Tags: Feature Sports Story, Sports
May 06, 2014 | 04:01 PMWALWORTH — After an eight-day gap in games caused by two rain cancellations, the Big Foot baseball team picked up right where it left off on Monday night.
The boys defeated East Troy 3-2 and brought the Chiefs' winning streak to seven in what head coach Steve Bochat described as an evenly-matched game.
"They have some good hitters," Bochat said of East Troy. "They hit the ball really well."
But Austin Hoey, one of Big Foot's top two pitchers, kept it close and pitched all seven innings, recording six strikeouts and allowing five hits in the process.
Big Foot senior Brian Wolski was 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs, one of which was the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth that secured the victory for the Chiefs.
Wolski hit a ground-ball single to left field that scored senior Nate Freytag who was on second base. Freytag was 2-for-4 and scored 2 runs.
Despite Big Foot's nine hits, the Chiefs struggled to score.
"(We) just couldn't get them strung together with guys in scoring position early," Bochat said. "(It was) just a good team effort again with Austin's pitching."
In the top of the third, Hoey pitched his way out of a tight situation with two outs and runners on first and third. East Troy slugger Josh Oswald was at the plate and Hoey intentionally walked Oswald to load the bases.
East Troy's Will Iloncaie knocked a grounder to Hoey, who threw it to Collin Frederick at first base while Nick Ruffalo (East Troy) sprinted for home from third. Frederick stood his ground and knocked over Iloncaie with a powerful tag to end the inning and prevent an East Troy run.
"Austin got out of the jam," Bochat said of Hoey's performance in the third.
Bochat said he is very happy with his team's 10-3 record midway through the season — they've been clobbering the teams they should and grinding out wins against opponents who will likely still be playing in June.
But he'd prefer to win with a couple runs to pad the score.
"They're going to give me a heart attack," Bochat laughed. "I guess, that's their goal."
"But you've got to win games like that," he said. "It's a tough conference. We're picked as one of the best conferences in the state — the north and the south."
Bochat said he anticipates some late-season conference battles with teams like Jefferson and Edgerton.
"You can't look by any of those teams," Bochat said. "And that's what baseball is about and that's why I coach it. You don't know what you're going to get each night. I'm just glad we were on the winning side of the game."
By Regional News deadline, the score of Big Foot vs. Whitewater on May 6 was not available. But Bochat said that if the Chiefs manage to win, which he said he was confident they were able to do, Saturday's double-header against Beloit Turner could be a pivotal point in the season.
"Saturday could be for the conference lead or the title," Bochat said.
The Chiefs were in a similar situation last year with an 8-1 record going into a double-header against Turner. Big Foot lost the first game in what Bochat called a "nail-biter" 4-3, and was defeated handily, 10-3, in the second.
The two losses against Turner kicked off the Chiefs' seven-game losing streak in the last three weeks of the 2013 season.
"I don't see this team getting down," Bochat said of this year's club. "One loss ain't going to hurt us. They're fun. They're a fun bunch of guys and they know when to have fun and when to be serious. They're finally figuring that out and that's turning into victories."
Big Foot will host the double-header against Turner this Saturday, May 10 at Devil's Lane Park. Game one begins at 10 a.m. Game two will immediately follow at 1 p.m.
"I felt it would come down to Turner and us, that's who I predicted," Bochat said. "And we're one game away from that happening. It's going to come down to a weekend battle to see who wants this title more."