12U State Champs!

By: Robert Roloff July 26, 2017

This is a story about a 12U ‘Bad News Bears’ team.  But, it is not just a story – this really happened.

The 6 Tool Baseball School 12U team had their struggles during the season.  Sometimes it was poor defense, sometimes lack of hitting, other times bad pitching, mental errors.  Baseball is a tough game – full of failures.  But, one has to expect it, accept it, and deal with it by learning from one’s mistakes and working hard to get better as individuals and as a team.  That is what this team did.

They finished league play in 6th place with a 7-9 record.  This included loses to the first place team by scores of 8-4 and 19-9.  They also lost twice to the second place team 9-3 and 5-3.  Same goes for the third place – losing 20-4 and 9-5.  So, they knew that it would be an uphill battle as they were facing the 3rd seeded Oak Creek Zone team in their first playoff game in Oak Creek.  But, with hard work, they had been improving – and, there was some hope now that the second season was beginning.

The 6 tool baseball team started the game with a big inning – scoring 7 runs in the top of the 1st with everyone turning in solid at bats.  Jonah Roloff held the Oak Creek offense in check over the first four innings with the help of an excellent defense behind him.  Going into bottom of the 5th – they led 9-1.  After Oak Creek scored 3 runs – the 6 tool team answered with 6 runs of their own in the top of the 6th to put the game away.  Lilly Rechlitz kept the Oak Creek team in check after that and 6 tool baseball won by a final score of 15-7.  Needless to say – the Oak Creek team was in shock.

A week passed – the team put in a couple of very good practices.  That old saying – you play as good as you practice –  was ringing in one’s ears.  Next up was the Forceout team from Franksville.  The 6 tool team knew that they were going to face a couple of really good pitchers – and, they were on the road again.  There was some talk about – well, at least we won one playoff game.  But, there was a confident feeling that this team had that they could pull off the upset.

The 6 tool team scored a run in the top of the first when Owen Beringer walked, stole 2nd base, and came home on a base hit up the middle by Adam Wiencek.  Jonah Roloff went to the mound and kept the Forceout team from scoring despite a walk.  That set the stage for the rest of the game.  The team played some ‘small ball’ as Lilly Rechlitz walked in the top of the 2nd inning, stole second, went to 3rd base on a wild pitch, and scored when Brady Wawrzyniakowski put the ball in play by grounding out to 2nd driving in the run from 3rd base.  Jonah set down the side by picking a runner off of 1st base and then catching a line drive to end the inning.  Forceout went 3 up and 3 down in the 3rd inning.  In the 5th inning, 6 tool was back playing small ball again.  After a walk to Patrick Beidatsch leading off the inning, he went to 2nd base on a throwing error by the pitcher.  Lilly grounded out to second moving the runner to 3rd base.  And, Brady grounded out again to drive in the run just as he had done in the 2nd inning.  Lilly Rechlitz then came in and pitched three innings of shut out ball with the help of some terrific defense to close out the game 3-0.  The outfielders – Brady, Adam, Anthony Sardina, Owen, Aiden Vosniak, and Blake Kogelman made nice catches.  Cooper Brackett made a couple of nice stops of hard hit ground balls at 1st base, as did second baseman Dalton Reck, Patrick at shortstop, and Deacon Gray at third.  A very nice team WIN.  Another team (Forceout) in total shock.

