Gribble's grand slam lifts OC to 7-1 GMC baseball win over Falls

June 14, 2011

In the deep past when the Baltimore Orioles ruled baseball, it was described as Earl Weaver style.

About a decade ago, coach Mark Rohde and the bombers from Brookfield Central used it to win a WIAA state title.

Now, the brand of baseball that features good pitching, sound defense and the occasional home run is simply known as the "Oak Creek way."

The epitome' of that philosophy Tuesday night in the Knights' impressive 7-1 road win at a good Menomonee Falls squad was senior centerfielder Joey Gribble.

Gribble took away a run-scoring extra-base hit from Indian catcher Corey Volden in the first with a diving catch and then broke the game wide open in the sixth, when he rode a 1-2, two-out curveball from Falls starter Logan August over the leftfield fence at Trenary Park for a grand slam home run.

That smack made it 7-1 and allowed the Knights to improve to 8-2 in Greater Metro play and 11-2 overall.

"The pitch was just hanging a little bit and I got all of it," said Gribble. "It was a good pitch to hit." It was the first grand slam of his career.

"It was a funny situation," said Oak Creek coach Scott Holler. "We were just playing for another run. Billy Wallace gets a clutch hit and then we get another couple of good at bats and Joey comes up and just knocks it out of here. He has just been red-hot lately."

The blast helped make a winner out of starter Chris Bournelis, who allowed one run over the course of five innings with five strikeouts and two walks.

The loss was frustrating for Falls (6-3, 8-5), which had rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh to beat Brookfield Central the night before.

Veteran coach Pat Hansen saw two calls that went against the Indians as pivotal in setting up Gribble's heroics.

Falls had cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second on Andy Von Bank's RBI double and in the third, the Indians were poised to tie the game and maybe even go ahead.

Leftfielder Joe Sanicola hit a hard single to right to with two men on and one out in the third. Infielder Anthony Gonzales zoomed around third, looking to score the tieing run, but Knight rightfielder Ryan Ungerecht threw a one-hop throw to catcher John Jesko who swiped at Gonzales as he went by.

The umpire called Gonzales out. Hansen and Falls' fans did not agree. And after an intentional walk to Falls' Brett Krause, Bournelis got the Indians Greg Roble swinging on a curveball to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

"We actually call the outfield 'The no-fly zone'," said Gribble of he and teammates Kyle Veloz and Ungerecht. "We take a lot of pride in things out there."

"That was a huge momentum play," said Holler, "and it's one we work on a lot in practice. We work hard on making those one-hop throws reach their targets. Just a huge play."

Then in the sixth, when August was working to get out of that bases-loaded jam with Gribble at the plate, he went for a pick-off play at first. Falls' partisans thought he had his man for the third out, but the umpire disagreed.

The next pitch resulted in Gribble's grand slam.

"Two big calls by the officials that didn't go our way," said Hansen. "We bear some of the responsbility though. We didn't execute well offensively or properly run the bases. We should be OK with that stuff now. We have 13 games under our belts now. That inexperience stuff (the Indians are very young) shouldn't count much anymore."

Oak Creek put a punctuation mark on the win with a stellar 5-4-3 doubleplay in the seventh started by Jake Gordon.

The Knights now stay in the hunt for first in the GMC behind rivals Franklin and Muskego while Falls looks to scramble and stay in contention.

"This was a very good win against a very well-coached opponent," said Holler, "and their pitcher was outstanding for much of the game. We just took advantage of a few things and were able to come away with a big victory."

Volden, Von Bank and Joel Zyhowski had two hits apiece for Falls, while Veloz had three hits and Jesko two for Oak Creek.






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