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July 31, 2012 | 04:47 PMGENOA CITY — All season long, the Beloit Senior Legion baseball team has had Genoa City's number.
Beloit downed the Red Legs twice in the regular season. And although it has been Genoa City's goal to win last weekend's regional and advance to state, Beloit stood between the Red Legs and a trip to Appleton.
Facing Beloit in Saturday night's regional final and needing to beat them twice in order to advance to state, Genoa City fell flat. Beloit jumped out to a 9-1 lead and held on for a 9-2 victory.
Genoa City ended its season 26-14-1. Beloit improved to 22-19 and advanced to Wednesday's American Legion AAA state tournament in Appleton.
"Beloit is a good team and just got our number this year," Genoa City Gary Cukla said. "I am proud to be with these players. They give their all every time they step on the field."
Genoa City won its most games in 10 years and also won two tournaments.
"With some extra offseason work and their commitment to this sport, I would not be surprised to see some of these guys make it to the next level after high school."
Saturday's meeting with Beloit was Genoa City's second in two days. Beloit crushed the Red Legs, 12-2, in seven innings the day before. Beloit entered Saturday's game undefeated, so Genoa City needed to beat them twice in the double elimination format to advance to state. What's more is the Red Legs only had a half hour to warm up after defeating Kenosha, 7-6, in the previous game.
But Beloit continued its dominance of the Red Legs, taking a 4-0 lead off Genoa City pitcher Eric Skipper after four innings. In a selfless act of courage, Colton Andresen, who hadn't pitched in two months due to an arm injury, relieved Skipper in the fifth. Andresen allowed a three-run double in the sixth to make it 7-0.
"Colton wanted to give the team a lift," Cukla said.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kevin Conrad's RBI double scored Andresen to cut the lead to 7-1. But with runners on second and third, Jonah Zeinert grounded out to end the rally.
Beloit increased the lead to 9-1 in the seventh with a homer off Genoa City pitcher Jason Marquez. However, the Red Legs answered in the seventh with a Dan Porteous RBI double to cut it to 9-2. But Eric Kremer was thrown out at the plate to stop the rally.
"I would not change a thing on waving Kremer in," Cukla said. "We tell the kids to be aggressive."
Conrad led the Red Legs with three hits, and Ropp added two hits.
Genoa City 7, Kenosha 6
Facing elimination in the regional semifinals Saturday, Genoa City jumped out to a 7-3 lead through eight innings. Travis Stahulak kept the Kenosha bats at bay before tiring in the ninth. Stahulak struck out nine, walked four and scattered seven hits.
In the ninth, though, it became a nail-biter. A Kenosha sacrifice fly cut it to 7-4, then a two-run single off Genoa City reliever Corey Crowder made it 7-6. The winning run was on base when Crowder induced a fielder's choice ground ball to end the game.
"It was a game we needed to win and Kenosha is known for their come-from-behind wins," Cukla said. "Our hitting approach was much better today as we had some key hits and sacrifice bunts. Stahulak had a masterful, gutsy outing."
Conrad led the offense with three hits and two RBIs. Ian Weber and Cody Ropp each collected two hits. Andresen scored three times. Porteous and Peter Krien each added key sacrifice bunts.
Beloit 12, Genoa City 2 (seven innings)
On Friday, Beloit struck early and often with eight first-inning runs en route to an easy victory.
Marquez had a rough outing, allowing eight runs on four hits with three walks in only 2/3 of an inning. Eric Nevoso gave up four more Beloit runs in the second to make it 12-0, but he only yielded two more hits the rest of the game.
"Being down 8-0 just made it hard to put anything together," Cukla said.
Skipper scored Stahulak on a fielder's choice in the fourth. Zeinert's RBI double in the seventh accounted for the only other Red Legs run.
Genoa City left a total of 10 runners on base.
Genoa City 3, Janesville 0
In a masterful performance, Red Legs ace Cal Rohrman tossed a one-hit complete game shutout July 26 as Genoa City blanked Janesville, 3-0, in a regional playoff opener.
Rohrman was in control all night, striking out eight and making it look easy. In nine innings, Rohrman only needed 106 pitches.
"I had a great fastball and couldn't really find my curveball," Rohrman said. "But by the fifth, it hit me. I knew I was giving it my all. This was my best pitching performance in awhile. I felt great warming up, and I knew it was going to be a great day."
Genoa City head coach Gary Cukla was impressed by Rohrman.
"You expect your ace to come through, and he came through," Cukla said. "He's college bound, and he showed it. He only had 70 pitches in seven innings, and that's unusual. He's got control of his pitches. We had some good defensive plays."
Shortstop Ian Weber led the offensive charge for the Red Legs with two hits and two runs scored.
While most of the area was plagued by powerful rains, it rained for about five minutes early in the game before sunny skies rolled in. Genoa City opened up the scoring in the top of the third. Weber smashed a single and advanced to third before Travis Stahulak bunted him home with a suicide squeeze. A few pitches later, Kevin Conrad scampered home from third on a passed ball to make it 2-0.
From there, Rohrman was pretty much untouchable, enjoying several 1-2-3 innings. In the eighth, the Madison Tech recruit allowed his only hit, and the Janesville runner advanced to second. But Rohrman got out of the jam with no damage.
Conrad, who will play for the South in the American Legion All-Star game next month at Miller Park, provided insurance in the seventh. His RBI double scored Weber to extend the Genoa City lead to 3-0.
"The third run was really important," Cukla said.
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