Waterford 4, Burlington 2

 

Rematch Thursday is a battle of aces in Krause, Guenther

 

Waterford freshman sensation Andrew Chapman is the younger brother of senior Aaron. After Tuesday’s victory, Andrew said it’s special to play with his brother. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

It’s exactly what Burlington head coach Scott Staude wanted – a big-game atmosphere.

Tuesday’s Southern Lakes Conference two-game series opener at Beaumont Field in Burlington felt like a WIAA playoff game, ripe with fundamental small ball, top-notch pitching and loads of strategy.

And with a 4-2 victory, Waterford exorcised its Demons, literally.

The Wolverines, who’ve shown a relentless will to win all season, overcame a 2-1 deficit and scored three runs in the final two innings to win for the first time in Burlington since 2015, Waterford’s last conference title campaign.

Freshman Andrew Chapman continued his red-hot hitting, with two two-out RBI singles, and pitcher Zach Stiewe fired perhaps his best game of the season, with two runs allowed and six hits scattered over five innings.

Then Andrew’s brother Aaron closed the door on any comeback attempt with a two-inning save, featuring two strikeouts and one hit.

“We have been working really hard on getting the ball down (bunting) at practice,” Waterford coach Lanc Bestland said. “Today showed what fundamentals do. That’s all we did yesterday at practice, was practicing defensive coverages. We knew that’s what the game was going to be about. We knew it would be low-scoring, and we knew that any sacrifice was going to be the difference.”

Waterford improved to 12-3 and 8-3 in the Southern Lakes Conference.

Burlington dropped to 8-6 and 5-4.

Both teams sit behind first-place Wilmot, which improved to 8-1 in the league with a walk-off victory over rival Westosha Central Tuesday.

 

Turzenski starts strong

After the game, Burlington coach Scott Staude acknowledged the inexperience of his guys, as many are full-time players on varsity for the first time.

He was impressed by the start of the team’s No. 2 pitcher, Trent Turzenski, who allowed three earned runs in 6-2/3 innings and struck out four.

Turzenski and Waterford pitcher Zach Stiewe were locked in a pitcher’s duel and were virtually untouchable through five innings.

By the late innings, though, Turzenski, a 6-foot-5 right-hander was keeping a few balls up over the plate, and Waterford’s patient batters took advantage.

“Trent was pretty efficient through five innings, and at this point of the year we’re trying to get him to go seven if he can, because hopefully we’re gearing him up for the playoffs,” Staude said. “He threw well, but Waterford made some nice adjustments. They had some two-strike at-bats. Biggs had the big hit.”

“What turned it is they scored in the top of the sixth to make it 2-2. That was frustrating. We were talking as a staff about maybe putting him on. Trent earned the right to go after him, and he just put the ball in play. We did a lot of good things, we just didn’t catch a lot of breaks.”

In the first inning, the Demons had the bases loaded with nobody out, but a Tucker Strommen lineout thwarted the rally. Later, with runners at first and third, a hit-and-run was on but Trey Krause lined out to second for a double play.

The ball wasn’t bouncing Burlington’s way, and the emergence of Andrew Chapman was game-changing.

In the bottom of the fourth, the right-handed batting freshman, who is 9-for-11 with 10 RBIs in his last three games, poked a two-out single to right to score brother Aaron, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Then, with two outs again in the sixth, it was Andrew Chapman’s base knock, to the same spot in right, that tied things up at 2-2.

 

Pitcher Trent Turzenski (left) and catcher Christian Brenner (right) react to coach Scott Staude’s decision to change pitchers in the seventh inning Tuesday night in downtown Burlington at Beaumont Field. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

Strategic move backfires

This allowed Biggs, who followed an Aaron Chapman intentional walk, to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh. Up 3-2, the very next batter, Brendon Snyder, slapped another RBI single to provide an insurance run at 4-2.

“I knew Trent was throwing pretty good, and I just thought just play it where it’s pitched,” Andrew Chapman said. “The ump was calling outside-half the whole game. I just figured to poke one to right. It’s always nice to knock these guys off, but we’re not done. We got another game Thursday against Burlington, and we have to keep the energy.”

It’s rare for a freshman to make it to a varsity roster, let alone start and especially excel.

But the younger Chapman has learned a lot from his brother, and Bestland says Andrew is ahead of Aaron when comparing the two as freshmen. For Andrew, it’s a blessing to be a part of this team, and the older guys haven’t participated in any hazing or anything – at least not yet.

“The team’s really taken me in, almost like I’ve been playing with them my whole life,” Andrew said. “It’s definitely special to play with my brother.”

Bestland echoed the sentiment that Andrew is far beyond his years.

“He’s a baby, but he’s finally figured out varsity pitching,” Bestland said. “His future looks good, it really does.”

Stiewe, Waterford’s No. 2 starter, allowed two runs and walked four while scattering six hits in five innings.

“Stiewe has been our workhorse all year long,” Bestland said. “He’s going to throw strikes and keep you in the game. We finally played defense for him.”

“It feels great,” Stiewe added. “We haven’t won much here at Beaumont. It feels good to come here and get a win on a Tuesday feels good.”

“A lot of people didn’t have faith in us this year. We’re out here proving everyone wrong, and we love that.”

Biggs finished 3-for-4, while Aaron Chapman was 2-for-4.

Brenner and Rozell each totaled two hits for the Demons.

Thursday’s encore is shaping up to be a doozy to say the least.

Both teams will throw their aces, Zach Guenther (5-0) for Waterford and Krause, Burlington’s lefty who has been unstoppable all spring with an ERA under 1.00.

“As the weather improves, I think our batting averages will go up and things will start to turn,” Staude said. “We have to win a big game that makes our kids believe we’re good. They need to feel like, ‘OK, we’re good.’ We need to play a good game against a really good team. Our guys got to feel that, and they got to want that.”

For Bestland, he’s hoping for another defensive battle where pitching and situational hitting is key.

“I hope it’s another game like this,” he said. “Guenther did a heck of a lot of work in the offseason to get better. He’s a tall, skinny guy, but he worked in the offseason to get stronger. He’ll mix and deal. He developed a new pitch over the summer.”

“It’s going to look very similar Thursday. We’ll do our best to not allow Trey to go seven innings. I know he’ll go all 100 (pitches), so the question is how fast can we get him out of the game? The kids know what Krause has in terms of a breaking ball. We may jump on pitches early, since he could use his curve as his out pitch.”

 

 

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