It's almost an entirely new look for the Brown Deer baseball team this season after its WIAA state tournament semifinal run of last season as coach Mike Donahue's bunch has only two players back at their original positions from 2008.
"We lost a ton," he said. "The only two guys we have back at their positions are David (Kuczynski) in center and Danny (Korpela) in right. The rest are young and talented, and they have been hitting the ball. That's the most encouraging thing."
The Falcons started the week at 6-7, when they lost to Woodland rival New Berlin West, 10-2, on June 16, and then defeated Greenfield, 14-3, in another league game.
Donahue is starting three sophomores (Chris Smith in leftfield, Brett Youngbeck at shortstop and Brian Michalica in rotation at second base) and one freshman (Kyle Okray at first base) in his youthful lineup, and he is running six pitchers in the rotation, with Okray looking the best so far.
Other starters include junior catcher Joey Mattefs, and junior Scott Luedtke and senior Doug Kozak in rotation at second base.
He said most of the teams in the northern division of the Woodland Conference are in a similar situation to his own squad.
"The conference was very old last year and now it's almost all very young," he said, "but our kids are great. It's a good group to be around."
In the five-inning road win over Greenfield on June 18, the Falcons scored in every inning as Okray (four strikeouts and three walks) got the win. Luedtke (four RBI), Michalica and Kuczynski all had two hits while Youngbeck had three hits and three RBI.
Mateefs and Michalica had two hits apiece against West as the Falcons fell behind 9-0.
The tail end of the week will be hectic for the Falcons, as they host St. Thomas More at 7 p.m. today and then on Friday they visit Pewaukee in a regularly scheduled 5 p.m. tilt and then come back home for the conclusion of a June 19 suspended game with Wauwatosa West at 8 p.m.
On Tuesday they host Shorewood in a 5 p.m. doubleheader.
Whitefish Bay baseball
Still looking for that consistency the veteran lineup should provide, the Blue Dukes fell to 9-6 overall and 4-5 in the North Shore with a 3-0 loss to host North Shore rival West Bend West (6-3, 13-3) Monday night.
That loss was close on the heels of a heartbreaking 3-2 league decision to Homestead on June 18.
"There's only been one game where we've really been out of it all season," Blue Dukes coach Jay Wojcinski said. "It's just a matter of not getting it done at this point."
The Blue Dukes, who also beat Slinger, 9-8, on June 16, are hoping for a change of venue to help ease their minds, as they'll drive up to Minnesota on Friday and then take part in a doubleheader on Saturday at the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Twins.
Bay will not have Major League draftees Kevin James and Charlie Markson for the event as they will be part of the East squad in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Oshkosh Friday and Saturday.
In the loss to West, two Spartan pitchers combined to limit Bay to just three hits, while they hit the Blue Dukes with two runs in the first. Charlie Knipper went the distance for Bay with four strikeouts and a walk.
Against Homestead, the Highlanders got only four hits against James and Markson, but scratched out an unearned run in the top of the seventh to make it 3-1. Bay made it 3-2 and had runners on second and third with two out but a ground out to third ended the contest.
Michael Burns got the win in relief and James the save in the victory over Slinger. Bay rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead as James had three hits, including a home run and three RBI, while Markson (two RBI) and Jeff Kerr both had two hits apiece.
Before the trip to Minnesota, the Blue Dukes will host Cedarburg at 5:30 p.m. today and after they get back, they host Grafton at the same time on Monday.
Playing competitively, the Greyhounds still dropped three decisions at the end of last week.
They lost a heartbreaking 6-5 Woodland test to visiting St. Thomas More on June 18, and then lost another league tilt, 6-1, to traveling Pewaukee on Friday, and then were overwhelmed by North Shore power Cedarburg 11-0, Saturday morning.
In the five-inning loss to Cedarburg, the Bulldogs (13-4) limited the Greyhounds (2-14) to just two hits. A seven-run fourth did in Shorewood.
Against Pewaukee (10-7), a four-run first proved to be too much to overcome. Relief pitcher Dylan Knutson knocked in the only run for the Greyhounds as Josh Rathkamp took the loss.
In the defeat to More, the Greyhounds got three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead, but then watched as the Cavaliers scored solo runs in the top of the sixth and the seventh, respectively, to pull out the win.
Malachi Krishok (two strikeouts), took the loss for the Greyhounds and also had two hits, including a triple and two RBI. Pat Sellars contributed three hits.
The Greyhounds will be at Whitnall today and then host New Berlin West on Friday in a pair of 5 p.m. Woodland tilts.
Homestead boys track
Back on top of the league officially for the first time since 2000, the North Shore Conference triple crown champion Highlanders enjoyed a banner 2009.
The Highlanders, who tied for ninth in the WIAA State Meet on June 6, displayed depth in almost all running events and were almost unstoppable in the field events.
They also won the Tosa West Benson Invitational, the Whitefish Bay Wangerin Invite, their own Field Event Festival and the WIAA regional.
"It was easily one of our best years in many," head coach Dan Benson said.
A major reason for improvement this season, Benson said, was the addition of state championship-winning coach Todd Brawner (formerly of Germantown) to the coaching staff to work with the long sprinters and relays and Bill Richards to the weights.
Benson and the rest of the staff will bid adieu' to a solid senior class, including state place-winning discus thrower Teiko Amuzu, state-level triple jumper Darius Feaster, conference 100-meter champ Ian Thompson, top distance runner Joe Urbashich, high jumper Chris Choren, relay runners Avery Walker and Bobby Ollman and Jeff Gitter.
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