It’s a sign of the culture within the Fort Atkinson baseball team.
Isaac Heederik hit a triple over the right fielder’s head for the loudest hit of the four-run fifth inning, but that’s not the run the team is most proud of plating.
Dayne Sebranek laid down a bunt inside the first-base line and Branden Zastrow broke from second base to score the last run in the four-run rally that proved necessary for Fort Atkinson Post 166 in its 6-3 victory against Watertown Post 189 at Jones Park on Tuesday night.
“We think that’s a very important thing for us here,” said Heederik of the bunt-and-run play. “We try to do that as much as possible. It’s a really good play and I don’t see other teams really doing that very much. We’ve done it a couple of times.”
The win kept Fort Atkinson in first place in the Central standings for the East Central American Legion League.
The final run was key for Post 166 as Watertown rallied to score two runs in the sixth with a two-out double by Bryce Cooper to trim the deficit to 6-2. Post 189 had a double and a single with one out in the top of the seventh before Fort Atkinson coach Tyler Congemi turned to Heederik to slam the door shut.
Heederik retired both batters he faced to preserve the win for Ethan Heagney, who gave up one hit and struck out three batters in four innings of work.
Heagney finished was three hits and Zastrow had two, including a double.
“I knew we had a good cushion and I had Isaac and all of our other arms in our back pocket since we hadn’t played in a week,” Congemi said. “I wasn’t really sweating too much. If Isaac would have gotten in a little bit of trouble, then maybe. But when he has the ball late in the game, we’re pretty confident.”
Before the big triple by Heederik, there was a conversation between Congemi and Heederik. A boost. A small pep talk.
“He just checked in to make sure I was doing all right,” Heederik said.
Added Congemi, “I just told him to burn the right fielder. It’s worked in the past. I’ve done it in the past where I’ve pulled him aside and told him to unleash on one. He usually does.”
“Sometimes he’ll see me and think I’m down about something and he’ll come over and make sure I’m all right,” said Heederik, who finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and recorded the save.
The Fort Atkinson Post 166 baseball team will be hosting the fourth annual Fort Legion Post 166 Invitational on July 12-14. Of the 12 games being played, 12 will be hosted at Jones Park with one game Saturday and one game Sunday being played at Fort Atkinson High School.
Six teams have entered the field: Stoughton, Fort Atkinson, East Troy, Lake Geneva, Cedarburg and St. Mary’s-Neenah.
Stoughton and East Troy will open the tournament with a 5:15 p.m. game at Jones Park. Fort Atkinson will play against Lake Geneva at 7:45 p.m. for its first game of the tournament.