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Pecatonica dazzles Argyle with two-out magic
Times photo: Pecatonica senior Harley Demler delivered an RBI single in the sixth inning of the Vikings' 10-0 win over Argyle on Monday.
ARGYLE - With a dominating pitching performance from Milton Kurschner and some clutch hitting, the Pecatonica baseball team rolled to a 10-0 win over Argyle and clinched at least a share of the Six Rivers East Conference title Monday.

Pecatonica (18-1, 10-1 Six Rivers East), ranked No. 1 in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Division 4 state poll, now has to beat Juda on Thursday to assure an outright conference title.

It didn't take the Vikings long to strike in the first inning off Argyle junior starting pitcher Nick Martin. Pecatonica senior Lee Vlasak, who reached base all four times he batted (2-for-2 with two walks), walked leading off the first. Pecatonica senior Bryan Daley, who was 3-for-4, singled. Pecatonica sophomore Tannar Johnson delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead. Fellow senior Harley Demler, who was 2-for-3, then came through with an RBI single to left to stake the Vikings to a 3-0 lead.

"When Tannar Johnson got that big two-out hit, I think that gave us a big boost," Pecatonica coach Jim Strommen said. "Hitting is like anything else. When you start swinging the bats, it's contagious."

The Vikings scored five of their 10 runs after two outs.

"Mr. Strommen always tells us with two outs to choke up and put the ball in play," Johnson said, who was 2-for-3. "In high school baseball, if you put the ball in play good things will happen and it did tonight."

Three runs was more than Kurschner would need on the mound. He pitched four innings and gave up just two hits. Kurschner struck out seven of the 15 batters he faced. Vlasak pitched two shutout innings in relief.

"It feels good to be on top at least for this year," Kurschner said. "I felt good pitching today. My arm was loose. I think Daley called a great game behind the plate. The knuckleball was really working. I used that once in a while to keep them off-balance."

Martin struggled with his control and location for the Orioles. He pitched three innings and gave up seven runs on six hits and walked five.

Martin has pitched five straight conference games since Andy Bohlman's biceps injury sidelined him a few weeks ago.

Some of his starts have came on just three days rest.

"I just feel Martin is getting tired," Argyle coach Travis Erickson said. "We are almost abusing his arm. Going on three days rest will wear on him. That doesn't take anything away from what they (Pecatonica) did. They hit the ball hard."

The Vikings blew the game open in the third.

Johnson singled leading off the third and Martin walked Demler and Chris Hendrickson to load the bases. Pecatonica senior Kaleb Feller delivered the big blow when he crushed a three-run triple. Feller was thrown out trying to stretch the triple into an inside-the-park home run, but the damage was done.

Then, Feller's three-run triple gave the Vikings an insurmountable 7-0 lead.

With the loss Argyle drops to (4-13, 2-9). Argyle senior Matt Cash went 1-for-2 in his first game back since taking a fouled bunt to the face in the Orioles' first game against Pecatonica in Hollandale. Cole Jordan had the Orioles only other hit when he singled to left in the fourth.

"We are not hitting the ball; plain and simple," Erickson said.

Pecatonica turns its attention to a pivotal game against Juda to close out the regular season, and Johnson has his sights set on Thursday's game, he said.

"We have a piece," Johnson said about the race for a conference championship. "We don't want to share. We will come out Thursday with guns blazing."