No. 12 Catholic Memorial, cold can't halt No. 4 Arrowhead's hot bats

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

WAUKESHA, Wis. – The two ranked teams met for the second time this week under much worse conditions than on Tuesday, when the No. 12-ranked Catholic Memorial earned a 9-7 victory over No. 4 Arrowhead in Hartland, Wis. On Thursday, the Crusaders and Warhawks combatted sub-40 degree temperatures, wind, and an icy, rainy mix.

But you wouldn’t really know it taking a look at the game’s final score. There were 19 runs scored – and actually, the game was called in the top of the seventh with four more Arrowhead runs on the board. So, really, the cold didn’t seem to affect either team’s bat rack.

The cold did, however, seem to affect the pitchers’ ability to grip and command the baseball and it didn’t help either team’s defense make the routine plays that might ordinarily secure.

The Warhawks came out of the gates determined to avenge Tuesday’s loss. Freshman catcher Charlie Jarvis grounded a ball through the shortstop and third base hole with one away to start things in the top of the first frame, and he quickly came around to score on a line-drive single to left off the bat of first baseman Tyler LaMack.

But the Crusaders picked up right where they left off on Tuesday, and took the lead seemingly out of nowhere after Alex Cyskiewicz lined a single through the infield into right and designated hitter Chris Byhre Jr. barreled up a fastball that carried all the way over a 20-foot fence at Infinity Fields, Byrhe’s opposite field. The two-run homer was a tremendous feat considering the temperatures and icy rain that had begun to impair playing conditions.

Catholic Memorial added another run in the second after Matt Schultz singled, stole second, was pushed to third on a wild pitch, and jogged home on a Nate Brown single to center.

From there, it looked like, given the conditions, it wouldn’t take much of a lead to secure a win. But 15 runs later, and that theory was emphatically proven false.

Arrowhead tied the game, 3-3, in the third after Nic Wohlfiel lined a sharply hit single to left and an RBI groundout plated the team’s third run. As Arrowhead’s tying run scored, it turned out to be the last time Catholic Memorial had a lead in the game. The Warhawks scored eight runs in the following two frames with the help of errors, passed balls, walks and, frankly, quality at-bats taken from head coach Nick Brengosz’s lineup, top to bottom.

Looking to build on a 6-4 lead in the fifth inning, shortstop Luke Schraufnagel grounded a two-strike single through the left side of the infield to plate another run, and it triggered a big rally from the Warhawks offense. A bases-loaded, RBI walk from lead-off man Joey Bartolone put Jarvis back in the batter’s box for the second consecutive inning with the bags loaded, and he delivered again, this time with a two-run single. He had roped a double to the opposite field gap in the previous inning that had also scored a pair. Arrowhead added a fifth run in the frame, taking an 11-4 lead all the way to the bottom of the sixth.

Meanwhile, after a bumpy start, battling the cold and west conditions, Arrowhead starter Carter Endisch had really begun to settle in. After allowing three runs in the first two frames, he didn’t allow an earned run in his final three and he wound up striking out seven and walking just two, allowing his offense to come back and take a commanding lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, however, that lead was threatened. The Warhawks nearly let the Crusaders back in the ballgame with the help of walks and errors on their own part. A bases-loaded walk and back-to-back errors that followed put Catholic Memorial down by just three runs, 11-8, heading into the top of the seventh.

Ultimately, Arrowhead pieced together another rally in the top of the seventh scoring three, threatening for more, when the two teams agreed to call the game there with temperatures continuing to drop. The decision to finalize the game mid-inning reverted the final score between the two teams to an 11-8 mark, in favor of the Warhawks, securing them their first win of 2019.

For Catholic Memorial, it’s just their first loss of the spring, after topping Milwaukee Lutheran and Arrowhead in their first two games of the season.

The Crusaders are back in action today against another ranked team, No. 15 Brookfield East, while the Warhawks also have a ranked meeting today, against No. 21 Westosha Central.