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Budden magician puts spell on Tribe
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Wiota starting pitcher Alex Abraham pitched four innings and gave up two earned runs in a hard-luck 7-4 loss to the Monroe Brewers Tuesday night.
WIOTA - Monroe Brewers pitcher Nick Budden may have a future as a magician.

Budden's latest vanishing act came Tuesday night when he pitched out of his third bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to preserve a 7-4 Brewers win over Wiota.

The trick was hardly a cakewalk for Budden on the mound. After retiring the first two batters in the seventh, Budden walked Merrill Brunson. Jason Haldiman, who was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, ripped a long single off the right field fence. Budden, who lived on the edge throughout the game, walked Brad Solberg to load the bases before capping off his complete game, ending the threat by striking out Taylor Goodman.

"Even though it's Thursday (league), it's still baseball," Budden said. "I trusted my stuff in the end. I knew if I put it where I wanted, they would miss it."

The Brewers (7-1 Home Talent Thursday night League) have now won eight of their last nine games combined in the Thursday and Sunday leagues. With the loss, Wiota drops to 5-3 in Night League.

Budden gave up three earned runs on six hits. He struck out 10 and walked eight.

After a 20-minute lightning and rain delay after the second, the Brewers broke the game open with a five-run third. Wiota starting pitcher Alex Abraham struggled with his control, walking Budden leading off the third. Brewers co-player manager Rooney Janecke delivered an RBI double.

Lon Scheuerell, who continued his hot streak by going 2-for-3, reached on an error and Abraham walked Justin Hahn. The big blow came on Joel Wild's go-ahead, two-run double down the left-field line that gave the Brewers a 4-3 lead. Hahn later scored on a wild pitch and Adam Scherer added an RBI single to push the Brewers' lead to 6-3.

Janecke said Wild's big hit left a mark on the chalk.

"It was questionable," Janecke said. "I'm not going to argue either way. It helped us."

Two Wiota pitchers combined walked eight and the Indians' defense committed five uncharacteristic errors. Both the Indians and Brewers stranded 11 runners on base.

"When you walk the leadoff hitter, you usually wind up with problems," Wiota manager Dick Schliem said. "We have a lot of high school players. That's not an alibi."

Schliem said it's important to use the Thursday night league as a player development opportunity for younger players. Abraham and Goodman comprised the outstanding battery for South Wayne before graduating recently.

Budden pitched out of his first bases loaded jam in the first. After walking in two runs with the bases loaded, Budden struck out Abraham and Dan Fritsch.

"I came out pretty bad, but I overcame it," Budden said.

The Indians battled back in their half of the third when Haldiman crushed a solo homer to the corn field in right to cut the Brewers' lead to 6-4.

Janecke was proud Budden battled through some tough situations.

"I think Nick got stronger as the game went on," Janecke said.