When a team has struggled as much as West Allis Central has this season and then falls behind 6-1 early in a game, it is easy to simply succumb and wait for another day.
The Bulldogs found themselves in just that situation on June 25 after Nicolet pushed across six runs in the bottom of the second inning.
They did not quit, however, and tallied five runs in the top of the sixth and one in the seventh to down the Knights, 7-6, and post their second victory of the season.
'The kids played with confidence,' coach Dean Mlachnik said. 'They could have easily packed it in, but they came back and had fun doing it.'
Lost early chances
The game was frustrating early for Central, which left the bases loaded in the first inning and then had the bases loaded again with no outs and did not score in the third frame.
In the sixth, however, the Bulldogs finally put things together. Aaron Mitter walked and leadoff hitter Kurt Mlachnik doubled to put runners at second and third.
'The double got everybody jacked up,' coach Mlachnik said.
Danny Llanas drew a walk to load the bases, and then Jake Fierst was hit by a pitch to force in one run. Mike Wilcox doubled in one run, and Jorden Rauch and Cam Drury followed with run-scoring singles. When the outburst was over, the game was tied at 6-6.
'We were able to string hits together,' coach Mlachnik said. 'We finally got some key hits when we really needed them.'
Rauch also played a key role on the mound. He took over in the second inning with five runs in for Nicolet and the bases still loaded but got out of the jam with just one more run scoring. He then shut down the Knights for three more frames.
Central scored the winning run in the seventh. Mitter drew another walk, Mlachnik singled and Wilcox singled to put the Bulldogs up 7-6.
Llanas finished the game on the mound, working the final two innings and allowing one hit.
Ben Reinhardt went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in, Llanas finished 2-for-5 and Wilcox went 2-for-2.
The game against Nicolet was part of a tournament on June 25, with the Bulldogs losing, 12-0, to Oak Creek on just one hit in the other contest.
Fall in GMC play
Central lost all three of last week's Greater Metro Conference contests to some of the top teams in the league, falling to Menomonee Falls, 12-1, on June 23; to Franklin, 13-3, on June 21; and to Marquette, 12-2, on June 20.
Against Falls, the Bulldogs had four hits and as many errors; against Franklin, Mlachnik went 3-for-3 and Llanas 2-for-3 with an RBI; and against Marquette, Llanas and Reinhardt each had two hits.
The Bulldogs take on Brown Deer at 7 p.m. Friday, July 1, at Belich Field and then meet Waukesha West at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at West.
They take part in the Greater Metro Conference tournament on Tuesday, July 5, through Thursday, July 7. The schedule will be announced after conference play ends this week.