Mistakes hurt Oconto Falls in high-scoring contest with Denmark

Panthers’ rally comes up short in seventh
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Some bad luck mixed with some sloppy defensive play hurt Oconto Falls in a wild 12-9 loss to Denmark on Tuesday in Oconto Falls.

After Connor Peetz tossed a 1-2-3 first inning for the hosts, Oconto Falls looked to be on its way to grabbing an early lead in the bottom half of the frame after putting a pair of runners on with only one out. Denmark erased the threat by inducing a infield popup and groundout.

The bad luck and sloppy defense for Oconto Falls started in the second inning, which helped Denmark put up three runs. A routine popup landed between the shortstop and left fielder to open the inning before another single snuck through the infield.

Peetz induced back-to-back groundballs from the next two hitters, but both batters reached on infield singles. Another groundball allowed Oconto Falls to record the first out of the inning, but also gave the visitors their second run. The final run scored on a throwing error.

“We made a couple of mental mistakes and they compounded when we threw the ball all over the place,” said Oconto Falls’ Mitchell Manns, a player from the class of 2020.

Oconto Falls was able to respond in the next half inning.

Travis Zielinski and Matthew Klein each reached base to start the frame for the Panthers before Alex Waschbisch came through with a two-run single. Waschbisch later scored on a double play ball to tie the game.

Denmark retook the lead with a run in the third before breaking the game open with a five-run fourth.

The visitors had two more batters reach on infield singles in the fourth. The big hit in the frame was a two-run triple, which turned into a little league homer after an Oconto Falls throwing error.

Oconto Falls cut into the deficit by scoring twice in its half of the fourth.

Grady McNichols picked up a RBI after being plunked by a pitch with the bases loaded, which scored courtesy runner Peetz. Klein scored the second run on a wild pitch.

Zielinski held Denmark scoreless in the fifth before Oconto Falls inched a bit closer in the bottom half. Manns drove in Andrew Klein on a sacrifice flyout before Braden Uelmen scored on a wild pitch to make it a two-run contest.

Another scoreless Denmark frame in the sixth gave the hosts a chance to get even closer, but Oconto Falls went down in order.

The visitors created some breathing room in the seventh, sending seven batters to the plate and scoring three times.

Again, Oconto Falls continued to battle, putting together a rally in its half.

After McNichols walked and Jake Sager singled, Manns drove in both players with a double to the right-center fence. Unfortunately for the hosts, the rally was snuffed out after that, with a flyout and groundout ending the game.

“It’s good to see that we don’t put our heads down. We always keep playing until the game is actually over, it doesn’t matter what the score is,” said Manns.

Oconto Falls ended up using four pitchers in the game. Peetz worked the first two frames before Uelmen worked 1 1/3 innings. Zielinski got the last two outs in the fourth before also pitching the fifth. Manns then made a rare appearance on the bump, working the final two innings.