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home : sports : sports   May 24, 2016

8/7/2013 10:57:00 AM
Central Region: Peru falls short of semifinals

Peru’s G.W. Leynaud beats the throw at first base during Peru’s 6-5 loss to Wisconsin in Tuesday’s Central Region Tournament game at Dickinson Field in Oglesby.NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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Peru’s G.W. Leynaud beats the throw at first base during Peru’s 6-5 loss to Wisconsin in Tuesday’s Central Region Tournament game at Dickinson Field in Oglesby.
NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
Peru starting pitcher Erik Milaicki throws a pitch against Wisconsin on Tuesday.  NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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Peru starting pitcher Erik Milaicki throws a pitch against Wisconsin on Tuesday. 
NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
Chris Yucus
NewsTribune Photographer

Peru Senior League All-Star manager Ross Weber feels his squad and the Wisconsin representatives of West Madison are so evenly matched that the two teams would split a 10-game series.

Unfortunately for Weber and the District 20 champions from Peru, they came up one run short in their one and only crack at Wisconsin with a 6-5 loss Tuesday at the Senior League Central Region Tournament in Oglesby.

Peru bows out of the tournament with a 2-2 record with the defeat.

Wisconsin will face Michigan — 15-5 winners over North Dakota on Tuesday — at 4 p.m. today at Peru’s Washington Park, while Ohio and Illinois — which topped Iowa 15-6 on Tuesday — will square off at 4 p.m. in Oglesby in the four-team championship bracket today.

All four squads finished pool play with a 3-1 mark.

The title game is set for 8 p.m. in Peru.

“Whichever team had hits fall was going to win,” Weber said of Tuesday’s game. “They’re good defensively and we played good defensively. Whoever got the lucky bounces with the balls not hit right at people was going to win this game. They’re a good team.

“If we played them 10 times, I’m sure we’d win five and they’d win five because we’re evenly matched.”

Peru drew first blood when starting pitcher Erik Milaicki donated to his own charity with a sacrifice fly to centerfield that allowed leadoff hitter Ben Bejster to blaze in from third base.

The ensuing throw home was well off target, allowing No. 2 hitter Elliot Lewis — who reached on a single to left — to follow Bejster in for an early 2-0 lead.

Jack Swenson had the answer for Wisconsin in the home half of the second when he swung and connected on a two-RBI single to left that knotted things up at 2-2.

Wisconsin took the advantage for good with a four-run fourth with all of the damage coming with two outs.

Rock Cates provided the highlight with a two-RBI double to left.

Teddy Endres also registered an RBI double to left, while Paul Koebke-Barsic added an RBI single as Wisconsin took a 6-3 lead.

Undeterred, Peru — which briefly led 3-2 in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout from Austin Mueller — chipped away at the advantage.

An outfield error allowed Bejster to score in the top of the fifth, and later in the inning — after Ross Weber survived a sloppy run-down sequence between third and second — G.W. Leynaud connected on an RBI single to drive in Weber and bring Peru within one run at 6-5.

Minutes later, the Peru defense sparkled in the bottom half of the inning as Matt Sczepaniak made an inning-ending double play with a diving catch in right field and throw in to the infield, which was caught and relayed to first to catch Swenson trying to scramble back to the bag.

Peru then threatened in the seventh with the go-ahead run at first, but could not muster up the offense necessary for a comeback as Leynaud flew out to left to end the contest.

Riley Karns earned the win on the mound for Wisconsin, going 5 2/3 innings before reaching his 95-pitch limit. He allowed five runs off five hits with four strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter.

Cates picked up the save in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Milaicki was charged the loss for Peru. He surrendered six runs off eight hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts. Weber worked two innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts.

Cates led the Wisconsin offense with a 2-for-3 that included two runs and two RBIs. Swenson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Leynaud finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two RBIs. Bejster also finished with multiple hits as he went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

“We played hard. We had the one bad inning and that was about it. We played well, hit the ball well and played good defense. We made some really exciting plays,” manger Ross Weber said.

“I’m proud of them. We’ve been doing this for 10 years,” added Weber, his voice cracking up.

Notes: Sczepaniak wasn’t the only Peru defender to flash some serious leather in the contest. Centerfielder Ben Bejster showed off his glove skills as well on a nice sliding catch that ended the third inning. … NewsTribune Sports Editor Kevin Chlum opened up the day’s play in Oglesby with the ceremonial toss of the first pitch. States Attorney Brian Towne followed up with the first pitch in the nightcap.

Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6939, or at Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.

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