Verona got some clutch hitting with runners in scoring position and used a four-run fifth inning to upset previously No. 1-ranked Waunakee 8-5 on Monday, May 6.
“We got the timely hits we had been lacking,” coach Brad D’Orazio said. “I think it shows if we play well we can be competitive and play with anybody.”
The Wildcats snapped an eight-game losing streak after splitting a doubleheader with Madison Memorial Thursday, May 2. Verona committed 17 errors during the losing streak.
The Wildcats (7-9 overall, 5-8 Big Eight) faced a challenge on Saturday, May 4, against Janesville Craig, ranked third in the Division 1 Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association state poll. Verona lost a 6-2 to the Cougars, who lead the Big Eight at 11-0.
Craig moved into second in the state rankings this week and Waunakee dropped to third.
D’Orazio said the Wildcats’ pitching helped the team return to the win column.
“The starting pitching has turned into our strong suit,” D’Orazio said.
The Wildcats kept the momentum going and slugged their way to an 11-1 road win over La Follette on Tuesday, May 7, in Madison.
It was the second time this season Verona has lost to Craig.
“We hit the ball well,” D’Orazio said. “We had some defensive miscues that cost us. Against a team that good, you have to play error-free.”
Verona 11, La Follette 1
Verona pounded out 14 hits and pounded La Follette 11-1 on Tuesday, May 7, at Warner Park in Madison.
Senior Sam Pederson had two hits and two RBIs. Senior Brooks Brazeau drove in three runs.
Both senior Reagan Klawiter and sophomore James Rae had two hits.
Verona 8, Waunakee 5
Freshman Nick West had a two-run single and senior Klawiter had a two-run double in the fifth inning on Monday to lift Verona to an 8-5 win over Waunakee.
Rae crushed a home run, sophomore Ryan Taylor had two hits and West finished with two RBIs.
Joe Ducharme pitched four innings and gave up two runs to get the win.
Janesville Craig 6, Verona 2
The Wildcats had six hits, but couldn’t pull off a late rally and lost to Big Eight leader Janesville Craig 6-2 on Saturday, May 4, at Stampfl Field.
The Cougars (13-1, 11-0 Big Eight) jumped out to a 3-1 lead after three innings. West tossed three innings, gave up four runs and struck out two.
Taylor went 2-for-3 with a triple.
Verona senior pitcher Connor Grossnickle pitched four innings and gave up two runs.
Memorial 7, Verona 1 (8 inn.) Verona 5, Memorial 1
Verona split a doubleheader against Madison Memorial on Thursday at Stampfl Field.
Klawiter pitched 7 1/3 innings in game one and gave up one run and struck out 11, and the teams entered extra innings tied at 1. The Spartans had a six-run eighth inning to seal the victory. The Wildcats committed three errors in the game.
In the second game of the twinbill, Rae went 2-for-3 to lead the Wildcats to a 5-1 win over the Spartans.
Brazeau also went 2-for-3 for the Wildcats, which rallied from a one-run deficit with a three-run fourth. Ducharme drove in two runs. Michael Fischer had a bunt single to drive in a run in the fourth. Ducharme then delivered a two-out single.
Sun Prairie 7, Verona 0
Sophomore pitcher Jacob Kisting pitched five innings, gave up one run and struck out seven.
Kisting took the mound Thursday, two days after the Cardinals knocked around Wildcats’ ace Reagan Klawiter.
D’Orazio talked to Kisting about keeping the ball down against the Cardinals. Sun Prairie took advantage of some walks and pounded out 11 hits to roll 7-0.
Kisting pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up four runs and struck out one.
The lone hit for the Wildcats was a double by Taylor.
Madison West 2, Verona 1 (9 inn).
Kisting and West’s Justin Grosse were locked in a pitchers’ duel on Thursday, April 18, at Stampfl Field.
But four errors led to two unearned runs and were the Wildcats’ undoing in a 2-1 loss to the Regents in nine innings.
An error on a grounder to third in the ninth allowed the game-winning run to score.
Verona had given up their first run in the eighth, after Madison West senior catcher Drake Baldwin singled to center with one out. He then stole second and took third on a throw that went into center field.
West’s Cooper Treichel delivered an RBI single to score Baldwin to give the Regents a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats’ only run came in the bottom of the eighth when they scored on a dropped fly ball by the Regents in center field.