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Westboro gets final out at home plate in exhibition win over Woodticks


While their Dairyland League seasons never happened, the Interwald Woodticks and Westboro Trojans met Sunday to get one baseball game in for the lost summer of 2020.

And what a game it turned out to be.

Interwald rallied from an early 8-0 deficit, pulling within one by scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning. But, with two outs and the bases loaded, the Trojans cut down Interwald’s Nick Gerstberger as he tried to score on a potential passed ball to preserve their 8-7 win in the exhibition game played at Westboro.

Taylor Brayton had a big day for Westboro, going two for three and blasting a grand slam home run in the fourth. He got credit for the win by working 4.1 innings in relief of his brother Trace Brayton, who covered the first 2.2 innings. Taylor struck out 10 hitters, while Trace added four punchouts. BJ Wiegel also added a two-run homer for the Trojans and pitched the last two innings.

Pitchers on both sides were a bit rusty, as would be expected. Both pitching staffs walked 12 batters in the game. Westboro outhit Interwald 9-5.

All of Westboro’s scoring came in the first four innings. It started with Marshall Westfall’s RBI single in the bottom of the first, scoring Dustin Freeman who had walked and moved to second when Wiegel was hit by a pitch. The Trojans wound up leaving the bases loaded in the opening inning.

Brock Thiede drew a one-out walk in the second and scored on Freeman’s two-out single. Wiegel followed with his home run to deep right to make it 4-0.

In the fourth, Trace Brayton hit a leadoff single but he was out at second on Freeman’s fielder’s choice. After Interwald starter Pete Devine struck out Wiegel, Westfall reached on an error and Matt Jensen walked to load the bases for Taylor Brayton, who sent the baseball flying over the Trojan Wall in left for his grand slam.

The Woodticks, after putting just three runners on and striking out nine times in the first five innings, finally got something going in the top of the sixth with a two-out rally. Gerstberger drew a walk and scored on Matt Mohr’s double to right-center. Mohr scored on Zack Iverson’s base hit and Iverson scored on a Craig Scheithauer single.

Mohr walked in the eighth and scored when Westboro’s outfielders miscommunicated on a James Holliday fly ball and let it drop, making it 8-4.

Things got even tighter in the ninth as Wiegel walked Randy Raasch to start the inning. Logan Blomberg singled and Michael Borchardt walked to load the bases. Number-nine hitter Jerod Arkola walked to force in a run.

Blomberg was forced out at home on Gerstberger’s ground ball to Taylor Brayton, now playing first base. But Mohr walked to score Arkola. Iverson popped out for the second out, but Scheithauer walked to drive in the third run of the inning. With Holliday at the plate, Westboro got the last out at home plate.

Devine went five innings for Interwald, while Arkola pitched the last three. Taylor Brayton was the only hitter in the game to have multiple hits.