and competed in this tournament,” Shawano coach Ryan Koenig said. “We just didn’t come up with the clutch hits when we needed them today (Saturday). We fought and fought and didn’t give up and still had a lot of fun doing it, which is our goal as we prepare for regionals in a couple weeks.”

Bonduel finished the tournament with a 1-2 record. After falling to Shawano to open the tournament, the Grizzlies avoided elimination by earning a 9-3 win over Omro on Thursday.

Bonduel was eliminated in a 6-3 loss to Waupaca on Friday night after some late errors allowed Waupaca to rally. Isaac Boldt pitched well in the loss, striking out eight batters while allowing just five hits. Jordan Boldt finished the night 3 for 4 at the plate for Bonduel.