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Legion: Bonduel to face New London for tournament title

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Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Garrett Engel, left, makes a catch on a foul popup as Noah Beilfuss looks on during the team’s win over Clintonville at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Friday in Clintonville.

A pair of games between the Bonduel and New London Legion baseball teams was not enough to determine a winner at the Diamond Cat Tournament in Clintonville on Saturday.

Bonduel earned a 6-2 win over New London behind a strong pitching outing from Isaac Boldt, which advanced the Grizzlies to the championship game.

New London topped Clintonville in the final elimination game to earn a rematch with Bonduel. Needing to top Bonduel twice to win the tournament, New London hung on late for a 5-4 win to force a third game between the teams, with the winner taking the title.

Instead, after the coaching staffs met with the umpires, the winner-take-all game was postponed to Sunday at 3 p.m. Had the teams played again Saturday, it would have marked Bonduel’s third game of the day and New London’s fourth, and with warm temperatures, the call was made to move the game to Sunday.

In the first Bonduel/New London game on Saturday, the Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead with a two-run first. New London responded with a run in its half of the first before Bonduel got the run back in the fourth on an Aaron Margelofsky RBI single.

New London again had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, but Bonduel bounced back with a two-run fifth before adding an insurance run in the seventh.

Boldt handled things from the mound, working out of trouble in a few innings to finish the game and earn the win.

“My defense helped me out a lot today,” Boldt said. I was able to hit my spots and when they hit the ball somewhere on the field, our players were making the plays to get the outs. Big props to them today.”

In the second game between the teams Saturday, New London grabbed a 5-0 through three innings, but Bonduel clawed its way back.

Dylan Burch’s double cleared the bases to bring Bonduel within two runs in the sixth. Noah Beilfuss came through with a RBI single in the seventh to cut Bonduel’s deficit to one, but New London was able to strand runners at first and second to end the game.

In between the two Bonduel/New London matchups, Clintonville also played two games. The Diamond Cats earned a 5-0 win over Freedom in an elimination game before running out of pitching options in a 14-6 loss to New London.

Clintonville scored all five runs against Freedom in the first two innings before coasting to the win behind a strong start from Colton Kluth.

The Diamond Cats faced a 5-0 deficit before coming to bat against New London. Clintonville closed to within two runs after a four-run third, but New London scored five straight runs to pull away.

Friday

Bonduel knocked off Clintonville in a pitcher’s duel Friday, but Clintonville bounced back with a wild win over Oconto Falls to avoid elimination and advance to Saturday.

Bonduel topped Clintonville 2-0 before Clintonville beat Oconto Falls 7-6 in 10 innings.

Shawano was eliminated Friday after suffering its second loss of the tournament, a 7-2 loss to Oconto Falls.

In Bonduel’s 2-0 win, Beilfuss pitched all seven innings to pick up the win on the mound.

After running into some trouble in the sixth and seventh innings, Beilfuss induced two double-play groundballs to thwart the rallies and eventually finish off the shutout.

“They were huge. I left the ball down the middle a little bit and they ended up hitting it but I got a great defense behind me, so once I knew the ball was on the ground, I knew they were going to turn it,” Beilfuss said. “It gets the crowd pumped, it gets me pumped and it gets our team pumped and creates a really good atmosphere to play ball in. It was just awesome when they made those plays.”

Bonduel took the lead in the fourth inning when Beilfuss doubled to open the inning before coming around to score on a double from Boldt. The Grizzlies added a big insurance run in the seventh when Garrett Engel came through with a RBI single to plate Cole Letter.

“Going into that at-bat, I was like, every pitch is going to count and I need to get ahead (in the count),” Engel said. “I’m pretty sure I got ahead 3-0 so then I took my time and took a strike. Then the next pitch was on the outside corner and I knew I could drive it to right. I hit a nice blooper and it got in there.”

Oconto Falls led Clintonville 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning but Clintonville came storming back.

The rally started with Jared Cartwright hitting a double into center field. Kluth kept the momentum going, hitting a single into left center to score Cartwright.

After two walks, Jacob Viergutz came up to bat, getting a base hit to center field to score two more runs and tie the game.

The game would remain tied at six until the 10th inning.

The bottom of the 10th inning started off with Trent Vollmer, who walked. The next two batters tried sacrifice bunts, but also ended up reaching base to load the bases.

Presley Rosenow came through with the clutch hit, singling to right field to score the game-winning run.

“I was just looking for contact,” Rosenow said. “This was a win or go home situation and we just want to keep this streak going for playoffs.”

“The team had a talk at the bottom of the fifth and decided to come and win it,” Clintonville coach Randy Finger noted. “The guys were saying that it’s the point in the season where we have to get it together.”

Shawano hung with Oconto Falls early in an elimination matchup, but was unable to keep pace in the eventual loss.

After Oconto Falls grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Shawano came right back with a run of its own to tie the game. Kris Krause scored on a groundout by Wylee Springborn.

Shawano then pulled ahead when Krause singled home Nick Grignon in the third inning. Oconto Falls answered with five runs in the fourth and another in the sixth to pull away for the win.

RECAP

A full recap of the tournament will be published in the July 3 Shawano Leader.

Leader intern Molly Gretzlock contributed to this story.