Kettle Moraine's resurgent second half continued Tuesday in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 summer baseball tournament with a 5-1 win over Wauwatosa West at Wales Community Park.
A fast start helped the Lasers (18-13), a returning state qualifier that long ago put the slow start to the year in the rear view mirror, move on to meet No. 2 seed Brookfield Central on Saturday.
"We came out swinging the bats with three doubles in the first inning; now we can afford to lay off the gas," KM coach Brian Adamczyk said. "Ultimately I love the fact we've got two practices in a row. I can't remember the last time we've had that, probably back in May. We're going to use these two days and get better."
Matt Melbye led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. He advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Tosa West starting pitcher Willie Belknapp before scoring on a ground out by KM starting pitcher Jake Pohlman. Robbie Dombrowski doubled, and courtesy runner Gunner Amelunk scored on a double off the bat from Brady Durni.
Kettle Moraine went ahead 3-0 with a single from Jacob Varick and another double from Melbye.
The Lasers increased their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Dombrowski singled, and once again Amelunk was the courtesy runner for the Lasers' catcher. A wild pitch moved him into scoring position before Sam Huskisson singled home his teammate.
"Tonight they were able to find the holes when they needed to," Tosa West coach Chad Mateske said. "They're a good hitting team."
Belknapp singled in the bottom of the sixth. Adam Carlson ran for Belknapp. Devin Hudson and Myles Fish also had singles before Tyler Wells knocked in the Trojans' run. At that point, Adamczyk pulled relief pitcher Durni in favor of Jonah Nosek, who got out of the inning.
"Jonah's been doing that, coming in games in tight situations for us all season," Adamczyk said.
Wauwatosa West played without their top pitcher and run producer, Zach Veit, in street clothes due to a respiratory infection.
"He came out and practiced, but just didn't feel right," Mateske said. "He actually went to the emergency room yesterday."
Wauwatosa West (10-21) had runners on base in all but one inning, the fourth when Pohlman needed just five pitches to set down the Trojans in order.
"We had some chances today with some runners," Mateske said. "This has been our Achilles' heal, not being able to come up with the big hit. We just weren't very effective in that area for the last three weeks. We had runners out there; we just couldn't get them in."
Melbye was 3 for 3, reaching base safely all four times he came to the plate.
"I got some pitches to hit, and I think with our playoff experience, we didn't press," Melbye said. "Everyone on this team can hit, and we did tonight. Plus our defense was there. Robbie threw out two runners, which was also huge."
The WIAA regional final at Central begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Kettle Moraine remains a threat as it prepares for one of the area's top teams.
"Hopefully we can keep rolling," Adamczyk said.
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