Oconomowoc junior Bradyn Nelson drives a pitch to the opposite field during a Classic 8 Conference baseball game Friday at Waukesha West.

OCONOMOWOC — Catholic Memorial and Oconomowoc waged a seesaw battle Monday during their Classic 8 Conference baseball game at Wisconsin Brewing Company Park.

When it ended, the Raccoons were on top.

Senior Benny Grider laced a one-out double to the left-center field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning to chase home junior Hayden Christman with the decisive run, lifting Oconomowoc to a 6-5 victory.

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"The game’s only over when 21 are recorded," Oconomowoc coach Vince Mancuso said. "They had 20. The toughest out in a tight ballgame is that last one. I’m proud of the way our kids hung in there and battled. they did what they needed to do."

Grider not only welcomed his opportunity to deliver in the clutch, but seized it.

"We played against the same pitcher the last time we played these guys, so I kind of knew what he had," Grider said. "I was just sitting on the fastball because he didn’t have his curveball working for him. My boy Hayden got on base ahead of me, and I was just trying to hit it really hard. I did that.

"That was actually the first walk-off of my life, so it felt really good. i’d wanted one for a long time. Once I barreled that one, I was feeling good."

Christman set the table for Grider with a one-out single after Oconomowoc scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to force the extra inning.

Sophomore Jackson Reno started that rally with a two-out single, then junior Bradyn Nelson walked before sophomore Marek Bolson delivered a two-run double.

The Crusaders took a 5-3 lead with four runs in the top of the seventh, getting an RBI double from senior JT Kelenic, a two-run single from junior Jeff Makinen and a run-scoring double from sophomore Cal Weber.

Ocon junior Anderson Hayes limited CMH to one run — unearned — on five hits while striking out eight over the first five innings.

"This one really feels good, especially coming off a game where I didn’t do as well," Hayes said. "It was nice to get ahead in the count.

"There are always times where something’s not going to work for you. I hung a couple of pitches and didn’t put them in the places where I wanted, but at the end of the day, I pitched to contact and made them swing."

Hayes appreciated the defensive backing he received.

"This was definitely one of the strongest defensive games we’ve had," he said. "It’s a great feeling knowing the guys have my back. Guys are going to hit it, but they’re going to get it."

Junior Alex Bryan and Nelson came on in relief. Nelson fanned two of the four batters he faced in the eighth to earn the win, which lifted the Raccoons to 12-11 overall and 7-8 in the Classic 8.

Grider and his teammates celebrated the comeback victory enthusiastically.

"We had the early lead, but we lost it in the top of the seventh and we were down two runs," Grider said. "Marek Bolson had a nice double to tie the game. You just have to play until that 21st out and stay through it.

"Anderson’s always such a solid pitcher. He had a little bit of a hiccup his last time out, but he did a real good job today and kept us in the game."

Hayes enjoyed the winning rally, too.

"It felt great knowing that I did my job and that the other guys are excelling and doing even more than what’s expected of them," he said. "It was just great being a part of it all.

"Anyone can have a bit of a rough outing, but getting momentum in the bottom of the seventh with two outs was just huge. Sometimes you don’t know where it’s going to come from. You just need one bat to get it going."

Reno, Christman and Grider had two hits each for Ocon.

Mancuso was pleased to see Grider and the bottom of Oconomowoc’s batting order come through yet again.

"Benny has made the most of his opportunities to get in there and play," the coach said. "You ride the hot hand, which he has right now.

"The guys at the bottom of our order did a nice job of setting the table. That makes it much easier for the guys at the top of our order to do things. We can hit and run. We can steal. It’s easier to come up there when you have a runner at second base."

Raccoons top South

WAUKESHA — Oconomowoc lifted its record to 13--11 overall and finished 8-8 in the Classic 8 Conference following an 8-3 victory over Waukesha South on Tuesday at Frame Park.

Juniors Alex Bryan and Bradyn Nelson and sophomores Marek Bolson and Ryan Brennecke had multihit games, senior Drew Flanagan and junior Hayden Christman tripled, and Bolson and Brennecke knocked in two runs each for the winners.

Brennecke pitched five innings to earn the win before juniors Mason Foerstera and Mason Schmidt each pitched an inning of relief.

West sweeps Ocon

WAUKESHA — Waukesha West built a 5-2 lead through two innings and defeated Oconomowoc 6-3 in a Classic 8 Conference game Friday to sweep the teams’ conference series.

Ocon junior Mason Foerstera induced an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the second inning to limit the damage. He allowed just one run on four hits over 4 2/3 innings of work.

"Mason Foerstera did a great job out there kind of holding the line, allowing us to get a couple," Mancuso said. "They tacked one on late. But I thought he did a nice job stepping in."


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