Just like the rain, Fort Atkinson wouldn’t go away on Saturday.
The Generals rallied back from two multi-run deficits, to get within one run, but eventually fell short as Fort Atkinson was defeated by Stoughton, 5-4, in a Home Talent Sunday League game Saturday at Jones Park in Fort Atkinson.
Fort Atkinson tied the game at 2-2 after trailing 2-0 and got within a run after being down 5-2. The game was called after eight innings of play because of ongoing rain.
“We were pretty lifeless for the first five innings, but it was nice to see everyone get more involved later in the game,” Fort Atkinson manager Sam Hartwick said. “We need that energy for nine innings instead of three. The guys have a lot of fight in them and they battled until the game was finally called.”
The Merchants got on the board early after a solo home run from Winder Fuentes in the games’ second at-bat.
After the first half inning of the game, the temperature lowered and the wind gusts drastically picked up. Fort Atkinson was unable to find much success hitting in the windy conditions until the sixth inning. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Stoughton’s starting pitcher Ben Riffle started to lose control of his pitches as rain started to come down.
Owen Chady got the Generals on the board after a bloop single to right field. During the next at-bat Chase Davis knocked in the game-tying run with a sacrifice fly.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Stoughton scored two more runs after a hard-hit, line-drive ball was hit over the glove of a jumping Davis in center field.
The Merchants added on another run in the inning to make it 5-2 after an RBI single.
Fort Atkinson did get a run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI from T.J. DiPrizio.
Chady, who came in relief for Dan Dean in the seventh inning, retired the side in the top of the eighth to get Fort Atkinson to the bottom of the eighth down 5-3.
Designated hitter Chris Kopeke hit a two-out RBI single to close the gap to one run, but the final out of the game was recorded after a force out at second.
With a runner on first, Dean hit a ground ball to the Stoughton shortstop, who lost his footing in the wet conditions, but gathered himself in time to make a throw over to second for the final out of the game.
The game, which saw several rain delays, was called after eight innings.
“We need to do a better job of being ready to play at first pitch,” Hartwick said. “We can’t wait until a storm is coming to suddenly have motivation.”
Dean, Chady and Ty Schieber all picked up two hits in the defeat.
Up next for Fort Atkinson (7-5) will be a game Tuesday against Lake Mills (1-10) at Jones Park at 7:30 p.m.
“Mindset is that we can’t lose,” Hartwick said. “Every game is a must win and needs to be treated that way. We’re going to need energy for all nine innings of each game and can’t have any let downs.”
Fort Atkinson 13, Waterloo 1
In a game that was supposed to be played in Waterloo on more than one occasion, Fort Atkinson hosted the Waterloo McKays at Jones Park and earned a 13-1 victory in seven innings on Sunday.
Drew Dunkleberger was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and three runs scored. The homer came in the second inning. Fort Atkinson scored in five of the six innings.
Austin Paul struck out three batters and gave up three hits in six innings of work.
STOUGHTON 5, FORT ATKINSON 4
Merchants 100 001 30X — 5 8 0
Generals 000 002 00X — 4 8 1
Pitching (ip-h-r-bb-so) — S: Riffle (W-6-5-2-1-2). Hernandez (2-3-2-0-1); FA: Dean (L-6.2-6-5-1-3), Chady (1.1-2-0-0-1)
Leading hitters — S: Medina 2x4 (2B), Fuentes 2x4 (HR), Herandez 3x4 (2B); FA: Chady 2x4, Dean 2x3, Schieber 2x3
FORT ATKINSON 13,
Generals 040 214 2XX — 13 10 4
McKays 000 010 0XX — 1 3 1
Pitching (ip-h-r-bb-so) — FA: Paul (W) 6-3-1-2-3). Tabaska (1-0-0-0-2); W: Malmowski (L) 5-8-7-5-0, Housner 0.1-0-4-4-0, Vehlow 1.2-0-2-0-2.
Leading hitters — FA: Schieber 2x4, Dunkleberger 2x4 (HR), Crandall 2x5.