After holding an early 2-0 lead, the Menomonee Falls baseball team found itself in a 3-3 tie entering the bottom of the seventh inning of a regional final on July 12 against No. 11 seed Cedarburg at Trenary Field. With two outs, Dayne Fuiten's stand=up double gave MFHS the table setting it needed.
In the next at-bat, Ryan Spalding's single to left field scored Fuiten and advanced third-seeded Falls to a sectional semifinal on July 17 at Whitefish Bay against No. 7 seed Kewaskum.
"In tie games, there's really nothing to lose," Fuiten said. "You're just there for your team, and hopefully you can help them."
Falls took a 2-0 lead after one inning when Jake Sutherland and Fuiten crossed the plate.
In the top of the fifth with two outs, Cedarburg's Johnny Gilette singled to center to score Sam Tomashek. A batter later, Alex Kluck hit a line drive to left to score Jared Antonneau.
A day earlier on July 11, Cedarburg pulled a 4-2 upset over Nicolet in eight innings.
"We saw them play last night against Nicolet, and they played a good, crisp, clean game, and we expected the same thing today," MFHS coach Pat Hansen said.
Cedarburg coach Jack Friess felt his team responded well after it trailed early in the game.
"It's very easy to get intimidated playing this group," Friess said. "Very easy. I don't think our kids were. I was very proud of the way they competed. This week we just showed how we can play when we don't do some things out of the box you scratch your head about. I thought we competed really hard and had them right on the edge."
In the bottom of the fifth, Spalding hit a sacrifice fly ball to center with two outs to score Tommy Howard for the 3-2 lead.
Hansen said his team handled the pressure of a close game well, but it could have improved on getting more hits with runners in scoring position.
"The thing that was disappointing in the game is we didn't capitalize on a couple times with runners on third with less than two outs," Hansen said. "That kept the game tight. Obviously, a couple hits by them and the next thing you know it's tied."
Cedarburg's Nick Johnson drove in Alex Russo to tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth.
The Bulldogs finished the season with seven wins.
"We had frustration throughout our whole year," Friess said. "There was anger, frustration, I think if you say the word, we probably had it. Sometimes the kids just get frustrated with that. One good thing about them is they didn't quit. They showed this week they have a lot of heart and left everything on the field today. We just came up a little short."
Antonneau, Gillette and Russo contributed two hits each for Cedarburg.
For MFHS, Fuiten went 3 for 3 and Spalding drove in three runs.
Falls moved on to its fourth straight sectional semifinal and is coming off back to back state championships.
"We do have a relatively young team that is inexperienced come playoff time," Hansen said. "To be honest, I didn't know what I would get out of them. They did show some guts."