By Dan Flaherty
The Oconomowoc Five-O's showed up in Johnson Creek looking to get back on track. The scenic backdrop of the Johnson Creek water tower behind the right-field fence and I-94 visible through centerfield helped create a pleasant atmosphere for the game and if you were a Five-O's fan the ensuing nine innings made it even more so. After taking their first loss of the season on Sunday in Pewaukee, the O's were in a bounce-back spot that's exactly what they did, delivering an efficient 6-2 win that featured a bit of everything.
If you like the long ball-and who doesn't-then Derek Nelson gave you a jolt in the second inning. After Johnson Creek had scored twice in the first, Nelson followed up a Jeff Rhoads single by going deep over the left field fence to tie the game 2-2.
If you like solid execution of the little things, then let's fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. With runners on second and third and one out, in an 0-2 hole, Bob Bolson pushed a ground ball to the right side that scored the go-ahead run.
If you like solid pitching, then a series of Five-O's arms did the job on what was a pitcher-by–committee approach, but none was more solid than Drew Taylor, who zipped off three scoreless innings in the middle frames, using a combined 35 pitches to get the nine outs. To put that stat in perspective it took Johnson Creek 35 pitches just to get through the second inning. Both stats come to you courtesy of ESPN's Stats & Information Department. Which sounds a helluva lot better than saying they were tracked by geek in a lawn chair with too much available time on his hands.
Oconomowoc was able to open the game up in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor drew a walk and moved up to second on a passed ball. Nelson singled, putting runners on the corners. Josh Bouche then produced an RBI double to left. Steve Rhoads reached on an error to load the bases and then Chandler Ziemann delivered the coup de grace, with a double to left that made it 6-2 and the rest of the game ended without incident.
Land O'Lakes play resumes on Sunday with a trip to Merton, a park whose backdrop of the railroad and the paper mill seem to be pulled right out of Norman Rockwell. But unlike past years, when Merton has struggled to compete, the action between the lines will be as compelling as the background. The A's are 2-1 and part of several teams, including Oconomowoc, chasing undefeated West Bend. Game time is 1 PM and since Merton doesn't normally sell out, television blackout rules will be in effect. Come out and enjoy the game on Sunday.