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Monroe melts McFarland
Monroes Mitch Marty makes a catch at second base during Thursdays 7-1 win over McFarland in a Senior Legion baseball game. Monroe has just one more regular season game, Sunday at Mount Horeb, before playoffs start.
MONROE - Kris Rieder's pitching and some patient hitting helped the Monroe Senior Legion baseball team pick up a 7-1 win over McFarland to clinch at least a share of the Stateline League title Thursday.

"One of our goals was to win the league championship," Monroe coach Eric Losenegger said. "Our other goal is to go to the state Senior Legion tournament."

Monroe (13-4-1, 12-4 Stateline League) was supposed to finish a suspended game in June with McFarland that was tied 4-4 after Monroe's comeback in the sixth when lightning and storms cut the game short. However, McFarland's coach determined earlier this week that the game would revert back to the fifth inning and McFarland would earn the win, 4-2. If Monroe could have finished and won the suspended game, they would have clinched an outright title. Instead, Jefferson has a chance to win a co-championship with Monroe.

Monroe's opportunistic offense broke the game open with a five-run third inning that came on just two hits. Monroe took advantage of several McFarland defensive breakdowns.

Monroe's Mike Turek struck out leading off the third, but he reached first on a passed ball on the third strike. McFarland starting pitcher Mike Taschek then walked Dylan Schwitz. Drew Nafzger then laid down a bunt and reached on an error that allowed Turek to score. Kramer Henning, who had two RBI, then hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in the go-ahead run to give Monroe a 2-1 lead. Mitch Marty, who was 2-for-3 with a walk, crushed an RBI double. The big blow came on Jon Elmer's two-run single that gave Monroe an insurmountable 5-1 lead.

"We took pitches and got walks," Marty said. "We were really patient at the plate. We were not swinging at bad pitches. We were letting them walk us."

Losenegger is a proponent of the philosophy that good things will come to hitters who wait for their pitches.

"They were disciplined and patient," he said. "That's baseball. That's how you score five runs on two hits."

Rieder pitched five innings and gave up just one unearned run on four hits. He struck out eight, walked three and hit one. Henning came in and pitched two shutout innings in relief.

Rieder pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam in the first after hitting and walking the first two batters.

"I just got that out of my system early and came back," Rieder said. "My fastball wasn't really working. I knew I could rely on my offspeed pitches. I used my offspeed pitches quite a bit. That really fools them and gives me an advantage."