It had been quite some time since the Wauwatosa East baseball team last celebrated a WIAA playoff victory. The fact the Red Raiders' first postseason win since 2007 came over their crosstown rivals made it even sweeter.
A complete-game gem by Spencer Michaelis led sixth-seeded Wauwatosa East to a 3-1 win over 11th-seeded Wauwatosa West in a regional semifinal game July 12 at Breitlow Field.
'With the crosstown matchup, we know that we were in for a battle,' Red Raider coach Pete Schwichtenberg said. 'That is exactly what we got.'
Wauwatosa West strikes first
The Trojans took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Logan Scharf that scored Jake Hronek in the top of the second.
Wauwatosa East put two on with nobody out in the bottom of the second on a walk by Aaron Plaisted and a single by Ricky Serrano.
Trojans starter Will Jushka worked out of the jam by getting Sean Murphy to pop out to second and Blake Kratzer to fly out into a double play.
Red Raiders break through
Jushka held the Red Raiders off the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth. Sean Denny led off with an infield single and moved to third on a double to center by Dan Scallon.
Jacob Greenberg then took over on the mound for the Trojans and plunked Michaelis with a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. After a strikeout, Plaisted tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right. Scallon and Michaelis then executed a double steal from first and third that allowed the Red Raiders to take a 2-1 lead.
'Dan Scallon's double in the fifth really helped to swing the momentum in our favor,' Schwichtenberg said.
An error allowed Wauwatosa West to put the tying run on in the top of the sixth, but Michaelis got Jake Hronek to hit into a double play to end the inning.
Blake Kratzer reached on a one-out infield single in the bottom of the sixth and moved to second on a throwing error by Greenberg on a pickoff attempt. An error by Trojan right fielder Sam Bauer on a ball hit by Sam Rutkiewicz allowed Kratzer to score. Rutkiewicz was out at home on the play, but the Red Raiders led, 3-1.
'Our add-on run in the sixth was huge for our confidence,' Schwichtenberg said.
Michaelis retired the first two he faced in the seventh before LeRoy Coleman singled to center to keep the Trojans alive. The Red Raiders' senior right-hander quickly stopped any chance of a rally by getting Bauer to pop out to end the game.
'I thought it pretty much summed up how our team played all season,' Wauwatosa West coach Jason Borski said. 'We got good pitching out of both Will and Jake. We really had to fight for the only run we got and didn't give ourselves many opportunities after that to score.
'Our defense was solid most of the game but had one bad inning.'
Michaelis allowed just one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts, needing just 72 pitches to throw a complete game.
'We could not have asked for more from Spencer on the mound,' Schwichtenberg said. 'He worked quick and was able to keep their bats in check for much of the night.'
The loss ended Wauwatosa West's season at 9-21, while Wauwatosa East improved to 16-15 and advanced to face third-seeded Waukesha North in a regional final July 15.
'Overall, it was a tough season,' Borski said. 'I think everyone involved would say we would have liked to done better. I would also say that Tosa East hung around with good defense and great pitching. The difference was the chances they gave themselves offensively.'