Rockets move on to regional final Wednesday at AuburndaleBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSTRATFORD — Spencer got a strong pitching performance from Hunter Luepke and some timely hitting as the fourth-seeded Rockets stunned top-seed Stratford 7-6 in a WIAA Division 3 baseball regional semifinal Tuesday at the Tiger Stadium Complex.Spencer (10-9) moves on to the D-3 regional final at Auburndale (10-7) at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. The winner moves on to the sectionals next Tuesday, June 6.Things started shakily for the Tigers as Dom Wichlacz reached first base on an error and came around to score on a double by Luepke to make it 1-0 after half an inning.The Rockets added two more runs in the third. Singles by Wichlacz and Luepke set the table for Caden Schillinger, who drove in a run with a single. That chased Tiger starter Lucas Heidmann, and after reliever Cole Hoffman walked a pair of batters, one with the bases loaded, the Rockets had a 3-0 lead.Stratford got one back in the third on an RBI single from Mark Handrick to make it 3-1.Stratford pitcher Cole Hoffman gathers himself on the mound during the WIAA Division 3 baseball regional semifinal Tuesday against Spencer.Spencer feasted off an uncharacteristically wild Hoffman. The senior hurler walked the first Rocket batter in the fourth before getting a fly ball and a strikeout. Having seen enough of Luepke already in the fourth, the Tigers walked him intentionally, the first of the three intentional walks to the Rockets’ slugger in the game. Two more walks brought Carson Hildebrandt to the plate, and he lashed a two-out single to right-center, giving Spencer a 6-1 lead.“That’s a good team win for us,” Spencer coach Tim Buttke said. “Hunter (Luepke) didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, but we labored through, did enough to get by, a total team effort. They didn’t pitch to Hunter, so other guys had to step up, and that’s what makes it even sweeter.”The Tigers answered the Spencer runs by getting three of their own in the fourth, thanks mostly to Luepke’s wildness. The big lefty bounced a couple pitches in front of his catcher, and Stratford took advantage. An RBI bases-loaded walk by Kade Ehrike concluded the scoring in the inning before Luepke escaped with a strikeout to strand two.“We didn’t pitch well the first couple of innings,” Stratford coach Brad Grube said. “First ball was an error. We had too many walks. Our third guy Lance Heidmann kept us in, but Luepke held us at bay. He’s a good pitcher. He kept us off balance and changed speeds well.”Luepke ran out of pitches early in the sixth inning and was replaced by Tanner Kleinschmidt, who gave up a hit in the sixth but finished the inning with a fly ball to center.Clinging to a 6-4 lead, the Rockets got a big insurance run in the seventh. Lucas Ellefson hit a two-out single, Luepke was intentionally walked again, and Schillinger registered his second RBI with his third hit of the game to make it 7-4.“Caden Schillinger and a couple guys on the bottom of the order came through in a big way,” Buttke said. “We know our roles at this point in the season. We carried through with them, and that helps a lot.”That being said, the top-seeded Tigers weren’t going home quietly.Two singles to open the bottom of the seventh and a bobbled ball in center put Tigers on second and third. Kleinschmidt then coaxed a pair of fly balls before freshman Devyn Palmer drilled a two-run single to plate Ehrike and Handrick. Another single by Eli Drexler got things a bit tighter before Dylan Schoenherr ripped a shot to center that Spencer centerfielder Darren Willcome hauled in near his ankles to end the game.Rockets 7, Tigers 6Spencer 102 300 1 – 7 9 1Stratford 001 300 2 – 6 8 2WP: Hunter Luepke. LP: Lucas Heidmann. SV: Tanner Kleinschmidt.SO: Luepke (5 1/3 inn.) 3, Kleinschmidt (1 2/3 inn.) 0; Lu. Heidmann (2 1/3 inn.) 2, Cole Hoffman (1 1/3 inn.) 2, Lance Heidmann (3 1/3 inn.) 4. BB: Luepke 5, Kleinschmidt 0; Lu. Heidmann 1, Hoffman 5, La. Heidmann 4.Top hitters: SP, Dom Wichlacz 2 runs; Lukas Ellefson 2×4; Luepke 2×2, 2B, 2 runs; Caden Schillinger 3×4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Carson Hildebrandt 1×4, 2 RBIs. ST, Mark Handrick 2×4, RBI; Devyn Palmer 2×4, 2 RBIs.Records: Stratford 14-6. Spencer 10-9.
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Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ After starting off the fifth set with a 4-1 lead, St. Benilde allowed the Lady Pirates to take the edge but Ranya Musa was there to spark the finishing kick.She scored on back-to-back hits to give the Lady Blazers a 6-4 lead before Lyceum committed three straight errors to virtually hand St. Bendile the match.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThe key to the turnaround was settling down in the third set, which allowed the Lady Blazers to play at their pace“I tried to calm them down, and I also had to adjust to them because when I called a timeout in the first set I talked to them in a high tone so when I called them again in the second set I toned down a little bit,” said Arnold Laniog. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim St. Benilde Lady Blazers vs Lyceum Lady Pirates. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCollege of St. Benilde showed its composure and came back from two sets down to deny Lyceum its first victory in the NCAA Season 93 women’s volleyball tournament, 22-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-13, 25-10, Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Blazers tied Arellano University atop the standings with a 2-0 card while the Lady Pirates are at 0-2.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte North Korea’s ‘army of beauties’ set to invade South ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims View comments MOST READ PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid “In the third set we slowly got into our game, then when I saw that we were taking the lead and our movements were smoother I knew the game would be ours.”Klarisa Abriam led Benilde with 18 points while Rachel Austero added 16 points.Marites Pablo and Musa also finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.Bien Juanillo had 14 points to lead Lyceum with Monica Sevilla adding 11.ADVERTISEMENT BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games