Sophomore shortstop Ryan Taylor is dialed in.
As of Tuesday, he was on a five-game hitting streak and had 12 RBIs in a three-game stretch for Verona, which won three of its past four games.
“He’s really starting to wait for his pitch,” coach Brad D’Orazio said. “He’s not pulling off the ball and he’s driving the ball. He’s seeing it well.”
Taylor went 5-for-7 with six RBIs in a doubleheader split with Kaukauna on Saturday, May 11, at Stampfl Field. Sophomore James Rae went 4-for-5 in the two games, and Taylor finished 2-for-4 with a triple.
Verona was coming off a five-inning victory over Madison La Follette on Friday.
On Tuesday, May 14, the Wildcats were shut out by Beloit Memorial.
Before that game, Verona (9-11 overall, 6-9 Big Eight) had been averaging 8.4 runs per game in its past seven games.
“I think we have been more aggressive going after the fastball in fastball counts,” D’Orazio said.
Beloit Memorial 4, Verona 0
Verona was limited to two hits and lost a Big Eight Conference game on the road on Tuesday to Beloit Memorial 4-0.
Verona committed two errors, and the Purple Knights scored all four runs in the fifth inning off senior lefty pitcher Reagan Klawiter.
Klawiter pitched five innings and gave up four runs and struck out 10.
Kaukauna, Verona (DH)
After digging itself a 10-run hole, Verona rallied before losing the first game of a doubleheader to Kaukauna 14-10 on Saturday at Stampfl Field. The Wildcats rebounded to win the second game 10-0.
In the first game, Kaukauna broke things open with three runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead, then exploded for a six-run third to go up 10-0.
The Wildcats answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Kaukauna responded with one run in the fifth and a two-run sixth to take a 13-10 lead.
Junior Parker Jones pitched two innings and gave up four earned runs on two hits and five walks. Senior Connor Grossnickle tossed two innings in relief; one of four pitchers the Wildcats used. Freshman Nick West also pitched one inning and struck out three.
In the second game, Taylor went 3-for-3, including a pair of doubles, and drove in six runs to lead the Wildcats to a 10-0 victory. Up 4-0 after four innings, Verona put the game away with a three-run fifth and sixth.
Senior outfielder Tyler McWilliams went 2-for-2 and senior designated hitter Brooks Brazeau finished 2-for-3.
In his first varsity start, sophomore Andres Kleinsek pitched five shutout innings and gave up three hits, striking out four and walking one. With five games in one week, D’Orazio said the Wildcats needed some pitching depth and they “felt confident with him in the game.”
“He threw strikes and worked ahead in the count,” D’Orazio said.
Verona 13, La Follette 3 (5 inn.)
Taylor went 2-for-3 with six RBIs to power the Wildcats to a 13-3 win over Madison La Follette on Friday.
The Wildcats jumped on top with a four-run first inning, adding five more in the third to extend their lead to 10-0. Senior outfielders Sam Pederson and McWilliams each went 2-for-3.
Sophomore Jacob Kisting pitched five innings and gave up one earned run on five hits, striking out six and walking a pair.
“He attacked the hitters and threw multiple pitches for strikes,” D’Orazio said.