Now, in two days, came the ultimate test – the team must face the league champs, 12-2, the Zepp Prospects.  There were many doubts about the team’s chances from top to bottom – including the coaches.  But, the game is not played on paper.  A night game at the Rock is the venue – so, there is no home field advantage for either team.  As in previous games – the 6 tool team manufactures a run in the 1st inning without a hit – Jonah leads off the game with a walk, then a stolen base, a wild pitch, and a ground ball that scores the first run of the game.  Jonah is once again the starting pitcher for 6 tool and gives up a rare walk to the 3rd batter who is promptly driven home on a long double by Zepps clean-up hitter.  Lilly Rechlitz walks to start in the top of the 2nd, steals 2nd base, moves to 3rd on and error, and scores on Aidan Vosniak’s grounder to shortstop.  After Jonah retires the side in order in the bottom of the 2nd with 2 K’s and a ground ball – 6 tool scores another run.  Deacon Gray leads off with a walk, moves to 2nd base on Blake Kogelman’s single, moves to 3rd on Owen Beringer’s hot smash that the shortstop knocks down, and then scores on a ground out by Adam Wiencek – 3-1.  Jonah retires the side in order again – this time on 3 ground ball outs – one to Deacon at 3rd, another to Dalton at 2nd, and the last to Patrick at shortstop.  6 tool scores again in the 4th innings.  Lilly leads off with a walk, moves to 2nd on another ground out to the right side of the infield, and scores on a clutch base hit between 2nd and 1st by Cooper Brackett.  Jonah finishes the bottom of the 4th by striking out the last 2 batters in the inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd – 4-1 after four.  The 5th inning saw both teams throw a runner out at the plate.  Lilly Rechlitz came in relief throwing strikes and the defense backed her up with a couple of nice plays.  6 tool scored their 5th run in the game in the 6th inning with a lead off single by Blake.  He moved to 2nd on a walk to Owen, and scored when Anthony Sardina lined a single up the middle.  Zepps scored a run in the 6th to make it 5-2.  After 6 tool went 3 up / 3 down in the top of the 7th – Lilly retired the last 3 batters after a lead off single.  It was poetic justice that she retired the last batter on a grounder back to the mound.  Final score 5-2 – 6 tool baseball – 12U Premier South Champions – Unbelievable.  This time, besides the Zepp parents, the 6 tool baseball school parents are in shock.

Now, it is state championship time.  The 6 tool baseball team has its work cut out for them.  They face probably one of the best 12U teams in the state – the Delafield Titans.  All the Titans have done is go 15-0 during league play averaging 10 runs per game while giving up 2.67 runs.  Then, winning three playoff games, 14-1, 7-6, and 13-2, to take the 12U Premier North Championship.  The 6 tool coaches are just happy to be able to play in this game telling the kids to simply have some fun.  But, the game begins, and you can tell that the 6 tool baseball team means business.  Jonah Roloff leads the game off with a walk.  Blake Kogelman grounds out to the 2nd baseman on a hit and run and Jonah hustles all the way to 3rd base – game on!  Owen Beringer rips a double over the CF’s head – 6 tool 1-0.    Bottom of the 1st.  After Jonah retires the first 2 batters – the next batter rips a home run to right field as the ball takes a crazy bounce over the outfielder’s head.  The Titans score an unearned run in the bottom of the 2nd – score is 2-1.  Jonah leads off the top of the 3rd inning with a line drive single to left center.  After a ground out – Owen rips a hard shot past the 3rd baseman and Jonah scores.  After a couple of walks and a couple of errors by the Titans – the score is 4-2.  Jonah gives up a couple of hits with an error tossed in and the score is 4-3 after 3 innings.  Back comes the 6 tool team with a vengeance.  Dalton leads off the inning with a single to right field.  After a ground out, Deacon Gray hits a double over the left fielder’s head to score Dalton.  Patrick Beidatsch singles to center to score Deacon.  After an error by the left fielder on a fly ball – Adam Wiencek rips a line drive ito drive n a run.  Finally, after a walk and an error – Brady Wawrzyniakowski puts the finishing touch to the 6-run rally by hitting a single down the 1st base line – score is now 10-3.  Wow – is this really happening?  Jonah is back on the hill for his 4th inning.  After a double and a single to score run – he picks the runner off of 1st.  After a walk and 2 stolen bases – Jonah picks the runner off of 3rd base – a well executed run down with Jonah making the throw to Patrick to tag out the runner – 10-4 after 4.  That would be the last that the 6 tool team would score.  The Titans ace pitcher came in and struck out 8 of 11 batters.  Lilly Rechlitz throws 10 pitches in the bottom of the 5th – with a solo home run by their lead lead off batter.  In the 6th inning – the first two batters reach base safely.  But, Jonah, now catching, throws out a runner attempting to steal 3rd base for the 1st out – and the next two batters pop out and foul out.  In the 7th inning, the first two batters reach base safely again.  But, on a wild pitch that scores the runner from 3rd – Jonah throws out the runner from the backstop trying to go from first to third on the wild pitch with Deacon Gray making a great tag.  The last two batters made easy outs – a pop up to 2nd baseman Dalton Reck and a fly out to right fielder Aiden Vosniak.  Final score 10-6 – 6 Tool Baseball School– State Champions!  Congratulations to David Roloff and Reggie Reck for a coaching job well done!