Cavs Rebound For Split With Oshkosh

July 20, 2009

A day removed from a doubleheader split with the Oshkosh Giants, the Eau Claire Cavaliers split a second doubleheader with the Giants in Wisconsin State League action, losing the opener 7-1 before winni

Wisconsin State League

A day removed from a doubleheader split with the Oshkosh Giants, the Eau Claire Cavaliers split a second doubleheader with the Giants in Wisconsin State League action, losing the opener 7-1 before winning the nightcap 8-2 in front of 179 people Sunday at Carson Park.

In the opener, Travis Helland powered a leadoff home run over the left-center field fence to give Oshkosh (13-12, 13-10 WSL) an early lead.

Kyle Kannenberg singled, then stole second base, setting the stage for Eau Claire Memorial graduate Mickey Fadness to double and score Kannenberg – plating the eventual game-winning run and burying his hometown team.

Oshkosh tallied 14 hits, 13 of which came off Eau Claire starter Troy Peiffer.

“They just hit the heck out of the ball,” Cavaliers manager Mark McHorney said. “They had their hitting shoes on today.”

Eau Claire (32-17, 13-11 WSL) had its share of hits as well, totaling nine hits, including doubles from Brad Archambeau and Matt Miller.

Giants pitcher Brandon Lenz pitched all seven innings and walked just three while striking out two.

Oshkosh struck first in the nightcap as well, when dangerous leadoff man Helland singled to left field. Helland stole second, then scored when Kannenberg lined a single up the middle just off the glove of Cavaliers starting pitcher and Eau Claire North graduate Phil Isaksson.

Eau Claire matched the run in the bottom of the third. Matt Miller walked, then reached third base on a perfectly executed hit and run with Ty Fadness at the plate. Ben Kincaid hit a hard grounder that bounced over the glove of Kannenberg to score Miller.

“If we just keep staying aggressive, eventually something’s got to fall,” McHorney said.

Eau Claire exploded for seven runs on six hits in the sixth inning to take a commanding 8-2 lead.

Lance Poppy singled, and Ben Otto laid down a sacrifice bunt that pitcher Luke Vosz threw away, allowing the runners to advance.

Ryan Iverson knocked in Poppy with a single to left field, then Alex Burian hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Lucas Wirth. Wirth fired home but the speedy Otto displayed an acrobatic slide and tagged home plate with his hand to take the lead 3-2.

Soya Aoki hit a hard liner to right field and the throw from Blake Berger pulled catcher Mickey Fadness up the third base line – setting up a collision with Iverson. Iverson slid, flipped Fadness at the ankles and scored, giving Eau Claire some breathing room.

The Cavaliers have gotten increased run production from the bottom of the lineup – namely Poppy, Iverson, Burian and Aoki.

“If you can get production one through nine, that’s really a big advantage,” McHorney said. “You know that any inning you’re up, you have an opportunity to score.”

Isaksson came out to finish the seventh inning and for the first time in the game, pitched with the lead in hand.

“Regardless of where he is at, he keeps the game close and if we get any offense, we know we have an opportunity to win when he’s on the mound,” McHorney said. “Today he was pitching from behind most of the game but he didn’t change his approach.”

Isaksson only retired the batters in order three times, but forced Oshkosh to leave runners in scoring position three times, with a little help from his defense.

Iverson picked off both Mickey Fadness and Helland in attempts to swipe bases, and Eau Claire converted a crucial double play in the fourth inning, preventing potential runners from reaching scoring position.

If Isaksson was tired, or in any way frustrated with the lack of offense, he certainly didn’t show it.

“He had great stuff and he got out of some jams,” McHorney said. “He’s certainly a quality pitcher.”

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL