Jeff Smith tags out Dazzle’s Demons runner Matt Furyk at third base during a snowshoe baseball game against the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks at Snowshoe Park Monday, July 8. (Photos by Dean Hall/Lakeland Times)
Jordan Schmidt hits the infamous melon ball during a snowshoe baseball game against the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks at Snowshoe Park Monday, July 8.
7/13/2019 7:31:00 AM Snowhawks beat Dazzle's Demons on walkoff HR
By Brett LaBore of the Lakeland Times
Down two runs in the 11th inning of a back-and-forth snowshoe baseball game, Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks player-coach Jeff Smith had some sage advice for hitter Brent Cella.
"Don't pop out," Smith said.
He delivered a three-run home run to left field that capped off a five-run inning for the Snowhawks and a wild 12-10 come-from-behind victory over Dazzle's Demons Monday at Snowshoe Park.
"I wanted a base hit or long fly ball and we didn't expect a bomb out of him, but that's probably one of the longest balls I've seen," Smith said.
The back and forth game saw the lead change hands several times. The Rhinelander-based Dazzle's Demons put up three runs in the ninth inning for force extra innings and then plated three more in the top of the 11th to take the lead.
The Demons put the pressure on in the 11th when both Tommy Ziemba and Zach Furtak reached base. The next batter up was Jordan Schmidt and he hit a home run to make it 10-7.
The Snowhawks wasted no time answering in their half of the 11th.
Billy Kuckkahn got it going with a hit. Then Smith drew a rare walk to put runners on first and second. Two batters later, Hodgdon knocked in two runs to make it 10-9, setting the stage for Cella's heroics.
Following back-to-back losses to the Chicago All-Stars during the Fourth of July week. Monday night's win was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Snowhawks.
"We all came together and said, 'Hey we can do better than this,'" Smith said. "It was a huge win, a big confidence booster, and the crowd went nuts. It's nice to be on that side of it."
The game did not get off to an auspicious start for the home team. The Demons put up three runs in the first, which included a run-scoring double by Drew Wallschlaeger.
The Snowhawks answered in the bottom of the first. Smith started things off with a single. Two batters later, Jacob Hodgdon also singled to put runners at the corner. Cella hit a sacrifice fly and it was 3-1.
As both teams settled in, the Snowhawks needed a boost to take the lead. They finally got one in the fifth inning starting with a single by Paul Miller. Then, Gunner Dunbar doubled and the Snowhawks had a threat going.
"Our offense built to (hit) a lot of singles," Smith said. "Our scrappiness on the bases sure helped and being aware of where the ball is the entire time."
Todd Niemuth singled home a run and it was 3-2. Later, Billy Kuckkahn had a base knock and the Snowhawks led the game 4-3.
Dazzle's Demons went cold, but finally responded in the top of the seventh with an RBI single by Keith White to tie the game at four apiece.
In the bottom of the seventh, one of the big hits of the game came off the bat of Dunbar yet again. He hit a three-run home run to give the Snowhawks a 7-4 lead.
Not only did the Snowhawks have the lead, but their defense kept them in the ball game.
"Our defense was pretty good," Smith said. "We had a couple of balls that went through the infield. Other than that, it was three errors or maybe four."
The eighth inning went by with no runs. Dazzle's Demons had one more chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth, and they would do just that.
Eric Hasselberger started it off with a single. Then it was back to the top of the order where both Ziemba and Furtak singled. But the big blows came when Jesse Robinson and Wallschlaeger tied the game up at 7-7 with base hits.
The Snowhawks went down in order in the ninth so it was extra inning baseball in Lake Tomahawk.
The Snowhawks improved to 2-2 on the year with the victory. Now that they have another win under their belts, the Snowhawks will continue to build and get better as the summer rolls along.
Their next game comes Monday, July 15 when they take on Fritz's Bar at Snowshoe Park in Lake Tomahawk starting at 7:30 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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