Cavs flash potential by splitting with Orioles

July 21, 2014

The Eau Claire Cavaliers got a glimpse of what their season might have looked like as they split a four-game series with the Lombard Orioles over the weekend.

Wisconsin State League

The Eau Claire Cavaliers got a glimpse of what their season might have looked like as they split a four-game series with the Lombard Orioles over the weekend.

The Orioles have been Wisconsin State League champions every year since 2007 and are always an opponent to be taken seriously.

But the looming reputation of a hot team didn’t frighten the struggling Cavaliers, who picked up a walk-off 8-7 win over Lombard in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday at Carson Park.

The Orioles took game two 5-1.

“If you would have told me going into the weekend we were going to get two, I would have been surprised,” veteran catcher Brian Burman said. “We’ve been kind of struggling and they’re obviously always really good. It was good for our confidence.”

Burman delivered a walk-off home run to give Eau Claire a 5-2 win in a 12-inning nightcap on Saturday. He went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in game one Sunday as the Cavaliers came from behind to win their second straight game in their final at-bat.

Masaki Onose came through with a unique but effective at-bat to win the game. He popped into an infield fly with the bases loaded but the ball was dropped and Nick Degen sprinted from third and scored to end the game.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Cavaliers will take it.

“You watch baseball 50 years and you’re going to see something happen that you’ve probably never seen before,” manager Mark McHorney said. “And that was an example of it.”

Eau Claire went for the series win in the nightcap. It might have gotten it if not for one rough inning.

Starter Brian Dickow was solid through four innings before loading the bases in the fifth. Sawyer Bawek came in relief and gave up a grand slam to Lombard’s Blake Alexander to break it open.

Alexander had it in for the Cavaliers all day. He finished 5-for-7 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” McHorney said. “We still didn’t give up. We came back at it, just couldn’t get that big hit in the last two innings there.”

At 6-13 in the WSL (18-18 overall) the Cavaliers haven’t had the season they were hoping for. But a pair of wins against a team that has only lost three league games this season has Eau Claire wondering what could have been if it were able to consistently play at that level.

“Our goal is to win first place in the State League,” McHorney said. “That’s the goal every year. Once that goal is out of sight or out of reach, you kind of feel bad. It’s tough. But we talked to the guys about having pride in playing and continuing to grind away.

“If we could have our best team here week in and week out, I think the Wisconsin State League would have been a different story. I’m not saying we’re making a run at first place, but it would have been a different story.”

While the team’s league title chances have come and gone, the Cavaliers hope to build off of these wins and finish the season strong.

“We can see that we can hang with (Lombard) and beat them,” Burman said. “If we can beat them, we can beat anybody.”

Eau Claire will host a pair of nonleague games during the week before traveling to Kenosha for its final league series of the season next weekend.

Cavaliers 8, Orioles 7


AB-R-H-RBI: Keith Browning, cf, 3-1-1-0; Eric Sousanes, ss, 2-0-0-0; Nick Mitidiero, 3b, 4-0-0-0; Anthony Drago, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Blake Alexander, 2b, 3-2-2-1; Brian Sobieski, lf, 2-1-0-0; Matt Miller, pr, 0-1-0-0; Jake Schneider, lf, 0-0-0-0; Armand Candea, dh, 3-0-1-1; Matt Hoge, pr/dh, 0-0-0-0; Dom Albanese, rf, 3-1-2-0; Bill Hayes, c, 2-0-0-0; Jim Frankos, c, 2-1-1-3; Bobby Beelen, p, 0-0-0-0; Matt Allen, p, 0-0-0-0; Troy Barton, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-7-7-5.


Masaki Onose, dh/2b, 5-0-1-1; Cody Booker, 3b, 3-0-0-0; Sam Hurt, 2b/ss, 3-1-1-1; Brian Burman, c, 4-0-2-3; Ryan Connor, rf, 3-2-1-0; Nick Degen, 1b, 1-2-1-0; Grant Peikert, ss/p, 3-1-2-0; Eric Cottrell, lf, 2-1-0-2; Naoki Otani, cf, 1-1-0-1; Sam Janni, ph, 0-0-0-0; Jacob Jenneman, p, 0-0-0-0; Tyler Black, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-8-8-8.

Lombard 011 004 1 — 7 7 0

Eau Claire 000 106 1 — 8 8 2

E — Booker, Burman. LOB — Lombard 8, Eau Claire 10. 2B — Alexander 2, Candea, Frankos; Burman. SB — Browning, Sousanes, Miller 2, Frankos. CS — Drago. SAC — Alexander; Cottrell, Otani.

Lombard IP H R ER BB SO

Beelen 5 2 1 1 4 4

Allen 0 2 5 5 2 0

Barton, L 1 1/3 4 2 2 2 3

Eau Claire

Jenneman 5 1/3 6 6 5 5 4

Black 1 1/3 1 1 0 2 2

Peikert, W 1/3 0 0 0 1 1

HBP — by Beelen (Booker), by Allen (Cottrell).

Orioles 5, Cavaliers 1


AB-R-H-RBI: Keith Browning, cf, 3-1-2-1; Dan Lauria, 2b, 3-0-1-0; Eric Sousanes, pr/ss, 1-1-0-0; Blake Alexander, 3b, 4-1-3-4; Jake Schneider, rf, 1-0-0-0; Anthony Drago, 1b, 3-0-1-0; Brian Sobieski, lf, 3-0-0-0; Armand Candea, dh, 1-0-1-0; Nick Lazendorf, pr/dh, 1-1-0-0; Cody Moskovski, c, 4-0-1-0; Matt Hoge, ss/2b, 4-1-1-0; Dave Cericola, p, 0-0-0-0; Sawyer Campbell, p, 0-0-0-0; Kevin Sweeney, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 28-5-10-5.


Sam Hurt, ss, 4-0-1-0; Cody Booker, c, 4-0-0-0; Nick Degen, 3b, 4-0-2-0; Brian Burman, dh, 3-0-0-0; Ryan Connor, 1b/cf, 2-0-0-0; R.J. Page, 1b, 0-0-0-0; Sam Janni, lf, 3-0-0-0; Eric Cottrell, rf, 2-1-0-0; Masaki Onose, 2b, 3-0-0-0; Naoki Otani, cf, 1-0-0-0; Brian Dickow, p, 0-0-0-0; Sawyer Bawek, p, 0-0-0-0; Tyler Black, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-1-3-0.

Lombard 000 050 0 — 5 10 4

Eau Claire 000 100 0 — 1 3 1

E — Drago 2, Moskovski, Cericola; Hurt. LOB — Lombard 10, Eau Claire 9. 2B — Drago; Degen. HR — Alexander. CS — Browning.

Lombard IP H R ER BB SO

Cericola, W 4 1 1 1 4 2

Campbell 2 0 0 0 0 2

Sweeney 1 2 0 0 1 0

Eau Claire

Dickow, L 4 1/3 6 4 4 3 3

Bawek 1 1/3 3 1 1 4 0

Black 1 1/3 1 0 0 0 0

WP — Cericola. HBP — by Dickow (Schneider).

Story by: The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

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