After nine consecutive losing seasons in the Greater Metro, the Wauwatosa East baseball team broke even.
By routing West Allis Central on June 29, the Red Raiders finished at .500 in regular-season league play for the first time since 2006 when they went 12-9.
Wauwatosa East tied for sixth place with Brookfield East at 9-9. The Red Raiders earned the sixth seed for the Greater Metro Conference tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Spartans.
In a game that began June 27 and finished June 28, Wauwatosa East rallied late to force extra innings before falling, 5-4, to Franklin in nine innings.
The Sabers took a 4-2 lead with runs in the fourth and fifth. Facing University of Memphis commit Takoda Metoxen, the Red Raiders plated a pair in the sixth to tie the game.
Sam Rutkiewicz and Spencer Michaelis each doubled in the inning, while a two-out single from Blake Kratzer pulled Wauwatosa East to even. The game was suspended due to darkness, tied 4-4 in the eighth inning.
Jeff Mason held the Sabers down for three innings before Franklin plated the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Aaron Plaisted started for Wauwatosa East, walking five and striking out two over five innings.
'I was very proud of the way our kids played,' Red Raiders coach Pete Schwichtenberg said. 'Nothing went their way, and they overcame and stayed in the game.'
Michaelis finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, while Sean Denny added a pair of hits. Franklin managed just five hits off Plaisted and Mason, but the Red Raiders committed five errors.
After completing its game with Franklin, Wauwatosa East played its regularly scheduled contest with Menomonee Falls at Breitlow Field.
A three-run fifth inning did the Red Raiders in, as Menomonee Falls held on for a 4-2 win.
'Coming off an extra inning loss just hours earlier, our team did everything they could to stay in the game,' Schwichtenberg said. 'This game was just a great baseball game on both sides; if a few breaks went our way, the score would have been a different story.'
Trailing, 1-0, Wauwatosa East scored twice in the fourth to grab the lead. Menomonee Falls answered back with three in the fifth. Menomonee Falls starter Nick Gile then held the Red Raiders down over the final three innings to earn the victory.
Rutkiewicz went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Mason went 2-for-2 with two doubles.
Michaelis went the distance on the mound for Wauwatosa East, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
West Allis Central
The Red Raiders closed out the Greater Metro regular season with a 21-2 five-inning rout of West Allis Central at Kapco Park on June 29.
Already leading 4-1, Wauwatosa East plated 10 runs in the second inning to break things open. The Red Raiders added four more in the third and three in the fifth.
Wauwatosa East had 17 hits, including three Michaelis, who also drove in six runs. Sean Denny went 3-for-3 with four runs scored, Kratzer drove in three runs and Brian Denny went 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
'We have been swinging the bats well for a long time, and it showed (against Central),' Schwichtenberg said. 'It was an overall team effort again where everyone got a chance to get swings and contribute. It was a great experience for the kids to get a taste of Kapco Park.'
Four different Red Raiders combined to cover the five innings on the mound, with Dan Scallon and Mike Lockhart pitching for the first time this season.
Wauwatosa East scored five times in the first inning and didn't look back in a 7-2 nonconference victory over Nicolet on July 1 that moved it to 13-13 on the season.
Sean Denny struck out three over five innings and went 2-for-4 at the plate. Isaac Martin pitched the final two innings in relief.
'Heading into a break, it was big for us to jump out right away, and we did that with our five-run first,' Schwichtenberg said. 'Sean Denny did a great job pitching with the lead and filling up the strike zone.'
Brian Denny went 3-for-3 with two doubles, Scallon drove in a pair and Michaelis collected a pair of hits.
Wauwatosa East was scheduled to play at Menomonee Falls on July 5 in the quarterfinals of the Greater Metro Conference tournament. The tournament continued July 6-7. The Red Raiders will wrap up their regular season at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 9, against Greenfield.