Danny Llanas and Tyler Drezek are among the four freshman pitchers who are giving hope to the struggling West Allis Central baseball team this season.
Llanas and Drezek showed their potential when they combined to shut down West Allis Hale, 7-1, on June 17, enabling the Bulldogs to post their first victory of the campaign.
Llanas worked four innings, striking out three and walking one, and Drezek finished, fanning three and issuing no walks in his three innings.
'Llanas has a plus-fastball in the upper 70s and low 80s (miles per hour),' Central coach Dean Mlachnik said. 'He also has a good curveball and gets a lot of groundouts. What's nice is that he attacks the hitters and pitches with a lot of 1-2 counts rather than 2-1 or 3-1 counts.'
Llanas is on a pitch limit while he recovers from elbow surgery last fall.
'We don't want to take any chances, with his being just a freshman,' Mlachnik said.
Drezek shares many of the same characteristics with Llanas, the coach said.
'He is a big lefty and has a lot of movement on his curveball,' Mlachnik said. 'His fastball is sneaky fast. As he goes along, he's going to be one of those pitchers people will talk about in a couple of years. He has great composure on the mound, and he has a lot of moxie; he will attack the (strike) zone as well.'
The Bulldogs took control early, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter and sparkplug Kurt Mlachnik singled; stole second and third; and came home on a single from Jake Fierst. Mike Wilcox, Ben Reinhardt and Alex Diaz also singled in runs in the inning.
'When Kurt gets on, we usually score a run,' the coach said. 'He will steal a base or two, and then we have two chances to bring him in. He has really played well, and he has a hitting streak going.'
Central added one run in the second frame and two in the third to go up 7-0. The Huskies' lone run came in the fourth.
Diaz and Llanas both went 2-for-4 with one run batted in for the Bulldogs.
'We played seven solid innings,' coach Mlachnik said. 'When you have just one walk and no errors, you always have a chance to win. The kids made all the plays.'
Central did not fare as well in its other games last week, falling to Sussex Hamilton, 10-2, on June 16; to Brookfield East, 8-0, on June 14; and to Wauwatosa East, 10-0, on June 13.
Against Hamilton, Fierst went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Mlachnik 2-for-2 with a stolen base.
The Bulldogs managed just one hit against Brookfield East and were also shut down by Wauwatosa East.
The Bulldogs will next meet Menomonee Falls at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at Belich Field and then play in a tournament at Abendschein Park in Oak Creek starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 25.
They will meet Oak Creek at Abendschein at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 27, and will play at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, at Brookfield Central.
Central meets Wauwatosa East at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at Kapco Park in Mequon, the site of the WIAA state tournament.