A valiant and courageous effort came up a little short on July 12 for the Brookfield East baseball team.
How short? Just two little runs.
Hosting No. 9 seeded Kettle Moraine in the WIAA regional opener, the No. 8 seeded Spartans battled back from an early 5-1 deficit, rallied to take a 7-6 lead after five innings but couldn't hang on, allowing the Lasers to score six runs in the top of the sixth, and eventually fell by a wild 12-10 score.
Unfortunately, the loss ended the East season wth a 13-17 record.
'This is kind of how our season went this year,' said East coach Nicholas Wycklendt after the game. 'We made some mistakes, got down, but found a way to battle back and get the lead. But in the end, we couldn't hang on and just gave it away. It's a tough way for our season to end. We just made too many mistakes.'
The Spartans had a big game at the plate, finishing with 15 hits. Senior Jake Smith led the way by collecting three for the night. He also had a pair of RBIs.
But Smith had plenty of help at the plate. Avery Barnes, Zach Breider, Quinn Hyndiuk and Cole Vento all chipped in with two hits apiece. Danny Butler added a pair of runs batted in for the Spartans.
Good Spartan rally
East struggled early in the game as KM scored once in the first, two in the second and two more in the third. After 21/2 innings, the Spartans trailed 5-1.
However, East finally got rolling in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
In the third, they made it a 5-3 score with a pair of runs. In that inning, Barnes, Smith and Hyndiuk all had base hits.
KM scored once in the fourth to go ahead 6-3, but East roared back by exploding for four runs in the fifth to stun the Lasers, taking a 7-6 lead.
In that rally, the Spartans had six of their 15 hits. TC Swittel, Vento and Smith opened the inning with consecutive hits. Breider, Butler and Barnes also hit safely, and suddenly East had the lead.
Unfortuately for the home team, Kettle Moraine (16-15) bounced back in a big way by scoring six times to take a 12-7 lead in the top of the sixth. Two infield errors by East aided that surge.
East rallied back one final time in the sixth when they scored three runs. Smith had the big hit in that rally, and a KM infield error also helped the Spartans.
But as things turned out, that was the last hurrah for East as KM reliever Jason Abatto faced just three hitters in the seventh to preserve the win.
Swittel started on the mound and gave way to Smith in the fourth. Smith ended up taking the loss.
'Our mistakes gave them too many baserunners and too many runs,' Wycklendt said. 'This is tough when it's your final game. I feel bad for these guys. I'm proud of every one of them.'