A’s Season Ends in Heartbreak
Posted: August 9, 2021
The final day of the season started off in elation.
It ended in heartbreak.
Entering Sunday, the Sheboygan A’s along with the West Allis Nationals and Menasha Macs were the only three teams remaining in the Wisconsin Class A State Tournament after Appleton had been dispatched Saturday, falling to the A’s 4-2 in extra innings and to Menasha.
Rain forced the postponement of the A’s, West Allis nightcap Saturday, causing tournament officials to alter the format from double-elimination to a round-robin Sunday between the A’s, Nationals, and Macs.
With the A’s and Nationals locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel entering extra innings, the Nationals struck first in the top of the eighth to take a 1-0 lead.
With one out and the A’s needing to score to stay alive, Mark Wanner reached on an error and advanced on a Harry Steldt single. Jacob Neese then hit a deep fly ball to center field to score Wanner and tie the game.
Remaining deadlocked, TJ Roberts came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning. He took a 1-1 pitch to deep center field. At first, it looked like the ball would be caught for out number two, but then the ball kept carrying. The next thing fans knew, it landed over the center-field fence and the A’s walked it off in dramatic fashion.
Game two of the day featured West Allis then taking on Menasha, with the Nationals running away with a 13-1 victory, leaving the A’s to control their own destiny.
In fact, the A’s could lose their last game against Menasha, and still have a chance at being the State Champions. The first tie-breaker if all teams finished 1-1 would be runs allowed, so if the A’s gave up two or fewer runs in their game with Menasha, that would still be crowned State Champs.
The A’s got off to a hot start in the first three innings, but only had one run to show for it despite leaving six runners in scoring position to end the first three innings.
Menasha, who was the “home” teas based on a pre-game coin-flip, then struck for three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 lead and now forcing the A’s into a must-win scenario as they had now given up more runs on the day than West Allis.
The A’s offense kept after it and scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to eventually take the game into extra innings, their third extra-inning affair of the three-game weekend.
Unlike the first day of the game, however, it was the Macs who finished off the game in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt put a runner at second base. The A’s pitcher then induced a ground ball back to himself which should have been out number two, but the ball sailed high to first baseman Harry Steldt, allowing the runner from second to score and win the game for Menasha. With all three teams finishing 1-1, West Allis was declared the State Champions for only giving up three runs on the day.
The A’s up and down season finished exactly the way it played out all year. Elation, then heartbreak. The A’s conclude the 2021 season with a 32-31 overall record, 15-15 in the Wisconsin State League, and 8-8 in the Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League.
The Sheboygan A's are members of the Wisconsin State League and Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League. The A's have helped develop more than 43 players that have reached professional baseball, including 2002 World Series Champion Jarrod Washburn (Anaheim Angels). All Sheboygan A's home games are played at Wildwood Baseball Park in Sheboygan. Connect with the A's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.