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The West Allis Nationals concluded their season Sunday night with a disappointing 12-2 loss in the Milwaukee County Minor League Championship game. In uncharacteristic fashion, the team gave the Cubs 7 unearned runs in the second inning and were never able to climb out of the hole. Despite rallies in each inning, the team failed to produce the timely hits that had been its trademark all year. 13 baserunners were stranded in the 7 inning affair. Though the score was lopsided it was somewhat misleading. Alex Franson effectively controlled the Cubs' offense for 5 innings mixing a slurve, change, and fastball. Had the team not committed two costly errors in the 7 run second, Franson would have been in position for the victory in his first start on the hill in a Nationals uniform. On offense, James Herkowski led the team with two hits. Jake Koutnik added a double and scored on a Joe Reisinger single in the second. After the tally the team was held scoreless until Chris Marks hit a solo homer in the seventh. The homer was Marks' third of the playoffs and sixth of the season. The Nationals completed their 27th season with a 20-10 mark, the team's third consecutive 20 victory season.
Milwaukee County Semifinals SATURDAY NIGHT AUGUST 10 Joey's Mob Scene/Milwaukee Angels 3,6 WEST ALLIS NATIONALS 4,16 Cubs 10,10 King Pins 15,3 SUNDAY NIGHT AUGUST 11 Cubs 18 vs King Pins 7 Milwaukee County Championship SATURDAY NIGHT AUGUST 17 WEST ALLIS NATIONALS 3 Cubs 9 Cubs 4 WEST ALLIS NATIONALS 8 SUNDAY NIGHT AUGUST 18 Cubs 12 WEST ALLIS NATIONALS 2
The Nationals and Cubs split the first two games of the Milwaukee County championship series on Saturday night. The Cubs took the opener 9-3, but the Nationals stormed back to take the nightcap by a score of 8-4. Though the Nationals managed 12 hits in game one, they failed to string them together. That fact, coupled with the opponents' solid defense, led to the opening game defeat. The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Mike Wajerski. True to form, the Cubs matched it with a tally in the bottom half of the inning. After an RBI single by James Herkowski scored Jake Paige in the third, the Cubs scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Reisinger's RBI in the fourth scored Jake Koutnik to tie the game until the Cubs took the lead back with two in the fifth. The game, though, was decided in the sixth inning. The Cubs put the game away with 4 runs on three hits, three walks, and an untimely throwing error. When the dust cleared, the Cubs had a commanding 9-3 lead. Nick Kibler picked the team up in game two, pitching a complete game, eight hitter. Kibler kept the Cubs off balance with a hard slider and tailing fastball, giving the offense a chance to redeem itself. Down 2-0 in the third, the Nationals scored three runs on 5 hits, chasing the Cubs starting pitcher from the game. After an RBI single from Alex Franson, the Nationals scored twice. With Franson at third and Herkowski at second after a double, the Cubs' starter unleashed a wild pitch. Franson scored followed by Herkowski, who alertly took the plate from second after the catcher's throw to the pitcher covering the plate got past him to the middle of the infield. The Nationals added two more in the fourth. Jake Koutnik led off the inning with a home run and Mike Wajerski scored from first after a stealing second and advancing two more bases on a throw into short center field. Chris Marks' two run homer in the fifth made the score 7-2 and the team was on its way to a series split and deciding third game. Tonight's championship game begins a 7PM at Zirkel Field.
The Nationals began a successful defense of their County Title Saturday night defeating a strong Milwaukee Angels squad by scores of 4-3 and 16-6. The Nationals jumped to a 2-0 lead in game one on a two-run homer by Chris Marks. Not to be outdone, the pesky Angels matched the score in the bottom of the first inning. With both pitchers settling in, further runs were more difficult to come by. Mike Wajerski created a run in the third after singling to left field. Wajerski enticed an errant pickoff throw to take second and stole third. Alex Franson's sacrifice fly then gave the Nats a 3-2 lead. Again, however, the Angels answered by adding a tally of their own to tie the score at 3. Chris Marks responded in the fourth. Marks hit a leadoff triple and scored on a wild pitch to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Jim Dettman made the best of his run support, gaining the victory. A seventh inning, two out rally was thwarted when Jake Paige fielded a ball deep in the hole at short and threw out a baserunner at third to end the game. Game two came a bit easier to the Nationals as the offense provided a 5-1 cushion after two innings. Jake Paige and Trevor Koepp each contributed four hits in the contest while Mike Wajerski added four runs and an important 3 run homer which gave the team an insurmountable 4-1 lead. Koepp finished the game with a team high 7 RBIs. The Nationals next face the winner of a Cubs/King Pins elimination game in the County Championship next Saturday night at Zirkel Field. Game one of the best-of-three series begins at 6PM.
With a playoff berth already clinched, most teams would have looked past a struggling Lifetime Financial squad. The Nationals, however, are unlike most teams. Demonstrating crisp defense and a methodical offense, the Nationals cruised past Lifetime Financial by scores of 11-1 and 10-0. Chris Marks started things off in game one with a first inning home run. The RBI's, Marks' 31st and 32nd of the season, temporarily gave him the team's season record. The short lived record, though, was broken by Trevor Koepp, who doubled home two runs in a 7 run fourth inning. Koepp secured the team RBI record in convincing style during the game two victory. Koepp knocked in 6 more runs with three hits, including a two run homer. Jim Dettman and Nick Kibler earned victories on the hill for the Nationals, limiting Lifetime Financial to a combined 5 hits. Please check out the team's final regular season stats for more details on the most potent offensive club in the franchise's 27 year history.