Utica entered a home doubleheader on Sunday, July 21 two games behind Evansville and Fort Atkinson in the Southeast Section Home Talent League playoff race.
The A’s playoff hopes were dashed after an 11-6 loss to Evansville and a 9-7 defeat at the hands of Cambridge.
“It hurts because we weren’t out of it yet,” Utica player-manager Christian Stokstad said. “Guys showed up to win.”
In a Night League game on Thursday, July 18, Stoughton shut out Utica 6-0. The A’s dropped to 0-6 in the Night League, which Stokstad said his team treats as a developmental opportunity.
“Some of the guys who maybe don’t get as many opportunities on Sundays, we try to get them an opportunity on Thursdays,” he said.
Evansville 11, Utica 6The A’s got off to a rocky start before storming back in a loss to the Jays.
Evansville scored three runs in the first inning and five in the second off Stokstad to take an 8-1 lead.
“We got off to a bad start and then we battled back in the game and started to get some timely hits,” Stokstad said.
The A’s scored three runs in the fourth. Nick Woodstock singled and Andy Martin walked. Stokstad delivered an RBI double to left, and Cody Reisdorf came through with a two-run double to left to cut Evansville’s lead to 8-4.
Utica’s Brock Wanninger went 4-for-5, and Ben Hildenbrandt was 3 for-5 with two runs scored. Reisdorf finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Woodstock also went 2-for-4.
Stokstad pitched six innings and gave up nine earned runs on 15 hits. He struck out two.
Cambridge 9, Utica 7
The A’s rallied from a six-run deficit, but lost a nail-biter to the Blues.
Utica scored six runs in the fifth to tie the game at 7. Aaron Zimmerman and Alec Tomczyk singled, and Hildenbrandt reached on an error to load the bases. Dane Schultz knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice, and Sam Rath had an RBI single. Woodstock then delivered a two-run single to left.
“That was a really big hit because it came with two outs and on a full count,” Stokstad said.
Connor Kalinowksi, a 2019 Stoughton graduate, recorded a two-run single to left to tie the game at 7.
Cambridge scored two runs off relief pitcher Aaron Schauer to get the win. Schauer pitched four innings, struck out one and walked one.
Wanninger started on the mound and surrendered six earned runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Stoughton 6, Utica 0
Erick Sperloen and Tyler Wilberg combined to retire 18 straight batters to lead the Merchants past the A’s last Thursday.
The two hits for the A’s came on a single by Stokstad in the first and a leadoff single by Zimmerman in the second.
“They made great plays on some of our best contact,” Stokstad said. “I don’t know if we were out in front of their pitching, but we had a lot of pop-ups.”
Stoughton’s Winder Fuentes had a two-run double in the third to help the Merchants take a 3-0 lead. Jake Wenzel then had an RBI single to center to extend the Merchants’ lead.