Sefcik’s sharp mound skills not enough

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Oconto Falls Panthers fall to Waupaca 3-1
By: 

Greg Bates, Times Herald Correspondent

Mason Sefcik was sharp on the mound, but the senior pitcher for Oconto Falls couldn’t do it alone.

Sefcik gave up just four hits in six innings of work against Waupaca, but the Panthers could only scratch out two hits in a 3-1 loss at home Monday afternoon.

“Both teams didn’t hit the best; it came down to small ball, and we finally executed that,” Waupaca coach Rocky Mondello said.

Oconto Falls coach Charlie Rochon knows it was tough for his team to waste a great outing from his ace pitcher. Sefcik was certainly on his game, striking out four while surrendering just one earned run.

“He mixes stuff up. He’s in, out, up, down. He mixes in a breaking ball,” Rochon said. “He does a lot of little things well.”

The defeat didn’t come without plenty of opportunities for Oconto Falls’ offense. The Panthers left six runners on base, three in scoring position.

Down two runs heading into the bottom of the seventh, Jacob Foster reached on a leadoff infield single, and Tyler Mielke singled to right to advance Foster to third. Oconto Falls tried to make some things happen on the base paths, but courtesy runner Justan Konitzer was gunned down at second trying to steal. Dylan Nelson followed with a one-out walk, and he was caught stealing. Mitchell Manns then struck out to end the game with Foster still on third.

“You try and get creative, and sometimes creative bites you in the rear end,” Rochon said.

Rochon knew his team was in prime position at first and third with nobody out, but it couldn’t plate a run.

“It’s really frustrating,” Rochon said. “We thought baserunning was going to be a strength, and baserunning is not a strength right now. We’re timid.”

Waupaca catcher Tyler Tischendorf came up big in a key spot for his team.

“Tisch throwing out those guys at the end, that had been a big problem going into Saturday,” Mondello said. “We had 10 attempts and 10 successful.”

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Oconto Falls (1-3, 0-2 North Eastern Conference) had Sefcik reach on an error, Manns singled and Kamdan Bloom walked to load the bases with two outs. However, Sam Virtues flied out to end the threat.

The game remained scoreless into the fifth inning when Waupaca (6-3, 2-2 conference) got on the board. A leadoff single and a throwing error by Oconto Falls gave the Comets two runners on and nobody out. After a groundout advanced the runners into scoring positions, Alex Ronaldson stroked a single to plate both runners.

“We opened the door with a simple throw from second to first,” Rochon said. “Those things just open the door. We’ve got to cut down on those. We don’t have to make the super play; we have to make the routine plays. The routine plays are what are costing us right now.”

In the bottom of the inning, Nelson worked a one-out walk. He got over to third after a groundout and wild pitch and scored on an errant pickoff attempt to first base. Bryce Peterson was stranded at first base as Oconto Falls cut its deficit to 2-1.

Waupaca got its run back the next half inning as the leadoff hitter reached on an error and eventually came around to score.

“We scored a run, and man they came back the next inning and got one, and that’s what good teams do,” Rochon said. “We have to develop that where, all right, now we got back and tie this thing up and just go inning by inning.”

Mielke pitched the seventh inning for Oconto Falls and worked around a leadoff single.

Waupaca got a great outing from starting pitcher Jake Pankratz. The senior went six innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four.

Oconto Falls has a busy week on the diamond. After hosting Freedom on Tuesday, the Panthers host Shawano on Thursday and welcome Clintonville to town for a doubleheader on Saturday.

BASEBALL

Gillett/Suring 14

Florence 14

The Gillett/Suring baseball matchup against Florence was called after seven innings with the score tied at 14-14 on Thursday night.

Individual statistics were not available at the time of press.

SOFTBALL

Gillett/Suring trounces Oneida Nation

The Gillett/Suring softball team opened its season with a convicning 17-1 win in four innings over Oneida Nation in a Marinette & Oconto Conference matchup.

The co-op scored at least four runs in each inning and finished with 17 hits in the contest.

Emily Umentum drove in four runs on three hits to lead Gillett/Suring at the plate. Jada Vandevelde added three RBI while Angel Griffin scored four runs.

Sydney Young picked up the win in the circle after surrendering just five hits in a complete game effort. Young struck out six batters and walked none.