A’s headed to finals
Clintonville ends 14 scoreless innings with two homers
By Scott Bellile
It took six extra innings to do it, but the Clintonville A’s have earned a trip to the 70th Badger Amateur Baseball Association Grand Championship Game after defeating the team that handed the A’s a 3-1 loss at the same BABA semifinal last summer.
The A’s and the Plover Pterodactyls were so evenly matched in Veterans Memorial Park Sunday, Aug. 30, that the semifinal went for 15 innings before a run was scored.
Spectators packed up their folding chairs fatigued by the 0-0 game when the A’s John Dunlavy stepped up. He smashed the pitch over the fence in the top of inning 15.
After Dunlavy passed third base high-fiving his teammates, teammate Turner Doornink stepped up. Doornink, who originally hadn’t planned to play in the semifinal due to college nearing, belted a second home run to louder cheers.
“Unbelievable,” coach John Fietsch said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”
Clintonville (14-2) will return home Sunday, Sept. 6, at 2 p.m. for the championship game against Elderon (12-3) at Don Jirschele Stadium in Olen Park. A 13-time grand champion in the BABA league, Clintonville defeated Elderon at the final game in 2013.
Elderon beat undefeated Tigerton 16-3 on Sunday to advance to this weekend’s final.
Last Sunday’s game wasn’t without drama. The Pterodactyls’ tempers flared at the bottom of the eighth inning when a referee ruled that their runner who crossed home didn’t touch the plate while dodging A’s catcher Jared Westphal.
Members of the Pterodactyls screamed, swore, threw helmets and slammed bats against the dirt, but no player was ejected from the family event.
Pterodactyls pitcher Eric Fritz pitched a complete game against A’s pitcher Patrick VanDaalwyk. Fritz struck out 16 batters and walked one. VanDaalwyk struck out 14, walked one and hit three batters.
“I don’t know what to say. That was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” VanDaalwyk said, still panting to catch his breath after the game. “It was a blast, though.
“You’ve gotta give just as much credit to their pitcher. He threw 15 innings, too.”
Fietsch said it was the outstanding pitchers who kept the scoreboard at 0-0 for 14 innings.
“Every time they needed to get an out, they got an out,” Fietsch said. “Bottom line: They pitched their butts off, each of ’em.”