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Chiefs lash Lutheran, move to regional final

Big Foot's Austin Elliott slides safely into second base Tuesday.

(click for larger version)

Kahl (click for larger version)

Hehr (click for larger version)
May 30, 2012 | 08:16 AM
WALWORTH — The hit parade was on display early and often for the Big Foot baseball team Tuesday night in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal.

Thanks to two big innings and a stellar pitching performance from senior Ryan Recknagel, the Chiefs catapulted to an 8-1 lead and held on for an 8-5 victory over visiting Racine Lutheran/Prairie despite a scare in the seventh inning.

Big Foot improved to 14-13 overall. The second-seeded Chiefs will advance to play top-seeded Racine St. Catherine's in a regional final Wednesday in Racine. St. Cat's beat fourth-seeded Delavan-Darien, 5-4, Tuesday.

It was Big Foot's second straight year with a playoff victory.

"I've never been in a regional title game," Big Foot coach Steve Bochat said after the game. "If we can hit like we showed today, we can play with anybody. We have the arms."

The Chiefs slugged 10 hits in the game. Big Foot broke open a 1-1 tie in the third inning with three runs and added three more in the fourth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Alex Landers smashed an RBI double in the third, and Recknagel followed with an RBI single to make it 4-1.

After Recknagel enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, Carter Hehr hit an RBI ground-rule double in the bottom of the frame to increase the Big Foot lead to 5-1. The next batter, Recknagel, bashed a ground-rule double of his own, scoring two runs and making it 7-1.

"We tried some new hitting drills this week," Bochat said. "They seemed to be working. "

Recknagel continued to cruise on the mound until Lutheran mounted a late rally in the seventh. After Lutheran cut the lead to 8-3 thanks to an RBI double and an error, Recknagel got in jam with nobody out and runners on first and second.

That's when No. 1 starter Luke Kahl, who Bochat was saving for Racine St. Cat's, relieved Recknagel. Kahl forced two grounders for two quick outs. But after a wild pitch made it 8-5, Kahl had runners on first and second. He struck out the next batter on three curve balls to preserve the victory.

"I'm always nervous," Bochat said. "They always like giving me heart attacks at the end of games. Our plan was to get to Kahl at the end."

Recknagel, who struck out six in six innings and scattered only six hits, led the way at the plate with three RBIs.

"I was trying to throw strikes," Recknagel said. "I kept working on the curve ball."

Hehr and Kahl both went 2-for-4 for the game. Kevin Molitor, David Crump and Billy Landers added a hit each for Big Foot.

Tuesday playoff results

Girls softball regionals

Division 1

(5) Janesville Craig 4, (12) Badger 0

Division 4

(2) Monticello 2, (3) Williams Bay 1,

nine innings

Boys golf

Division 2, Wisconsin Dells Sectional

Big Foot, seventh, 356. Collin Hubertz, 82 (qualified for state); Craig Halma 89; Jake Dragonetti 92;

Dylan Freytag 93.

Division 3, New Glarus Sectional

Williams Bay, 11th, 389. Christian Kolmos, 91; Dan Hourigan, 98; Adam Lechelt, 99. Lawrence Crement, Tyler Harris, 101.

Tags: Feature Sports Story

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