Hale baseball team downs Central to pull out GMC tournament victory
Huskies finish 1-2 in conference event
After a pair of tough defeats, the West Allis Hale baseball team finally broke through at last week's Greater Metro Conference Tournament with a 9-6 triumph over West Allis Central.
Alex Elliott went 3-for-4 and drove in a run, while Joe Jo Breznik worked 5 2/3 innings, striking out three, to gain the victory in the July 10 contest.
The Huskies built a 9-0 lead early and held off a Central rally which saw the tying run come to the plate in the seventh inning.
Rivals met again
That gave Hale two victories in three tries against its city rival this season, and the two teams met again on July 15 in a WIAA regional contest.
The winner plays Oak Creek at Abendschein Park at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18, for the regional title.
The regional champion then plays at Greendale at 3 p.m. on Monday, July 21, in a sectional semifinal contest. The sectional championship is at 7 p.m. that day at Greendale.
Hale dropped its earlier two GMC tournament games, falling to Brookfield East 5-2 on July 9 and 1-0 to Menomonee Falls on July 8.
In the Brookfield East contest, Mials McMurray went 3-for-3, including a double, and stole two bases, but Hale still lost.
Against Falls one day earlier, McMurray lost a pitcher's duel with Indian ace Ty Weber.
McMurray allowed five hits in seven innings while striking out five, but Weber bettered that with a three-hitter and 10 strikeouts.
McMurray got out of a couple of mini-jams, including one in the fourth, when the Indians picked up a pair of two-out singles, but then a groundout to short got him out of trouble.
Battle of aces
Hale head coach Paul Dooley knew as good as his man was, he was slightly overmatched on the hill with Weber on the other side.
"Mials has had a great year," Dooley said. "But he's drawn the tough assignment every time. Falls twice, Brookfield Central, Oak Creek, Marquette. He's only 2-5 on the year but his ERA is under 3.00. With him on the mound, we're confident we can win every time."
Against Weber (7-0), though, the equation changes a bit.
"The thing is, Mials doesn't throw as hard as Weber (McMurray comes in at about 78 miles an hour with his fastball)," added Dooley. "Ty can come in at around 84 and he has that great curve which makes it really, really hard for everybody."
That led Dooley to take some chances.
"The first three, four innings we had guys on base," he said. "We even tried a squeeze in the fourth, which I never do. We couldn't get the bunt down and our guy was out at the plate."
Falls head coach Pat Hansen appreciated the efforts of both McMurray and Weber.
"Basically, it was one of those games where there weren't a whole lot of hard-hit balls," said Hansen. "We didn't hit and they didn't hit. They committed just one error but we took advantage of it and that was the ballgame."
That error, as luck would have it, came in the bottom of the seventh.
Error proves costly
Falls' Adam Vechart opened the seventh with a groundball to short, but the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag and he was safe. Josh Zahn followed that with a perfect sacrifice to get Vechart to second.
That brought up Derek Johnson, who hit a sharp line drive to left-center on the third pitch he saw. There was a throw home but it was late and Vechart slid in with the game-winner.
The Huskies dropped a 7-1 non-conference game to West Bend West on July 12 to finish the regular season at 12-18.
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