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Senior Legion: Popanz delivers walkoff
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Jake Teasdale pitched a complete game and gave up just one earned run.
MONROE - The Monroe Senior Legion baseball team will enter the regional tournament with some momentum hitting in the clutch.

Josh Popanz lined a two-out, two-run single to left to give Monroe a 6-5 comeback win over Milton in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night.

"It feels good because I have been struggling in the clutch," Popanz said. "It feels good to finally follow through. Our morale is up for the tournament with this win."

Monroe (8-11, 5-9 Senior Legion) handed Milton (18-6, 11-2) its second league loss. Monroe coach Bruce Rear was excited to see his team break out with some clutch hits.

"I waited all year for a game like this," Rear said. "That's a good team."

Rear instructed Popanz, who was 2-for-4, to swing level in his first at-bat.

"With these aluminum bats, just making contact is enough," Rear said.

It was a team effort in Monroe's comeback in the seventh. Mike Demianiuk, who reached base in all four of his at-bats (3-for-3, hit by a pitch), smoked a double to right. Taylor Weckerly, who was 2-for-3, walked. Kris Rieder laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. That set the stage for Popanz, whose walkoff two-run single brought Monroe rushing out of the dugout to celebrate.

It's a small play that could go unnoticed, but Rear praised Rieder's sacrifice bunt.

"That is a little thing you have to do to win a game," Rear said.

Jake Teasdale pitched a complete game to get the win for Monroe. He gave up one earned run on nine hits, struck out three, walked three and hit one.

"He kept them off-balance," Rear said. "He's more of a pitcher than a thrower. His off-speed stuff makes his fastball look fast. It makes it look harder than it is."

Monroe got off to a rocky start defensively in the first, which saw Milton score two of its three runs without hitting the ball out of the infield due to a pair of errors.

"It was like we were sleep walking," Rear said.

Monroes answered in its half of the first. Scott Kline led off with a walk. Then Kyle Klopfenstein reached on an error. Demianiuk then delivered an RBI single to center. Weckerly reached on an error. Cory Kundert followed by hitting a chopper for an RBI single to cut Milton's lead to 3-2.

In the second Teasdale singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kline. Teasdale helped his own cause, stealing third and scoring the game-tying run when a throw to third went into left.

Monroe took the lead in the third. Popanz ripped a double to left center and scored a go-ahead run when Teasdale reached on an error for a 4-3 lead.

Milton regained the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Milton received two-out RBI singles by Jake Meyers and Chris Nelson to regain the lead, 5-4. Teasdale ended the bases loaded threat by getting Nick Meyers to pop out to second.

"He's smart," Rear said of Teasdale. "He knows the game of baseball better than a lot of kids."