By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
DANVILLE ? The Winfield-Mt. Union baseball season came to an end on Saturday night, but not without a few fireworks in the late innings. The Wolves battled back from a 15-1 deficit to cut the lead in half, but the Danville offense was just too much in a 18-8 final that lasted six innings.
W-MU scored the first run of the game, plating a runner in the top of the first. Starting pitcher Jacob Ford knocked in Dawson Bergtold with a two-out RBI single and the Wolves were on the board.
Unfortunately, Danville senior ace Isaiah Blaine was on the mound for the Bears, and much like Ford, Blaine helped his own cause at the plate. He hit a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first, and that sparked a 15-0 Danville run.
The Bears led 3-1 after the first inning, and put up 12 more runs over the next three to take a commanding lead, 15-1, after four.
Blaine was pulled from the game in the top of the fifth, which left the door open for a rejuvinated W-MU offense. The Wolves would have one of their best offensive innings of the year, putting up seven runs to cut the lead to 15-8.
Bryant Holtkamp started things off with an RBI groundout. Collin Simmons and Mitchell Neibuhr scored two more with walks and it was 15-4 with the bases juiced and just one down.
Two different relievers tried their luck in the fifth but couldn?t get the job done. Eventually, Blaine was put back in the game. After a strikeout, Davis walked in a run to make it 15-5, and Nathan Crow knocked a couple of runs in to extend the game.
Mitchell Niebuhr, who came into the game to pitch in relief, held the Bears to just one run in the bottom of the fifth. W-MU, however, couldn?t solve Blaine in the sixth and the Bears tacked on two runs in the sixth inning to end the game 18-8.
?I was happy with how we started the game (in) the first half-inning,? Wolves? coach Kent Klopfenstein said after the game. ?(Pitching) wasn?t quite as sharp as I would have liked it to be, but they really hit the ball better than last time they faced us.?
Klopfenstein said the team took its lumps from being so young and that should help the Wolves down the road. W-MU graduates just two players, and Niebuhr is the only starter they will lose.
?He?s been a four-year player for us. He was contributing even three or four years ago as a courtesy runner, and he?s been our get-out-of-a-jam reliever this year,? Klopfenstein said about Niebuhr. ?We?re definitely going to miss that. And just a veteran presence who knows what?s going on out there in our infield of use.?
W-MU baseball won just one game this season. That win came at Danville on June 8, when they knocked off the Bears 5-1.
Danville moved on to the second round with their win. The Bears will be at New London on Tuesday, July 10, at 7 p.m.