La Roche sends former champs to elimination round

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Luis Navedo drove in the first of his three RBIs on the day with a home run to left as La Roche advanced in its bracket to face Keystone in a game scheduled for Sunday.
d3photography photo by Steve Frommell

By Jim Dixon,

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Luis Navedo hit a two-run home run in the first inning and added an RBI in the fifth as La Roche defeated the UW-Whitewater Warhawks 5-3 in the final first round game at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium.

The game, delayed from Friday night because of the seven hours of rain on the tournament's first day, was played in a brisk 2 hours, 21 minutes, and the Redhawks benefited from the extra day of rest.

"We were confident this being our first World Series and I am proud how our guys handled the entire week," said La Roche coach Chase Rowe. "We benefited from having an extra day of rest having to come out of the elimination bracket in the regional."

La Roche opened the scoring in the first inning. Colin Williamson singled and came around on Navedo's home run to left field.

"I was looking for a pitch I could put in play," said Navedo. "I got a fastball down the middle and I put my best swing on it and it jumped out."

"I had a feeling that our guys were ready and that was exactly what we needed out of Navedo," said Rowe. "He is out three hitter and one of the best hitters in the country and stepped up big time for us today."

The Redhawks added single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings.

"We have been preaching all year to keep it pitch-to-pitch, thats what good teams do", said Rowe. "That is how you continue to add in these situations, you cannot get complacent early."

David Lemley's sacrifice fly made it 3-0. Navedo's single to center was the third hit in the fifth, scoring Williamson and extended the La Roche lead. Shane Roebuck's sixth inning safety made it 5-0.

Meanwhile Tanner Wilt was mowing down the UW-Whitewater batters through the first seven innings.

"I tried to get my stuff going," said Wilt. "I was switching arm angles. They were really scrappy, just fighting off everything, some of the toughest at-bats all year. I am happy to keep them off balance enough."

Back in black

La Roche came out in their alternate uniforms.

"Black or grey? I said black 100%. I feel like I throw my best games in these and so happy I was able to perform in them."

- Tanner Wilt, La Roche starting pitcher

"Tanner was dominating," said Rowe. "I am proud of him. To come out here and do what he did today is a testament to his ability to compete."

UW-Whitewater ended the drought of scoring my WIAC teams with Dane Burman's eighth inning home run. UW-La Crosse was shut out on Friday and UW-Whitewater was scoreless for seven for 16 consecutive innings without a run scored.

"They got to us early and it was a fight to comeback the rest of the time", said UW-Whitewater coach John Vodenlich. "I like to think our guys are mentally tough enough that not to have one at-bat, one game, one moment in the season to effect how they move forward. You never want to give up but to play the game the right way. I felt like we did that today."

The Warhawks attempted a comeback in the ninth with Steve Chamberlain opening the inning with a single. Wilt struck out the next two batters before walking Will Helbing. Burman's single brought in Chamberlain and the tying run to the plate. Austin Jones responded with a RBI single of his own to bring the Warhawks with in two runs. Wilt induced Jordan Kuczynski to ground out to second to end the threat and game.

La Roche will play Keystone in their bracket's winner finale while UW-Whitewater comes back tonight with an elimination game with St. John Fisher.