Demons overcome scare from Union Grove

Trent Turzenski fired a complete game gem for the Demons Tuesday night. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

Just a couple days after dominating the Racine County Showcase, the Burlington varsity baseball team got a scare from one of its county foes Thursday night at Beaumont Field.

Union Grove’s Luke Hansel was throwing hard with a nasty breaking ball, and he kept the mighty Demon lineup at bay, as the Broncos took a 3-0 lead into the top of the sixth.

But that’s when Burlington came alive, posting a four-spot and holding on for a 4-3 victory.

The Demons improved to 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the Southern Lakes Conference.

Three Union Grove errors led to the four runs.


Demons 2-0 at county showcase

Last weekend’s Racine County Showcase avoided treacherous rainfall and went off without a hitch despite wintry temperatures and downright miserable conditions.

The Burlington varsity baseball team extended its winning streak to six games with dominant pitching and timely hitting, and the Demons joined Waterford as the only Racine County squads out of the eight to finish 2-0 for the weekend.

The Demons shut down Racine Park Friday, 7-0, at Burlington High School, and followed it up with a 6-2 victory over Racine Horlick Saturday at Beaumont Field.

The Friday and Saturday event featured games at both venues, though Saturday afternoon’s games experienced temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.

The Demons overcame a 2-0 deficit to Horlick thanks to two runs in the third and three in the fifth innings.

Against Park, three pitchers, all new to varsity, combined to allow only four hits with 12 strikeouts and four walks.


Plenty of pitching

Grant Tully’s 4-for-4 performance highlighted the Demon bats against Horlick, and Aaron Sturdevant added two hits, but it was Derek Koenen who tossed a complete game, scattering five hits and striking out five.

Koenen added two hits.

Burlington head coach Scott Staude wasn’t sure what to think of his pitching staff when last year’s stud Jacob Lindemann went down with an arm injury over the summer.

He knew Zach Campbell, a lefty, would be the man this season, but the rest of the staff remained a question mark.

The Demons are doing just fine, and a plethora of new faces, including Koenen, Trey Krause, Drew Pesick, Riley Nelson and Trent Turzenski, are providing the necessary depth for the rigors of an entire season.

“I wouldn’t have been able to predict our other pitchers stepping up right away like they have,” Staude said. “I thought we had some good, live arms, but they’ve exceeded my expectations.”

Koenen was a perfect example on Saturday, who Staude said his best pitching performance “as a varsity player.”

He only needed 90 pitches and walked one batter, with four scoreless frames to end the game.

Sturdevant and Riley Palquist each knocked two hits against Park, and Lindemann and Campbell added a hit each.


Questions on defense

The Demons played a clean defensive game against the Panthers, but they committed two errors against Horlick, which led to two unearned runs and an early deficit.

Staude said several players are trying new positions, such as Tully at shortstop and Palmquist, a sophomore second baseman and recent call up to varsity from the JV team.

Koenen and Tucker Strommen have shared time at second base.

In general, the overall hitting and consistent pitching have bailed the Demons out of most trouble, but Staude said the defense must improve.

“We have to be better defensively,” he said. “We have new guys in new positions. We have a bit of a platoon at second base, and we’re waiting for someone to step up and take it. We need to be more consistent defensively.”

One stalwart on defense, however, has been Sturdevant at catcher. He raked to the tune of 4-for-6 with three RBIs over the weekend, but what perhaps is more impressive is his game management, especially with a new crop of young pitchers.

“Aaron is having one of the best years as a catcher I can remember,” Staude said. “He is throwing guys out and calls the majority of the game. He’s been a rock back year, especially with our young pitching staff.”


Waterford one-hits Catholic Central

On Friday night, the Hilltoppers only mustered one hit, a seventh-inning single from Charles Robinson, to break up a no-hitter.

The one-hit performance marred a strong outing on the mound from Catholic Central junior Frank Koehnke, who struck out six and scattered four hits over five innings.

Tyler Rieck pitched a scoreless inning of relief, walking one and striking out one.

The Hilltoppers are now 5-5 overall after last weekend’s Racine County Showcase, which culminated with a 14-5 debacle against Racine Case Saturday.

Catholic Central head coach Jim Friend said the Toppers could have beaten Waterford had it not been for a late defensive miscue.

A misplayed fly ball in left field in the bottom of the third inning led to two Wolverine runs.

“It should’ve been caught,” Friend said. “Waterford’s guys put their uniforms on just like we do. We know we can play baseball with anybody.”

The unusually quick, 90-minute game was a classic pitcher’s duel.

Robinson advanced to second base in the seventh, but Rieck couldn’t drive him in as Austin Hoefs shut the door for Waterford.

Nolan DeGreef and Hoefs combined to allow the one hit and strike out seven, and they only gave one free pass.