New Franklin falls to No. 1 Salisbury in district semis, 7-5
New Franklin baseball coach Erich Gerding called it “deja vu” when referring to the Bulldogs’ defense Monday night in the semifinal round of the Class 2 District 12 Tournament at Battle High School in Columbia.
With the winner advancing to the championship game on Thursday, the Bulldogs felt like they had the team to get the job done against top-seeded Salisbury. Unfortunately for New Franklin, a five-run first inning all but ruined the Bulldogs hopes of moving on in a 7-5 loss.
In first semifinal game on Monday, Harrisburg knocked off No. 2 Westran 5-2.
New Franklin closed out the season at 13-6 overall.
“Feels like this is deja vu,” Gerding said. “Our first defensive inning was our achilles heel once again. I like the way we battled back and gave ourselves a chance, but we dug too big of a hole for ourselves. I am still proud of this group and especially proud of our lone senior, Tysen Dowell, whose leadership and performance this year was exemplary. I could not have asked and gotten for anything better from him all four years of his career. He did everything we asked of him when we asked and he did it very well. I hope my own son can be as good of a teammate as Tysen was. I think the team we have coming back has a chance to be really good, but we have to be better in a lot of areas.”
One in particular is on the defensive side. While the Bulldogs wound up out-hitting Salisbury 8-6, they also had six errors in the game compared to three for the Panthers.
Three of those six errors came in the first inning as Salisbury exploded for five runs on three hits and one hit batter.
But even then new Franklin kept the game interesting. Although the Bulldogs failed to score in the first-two innings, they more than made up for it in the third and fourth frames by pushing across a total of four runs to cut the lead to 5-4. New Franklin plated two runs on three walks and two errors in the third, and two runs on one hit, one walk and one hit batter in the fourth.
Salisbury got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the fourth on a RBI-triple to center by Wekenborg, and then added one in the fifth on two hits and one error to go up 7-4.
Meanwhile, in the sixth, New Franklin rattled the bats again with one run on a RBI-single to left by Tanner Bishop to make it 7-5.
The Bulldogs had a chance in its half of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs but ended the game on a ground out back to the pitcher.
Wekenborg picked up the win for Salisbury, while Clayton Wilmsmeyer took the loss for New Franklin. Wekenborg pitched five innings and gave up four runs on five hits and five walks while striking out four. Hamilton then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed one run on three hits and one walk.
For New Franklin, Wilmsmeyer pitched 1 1/3 innings and issued five runs on two hits. Caleb Hull then came in and pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief and yielded one run on two hits and four walks while striking out one. Then, to finish the game, Bishop pitched one inning and surrendered one run on two hits and one walk while striking out one batter.
Sturm had two hits in the game for Salisbury. Wekenborg finished the game with one triple and one RBI, while Jackson added one single and two RBIs, Sellers and Graskewicz each with one single and West with one RBI.
For New Franklin, Tysen Dowell closed out his career with a two hit night with two singles and two RBIs. Clayton Wilmsmeyer also had two hits, both being singles, while Bishop added one single and one RBI, and Jake Marshall, Keaton Eads and Sam Marshall each with one single.