By Dan Truttschel Sports Correspondent

There were times the past week the Westosha Central baseball team fired on all cylinders in its Southern Lakes Conference contests with Union Grove.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, those times weren’t often enough – and the end result was a disappointing two-game sweep.

Union Grove scored seven runs between the second and third innings April 24 en route to a 10-3 win, followed by a hard-fought 4-3 victory two days later.

The two losses dropped the Falcons to 2-3 in the SLC and 2-6 overall heading into the first of two games this week with Wilmot. Central hosted the Panthers Tuesday, followed by a road game at Wilmot Thursday.

“(We were) inconsistent in the first game, (with) too many walks again and not enough from the bottom of the order,” Central coach Randy Appleby said.

“The second, we played better (and) got a good pitching performance from Luke Podella and Brooks Gahart. We outhit them 8-4, but had errors at bad times and couldn’t push across the tying and winning runs.”

In the second game, the Falcons led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning before the Broncos scored twice to knot the score. After Union Grove took a 4-2 lead, the Falcons responded with two runs in the fifth inning, but the Broncos scored the winning run in the bottom of the frame and held on for the victory.

Appleby took the blame for the loss, as he said he called for a suicide squeeze bunt at the wrong time, which ultimately cost his team.

“We had them on the ropes and should have won that game,” Appleby said.

Sam Shelton led the offense with a solo home run and an RBI. Podella suffered the loss, as he pitched four innings, and allowed seven walks and struck out one. Gahart worked the final two innings, allowed two walks and struck out one.

After the third inning of the opening game, the Broncos never were seriously challenged, as they cruised to the seven-run victory.

Shelton had a team-high three hits for the Falcons. Dalton Sjong took the loss, as he worked five innings, and allowed six walks and struck out two. James Gorsline walked four and struck out two in two innings on the mound.

“(Walks) and not getting into an offensive rhythm (were the difference),” Appleby said.

Appleby said he shouldn’t have too many difficulties getting his team excited to play this week with the back-to-back contests against rival Wilmot.

At least that’s his hope.

“(We have) nothing to lose,” Appleby said. “(We need to) go out and play like we can. I believe we haven’t reached our potential.

“It’s Wilmot. Who wouldn’t be up for playing Wilmot? And realistically, we control our destiny. Every team ahead of us in the conference we still play.”

 
 

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