By Dan Flaherty
The Oconomowoc Five-O's ran their record in the Tri-County Night League to 2-0 on Friday with a 10-2 win over Rubicon. It was a win that could be summed up in a single word - execution. No, the Five-O's didn't bring a guillotine to the park with them. But they did bring their defense, patience at the plate and timely hitting. While the win was a team effort, up and down through the lineup, and on the pitching staff, no player epitomized the execution-first approach better than right fielder Bob Bolson.
The top of the third produced the game's first seminal moment. The game was scoreless, and Five-O's starter Josh Bouche had gotten settled in for what would be four shutout innings. This inning saw leadoff hitter Ida Menzel hit a line drive down the right field line. Bolson got over quickly, came up throwing and gunned down Menzel at second base. I need to back track here and say that the baserunner's first name probably isn't Ida - that happens to be the name of the Broadway actor who played the Wicked Witch of the West in Wicked. But I digress.
In the bottom of the inning, Bolson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move leadoff hitter Nate Oz into scoring position with one out. The O's couldn't capitalize that inning, but by the fifth the offense finally broke through. After a leadoff single by Steve Rhoads, Bolson worked a walk, which helped pave the way for Corey Ott to draw a bases-loaded walk of his own to force in the first run and then Jeff Rhoads to put on a nice piece of two-strike hitting to take a pitch the other way for two RBIs and make the game 3-0.
Oconomowoc opened the game up in the sixth, tacking on three more runs, with Mike Barker's two-out, two-run single being the key blow. Chandler Ziemann came in on relief of Bouche in the fifth and while Rubicon got their only two runs in the seventh, Ziemann's nine outs provided invaluable help to a pitching staff that needs to be ready again on Sunday in Sussex when Land O' Lakes play resumes.
After the seventh, Ziemann gave way to Shawn Tremaine who cruised through the eighth inning. At 6-2 the game didn't look in serious doubt, but for any anxious observers, Oconomowoc put it away in their own half of the eighth. This was the inning where the execution gap between the two teams really shone forth. While Oconomowoc had not only shown patience at the plate all night, they'd also been patient defensively, not forcing plays that weren't there and allowing themselves to work out of jams with minimal to no damage. In this half-inning Rubicon issued three walks, hit a batter, threw three wild pitches and when an chopper to third presented an easy out at first, a foolish attempt at a double play sent the ball into right field and the rout was on. Four runs were added and Tremaine closed out the ninth without incident.
Oconomowoc has now beaten the Tri-County League's top two teams from a year ago, in Kewaskum and Rubicon. So as we get set to return to Land O'Lakes action on Sunday at Sussex (1 PM kickoff), don't forget that on pleasant summer evenings in Watertown and elsewhere, the Five-O's are ready to make 2012 the Year of the Double Dip.