Oak Creek baseball team still in position to win GMC despite issues
Walks, errors and injuries nag Knights
Most of the team is hitting in the .200 range and the pitching staff has an abysmal nearly one-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio, and in this past, very long week alone, the Oak Creek baseball team has crammed in three seasons' worth of errors and mental "whoops" moments.
And still the Knights managed to go 3-3 this past week and were still in position to grab at least a share of the Greater Metro Conference regular season title this week.
They will visit current leader Brookfield Central on Thursday, July 3 at 5:30 p.m. in a critical game that was originally scheduled for Monday, June 30, but was postponed by the large storms that rolled through the area that night.
In the midst of all this mayhem, Knight coach Scott Holler took the time to gather his staff over lunch between games during a Saturday, June 28 tournament and flatly and sincerely asked them, "Who among us has angered the baseball gods?"
"Seriously, we're trying to figure out how that happened," Holler said.
The capper (or the nadir depending upon your particular philosophy) came in a 16-13 loss to a struggling Nicolet team in the UW-Whitewater Tournament on June 28.
"We issued a school record 13 walks, with three hit batters and five errors,'" said Holler. "The three guys I sent out there (to pitch) couldn't find the strike zone as a group ... It was hands down the most bizarre game I've ever been involved with and quite probably the ugliest game I've ever been involved with.
The Knights also beat Kettle Moraine, 8-6, at Whiterwater and gave up six runs in the sixth inning with the help of four walks to lose to Arrowhead, 6-4, on June 27. The week got off to a bad start with a 4-3 GMC loss to Menomonee Falls on June 24 (see OakCreekNOW.com for details).
From there, the Knights bounced back to beat Wauwatosa East, 8-1, in a league game on June 25 and also beat West Allis Hale, 2-0, on June 26.
But even in those moments there were problems, as during the East game, pitcher/centerfielder Matt Hamilton was cruising on the mound when suddenly he grabbed his elbow in pain.
Holler said Hamilton was going to see a doctor but noted that the prognosis was uncertain at best.
All told, the Knights came out of the week with a 16-6 overall record and a 13-3 Greater Metro Conference mark. After the Central game, they have a hectic close to the pre-Greater Metro Conference Tournament regular season, including a game Saturday, July 5, at Muskego (11 a.m.) and a game at Abendschein on Monday, July 7, against Whitnall (5:30 p.m.).
The GMC Tourney is July 8-10 at Brookfield Central. The Knights are defending regular season and tourney champs.
Holler said things have to happen if the team wants to achieve its goals.
"Right now, our offense can't keep up with the amount of walks and errors that we have," he said, "and our errors never seem to happen with two out and no one on ... We don't have the depth we need, but we are hanging in there."
Highlights for the week included the win over Kettle Moraine where Doran Turchin had a first inning home run and Austin Flick, who gave Steve Stillwell a break at catcher in the Nicolet loss, came in at DH and had two hits including a big two-out, two-run single in the second.
The game went to eight innings where Mitch Makarewicz hit a two-run single in the top of the inning, and then Joey Richter threw a shutdown bottom of the frame to secure the win. Richter had three strikeouts and a walk in two innings of work.
Against Hale, D.J Ellifson threw one of his best games of the year with five strikeouts and three walks. He scattered six hits and got huge help from his defense as Turchin at short and Ryan Farr at second turned three double plays.
"He came out and got ahead of hitters," said Holler of Ellifson. "He really had his change-up working and he actually threw it more than his curveball. He just seems to have Hale's number." Ellifson also hit a home run.
Despite having to come out, Hamilton still earned the win against Tosa striking out four with no walks in four-plus innings of work. Magyar pitched a solid 22/3 innings of relief (three walks and two strikeouts).
Turchin and Hart had two hits and two RBIs, and Matt Hargreaves also had two hits.
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