Powers lifts Parker baseball past West to notch regional upset
VERONA Despite being outscored 49-10 during a four-game stretch less than two weeks ago, Janesville Parker head coach Brian Martin saw his team start to pitch better, swing the bat with more authority and play better team defense with the playoffs approaching.
While the Vikings may have been doing all of those things as a team late in the regular season, junior Collin Powers did those three things by himself Thursday night.
After a regular season filled with close losses and frustrations, Parker's pitcher was superlative against top-seeded Madison West, scattering four hits in six innings and knocking in three RBI in the Vikings' 6-2 upset victory in a WIAA Division 1 regional final.
The game was called in the bottom of the seventh inning due to a thunderstorm.
"I felt I was dialed in more," said Powers, who faced multiple baserunners in only two innings. "I felt like I had a different edge. My pitches were all on for the most part. I was able to hit all the corners, get strikes and the guys were making plays behind me."
Parker (8-17) will face No. 4-seeded Stoughton at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Beloit Memorial sectional at Pohlman Field. If Parker gets what Powers gave them against the Regents, the Vikings will continue to be a tough out.
Martin was only hoping to get four innings out of his pitcher, but Powers struck out four of the first five batters he faced, fanned six overall and retired eight of West's first nine batters. It allowed Parker to build a 3-0 lead that never felt threatened.
That, according to Martin, was a blessing, considering his squad was 3-7 in one-run games this season, with two of those losses coming to West.
"When it comes playoff time, teams that are hot have a chance to go, and we're hot right now," Martin said. "Hopefully we can keep it going. (Powers' pitching) was way beyond expectations. It was huge giving us those innings."
When he wasn't frustrating the Regents (13-7) with his pitching, Powers was giving himself insurance runs. He had a RBI single in Parker's two-run first inning and knocked in two key insurance runs with a booming two-out double that traveled approximately 365 feet in the fifth.
"It put less pressure on me," Powers said. "It allowed me to relax and the guys to relax."
PARKER 6, MADISON WEST 2 (6)
Parker (ab-r-h-rbi)—Bailey, ss, 4-1-1-0; Coulter, lf, 3-1-1-0; Osmond, rf, 3-2-1-0; Powers, p, 4-0-2-3; Brooks, cf, 4-0-0-1; Theisen, c, 2-1-1-0; Benway, dh, 2-0-0-0; Gruenwald, 2b, 0-0-0-0; Pingel, 3b, 3-0-1-1; Greene, 1b, 0-1-0-0; Burkheimer, ph, 1-0-0-0; Getka, ph, 1-0-0-0; Van Zandt, 1b, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 27-6-7-5.
Madison West (ab-r-h-rbi)—James, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Westring, ss, 3-0-1-1; Brown, cf, 3-0-1-0; McNamara, c, 3-0-2-0; Ohm, 1b, 2-1-0-0; Rosenblum-Larson, p, 3-0-1-1; Trier, p, 0-0-0-0; Cates, 2b, 3-0-0-0; Wildick, dh, 2-0-0-0; Kratchman, lf, 2-0-1-0. Totals: 24-2-7-2.
Parker 201 021—6
Madison West 001 001—2
Errors—Parker 1, West 1. LOB—Parker 5, West 5. SAC—Benway. SB—Osmond 2, Theisen, James, Kratchman. 2B—Westring, Coulter, Powers, Pingel.