|Westosha Central hurler Brian Kretschmer struck out seven batters in six innings last Thursday at Union Grove.|
June 22, 2011 | 08:16 AMGenoa City — Last week was anything but ideal for the Genoa City Senior Legion squad.
Along with three losses, the boys received some disheartening news on Monday.
One of the club's top pitchers, Badger junior Colton Andresen, broke his ankle at a basketball camp and will miss the rest of the season. Head coach Gary Kukla said several pitchers must step up in the young star's absence.
"This is a big loss," Kukla said Monday. "Colton is one of our better pitchers and is our best center fielder."
The team will look to a slew of young fireballers to pick up in Andresen's absence including Nolan Friend (Burlington), Corey Crowder (Wilmot), Badger's Eric Skipper and Wilmot's Derek Horn. Kukla said Brian Kretschmer of Westosha Central will have to take over as the team's ace.
Fortunately, pitching hasn't been a major issue, as the Red Legs received strong mound performances from Horn and Kretschmer last week in a couple of close losses.
On Sunday at Krisik Field against Beloit, fielding woes plagued Genoa City in a 7-2 loss.
Genoa City dropped to 3-5 overall.
Kukla said the team's pitching has been its strongest aspect so far.
"Our pitching has been a big plus," he said. "But we must shore up our defense. The hitting will come around."
Beloit scored runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings. Genoa City committed six errors.
"Errors cost us the game," Kukla said. "We made some fundamental mistakes. Our errors really got them going."
However, Kukla commended the pitching of Crowder, who allowed four unearned runs in five innings of work.
Genoa City was able to plate a couple runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI single from catcher Peter Krien which scored Zach Faber, who led off the frame with a single. Later, Krien reached the plate on an error.
On Friday at home against the 17U Racine Mud Cats, Genoa City played to a 3-3 tie entering the seventh inning.
However, starting pitcher Horn was pulled because he surpassed the 100-pitch mark. That decision came back to haunt Genoa City, as relief pitcher Rory Klean was tagged for the two decisive runs in a 5-3 defeat.
Kukla said Horn was solid on the mound despite the loss. Horn struck out five and walked only two in six innings. He allowed only one earned run.
The Red Legs struggled to generate offense all night, finishing with only four total hits.
"We were stale at the plate," Kukla said. "We put together some bad at-bats, and we were not getting hits."
In the home half of the fourth inning, Marcus Page and Scott Holmes, a Williams Bay graduate, stroked back-to-back hits to start a rally. Then Eric Kremers delivered a two-run RBI single.
On June 16, the boys fell at Union Grove in nine innings, 5-4, in a back-and-forth affair.
Union Grove rocked Genoa City for four runs in the opening frame, but the Red Legs bounced back in a big way. They tallied four in the second inning thanks in part to three walks. With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth inning, Andresen ran into some trouble and loaded the bases. He then walked in the winning run.
Starting pitcher Kretschmer really settled down after the rough first inning. He ended up tossing six strong frames while striking out seven and walking three. Jay Christian led the squad with two hits and two RBIs. The Red Legs tallied seven hits.
"We were really executing," Kukla said. "And we played good defense."
This Thursday, Genoa City will battle Kenosha, which is one of the better teams in the league according to Kukla. He added they have seven players from Kenosha Bradford, a team that reached the Division 1 spring state tournament with a 21-6 record.
This weekend, Genoa City will travel to the Kenosha Tournament.
"We must focus on our defense and not take any plays for granted out there," Kukla said. "We must be ready for everything out there."