In this same spot a year ago, Brookfield East broke open a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning against Kettle Moraine and advanced to the WIAA sectional final at Waukesha West. This time, it was the Lasers' turn.
The No. 1 seeded team in the summer baseball sectional at Brookfield Central shut out the Spartans, 2-0, advancing to the sectional final played at 4 p.m. against either Milwaukee Pius or Wauwatosa West.
Left-hander Austin Wolf relieved starting pitcher Keith Koehn in the top of the fifth inning after the first two batters reached for Brookfield East, Alex McGuire and Ben Stewart singled to start the inning, but Wolf struck out Eddie Fitting and got the next two hitters to fly out to right fielder Chris Trafton, who had six putouts in the game.
Wolf allowed one hit and one walk, striking out four in three innings to earn the save for Koehn. The winning pitcher, Koehn, gave up just four hits, all singles. He didn't walk a batter but did hit one in four innings.
Brookfield East pitcher Griffin Lynch worked six innings. He struck out eight while walking one. Just one run was earned.
"Their pitcher was tough out there today, and coach always talks about battling in the box," said KM catcher Robbie Dombrowski, who delivered an RBI single that scored Koehn in the bottom of the fifth inning. "I just wanted to make contact in the situation and was fortunate enough to come through."
The other score for Kettle Moraine came on a double by Koehn that chased home Brady Durni, who had singled with two outs in the bottom of the third inning.
Kettle Moraine head baseball coach Brian Adamczyk was certain runs were going to be at a premium with Lynch on the hill.
"Offensively, we knew it was going to be a challenge," Adamczyk. "The guys went up their with confidence and were able to get it done."
Last year, the Spartans scored seven times in the top of the seventh inning for a 9-2 victory, spoiling Kettle Moraine's dreams at a trip to Kapco Park.
"We figured pitching and defense would do it, but we didn't mix in the turf (infield at Brookfield Central), and they ran," Brookfield East head baseball coach Bill Woodring said. "They're the fastest team we've seen this year."
Dombrowski was the only player in the game to collect two hits in the game.
Kettle Moraine recorded its fifth shutout of the season.
"It's always about pitching, and Keith and Austin were bulldogs out there today. That was the difference," Dombrowski added.
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