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Little things kill off Comets
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Albany catcher Trent Gerber bobbles a pop-up hit by Mike Rear before finally catching the ball and throwing to third for a double play in the first inning Tuesday. The Cheesemakers won the Senior Legion contest, 8-4, at home. Order photo
MONROE - The Monroe Senior Legion baseball team did enough of the little things and capitalized on its chances to pull out a season split with Albany after picking up a 8-4 win.

"I think this was a must win for us because we and Albany are on the same level," Monroe coach Bruce Rear said.

One of the biggest turning points came in the sixth inning, with Monroe clinging to a 5-4 lead. Adam Scheidegger, who went 2-for-3, hit a blooper over Cheesemakers pitcher Mike Rear, and beat out an infield single. Monroe first baseman Jake Teasdale tracked down the ball and tagged Scheidegger out after the first base umpire ruled he made a turn toward second. Scheidegger, who was in shock, was ejected by the home plate umpire.

Albany coach Brian Dahl backed up Scheidegger.

"He never even said anything," Dahl said. "You lose a good player on something that was nonsense. It affects the whole team.

"I do feel we are a better team than they are. Give them credit, they were the better team today. They hit when they needed to."

Rear was proud Teasdale didn't take anything for granted.

"I was surprised by the call," Rear said. "Jake said it was the right call because he made a move to second base."

Albany (1-6) never recovered. The Cheesemakers (4-8-1, 3-6 Senior Legion) put the game away in their half of the sixth. Kyle Klopfenstein, who was 2-for-4, singled off recent Juda graduate Jake Ramos with two outs. Ramos then walked Mike Demianiuk. Taylor Weckerly then drilled a two-out, 2-run triple to left center. Weckerly then scored after a wild relay throw to third.

"It really felt good to finally get a hit like that one," Weckerly said, who drove in three runs. "I have been hitting a lot of ground balls to the shortstop.

"We really needed to win this game. I know everyone wanted to beat them this time."

Rear pitched a complete game to get the win for the Cheesemakers and gave up just one earned run on five hits. He struck out nine, walked two and hit two.

"I stepped it up and came through," said Mike Rear. "We had some of our players step up and were a lot more clutch."

Albany came back from a 1-0 deficit with a four-run third. With two outs, Brandon Pfeuti blooped a single to center, which Josh Popanz nearly came up with a headlong dive. Rear then hit Mike Elmer and Trent Gerber to load the bases. The big blow in the third came when Scheidegger smoked a 3-run triple to right to give Albany a 4-1 lead.

Infield miscues and some wildness by Ramos led to a three-run fourth for the Cheesemakers. Cory Kundert and Popanz started the rally reaching on infield singles. Ramos then walked Alex Dammen to load the bases before hitting Scott Kline with a pitch, his third plunked batter of the game, to cut Albany's lead to 4-2. Klopfenstein then reached on a 2-run game-tying error.

The Cheesemakers scored the go-ahead run when Teasdale, who led off with a single, scored on a wild pitch.

Ramos, a knuckleball specialist, pitched six innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He walked four and hit three. The Cheesemakers capitalized on several Albany errors and four wild pitches by Ramos. The Cheesemakers did the little things by running (six stolen bases), hustling after contact (four infield hits) and sparkling defense including a diving catch to rob Tyler Bauman in the seventh.

"We need to manufacture runs and move runners along," Rear said. "That's the kind of team we are."

NOTES: Lefty Nate Barta will miss the rest of the season with torn cartillage in his knee and a partially-torn ACL, an injury suffered in a recent soccer match. Ken Gratz will attend a meeting in Portage today to pursue the possibility of hosting a Junior Legion tournament at the end of this season.