Tyler Duesing, Riley Palmquist, Tucker Strommen, Trent Turzenski and Trey Krause huddle up before playing (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Demons riding high in all facets of game with 10-1 start

By Mike Ramczyk

Scott Staude just wanted to be sure.

After snow and rain littered the area last week, the chances of the Burlington baseball team playing Union Grove in a Southern Lakes Conference showdown Tuesday in Burlington were slim.

But Staude, the Demon head coach, still did his due diligence, driving around to Beaumont Field to see if the game could be salvaged.

Much like the rest of the area sports schedule Tuesday, the Demons were postponed.

But torrential downpour and Wisconsin spring anomalies like snow are about the only things that can stop the Demons right now.

Burlington has won 10 straight games after losing their first game despite a combined no-hitter, and as of Tuesday the Demons are ranked No. 1 in the Wisconsin Baseball Central Spring Power Rankings.

“We threw a no-hitter and lost, then ran off 10 straight,” Staude said Tuesday. “It’s really hard to rank teams, as schedules are never consistent in the spring. It’s an honor to be recognized, and it’s neat for the kids to get excited about.”

“Our seven seniors are all off to a great start. We have great senior leadership, experienced players and the right mix of underclassmen.”

Pitching on next level
It starts with the two-headed pitching monster of left-hander Trey Krause and right-hander Trent Turzenski, both of which are striking out batters at an astonishing rate.

The team ERA is 1.54, thanks in large part to Krause, who is 3-0 with a 1.10 ERA. He has 56 strikeouts and issued only six walks in 25 innings.

In 20 innings, Turzenski is 3-0 and boasts a 0.67 ERA with 43 strikeouts and seven walks.

“Strong pitching gives you a chance,” Staude said.

Staude also mentioned seniors Riley Palmquist, Michael Rozell, Tucker Strommen, Jason Adams and Danny Peterson.

Peterson and Adams are both starting on varsity for the first time. Peterson is hitting .367 and leads the team with 12 RBIs.

Adams, another strong pitcher, is hitting .350.

Rozell has been the ignitor of the offense, setting the table at the leadoff spot with a .498 on-base percentage.

Palmquist (.303 batting average) and Strommen have provided stellar infield defense.

Krause leads the team at .368 with 9 RBIs, and Turzenski has shown big-time power, hitting .367 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

“Adams has been our most consistent hitter,” Staude said. “We have a loose group. There’s a lot of team chemistry. They know when to have fun, and they know when to pick up the intensity.”

Overcoming adversity
That chemistry was tested during the first game of the Racine County Showcase last Friday at Beaumont Field.

It was the first time the Demons were losing in the first inning all season, as Racine Horlick jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Burlington cut the lead to 4-3 after one and added a five-spot in the fifth to eventually come back and win, 10-6.

Rozell earned the win on the mound, and Kale Dietz earned a three-inning save to shut the door.

Collin Degroot came through with two big hits, one to give the Demons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the fifth.

“We made a couple mistakes defensively,” Staude said. “It was neat to see them persevere. I want to see some adversity, and see how they handle it.”

Dietz has been a pleasant addition to varsity. The sophomore has delivered in several big spots after getting called up to give him more innings.

“He’s emerging as one of our better pitchers,” Staude said. “He has a fastball and slider, and we’re trying to develop a third pitch.”

Demons slam Central
On April 25 at home, Burlington improved to 8-0 in the SLC with an 8-1 thrashing of Westosha.

Krause struck out 13 and only allowed three hits in six innings.

Palmquist, Krause and Adams each had two hits, while Strommen added an RBI double.

Rozell and Dietz each added a hit and an RBI, while Christian Brenner smashed a single.

“Trey was really good and in total control,” Staude said. “He was working three pitches for strikes. We had no errors and played great defense.”

The competition is about to get stiff in the SLC.

Union Grove (7-1 SLC) boasts a dynamic offense to combat Burlington’s elite pitching.

“They can really swing the bats and are an aggressive offensive team,” Staude said. “They’re very quick at the top. We’re really good at pitching and defense. It could be fire vs. ice.”

According to Staude, the teams are hoping to make up Tuesday’s rainout with a game Thursday in the Grove and Friday in Burlington.