The Oconomowoc Five-O's went to Hartland's Nixon Park in their continued effort to tune up for the postseason, both Wednesday night in the Tri-County Night League and starting August 11 in the Land O' Lakes League. Playing in front of a good crowd on a nice afternoon, the O's were able to open a close game in the middle innings and beat the Oilers 14-5.
Hartland grabbed a run in the first to start the scoring, but Oconomowoc quickly got it back in the top of the second when A.J. Ramirez started things with a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch. The inning might have been bigger, but a hard-hit ground ball by Chandler Ziemann with the bases loaded and one out ended up as a double play. Ziemann would continue to hit the ball hard and the fate of baseball eventually turned in his favor, as he ended the day with three hits, including a two-RBI double later in the game.
The Oilers got another run in the fourth, but not only did Oconomowoc answer in the fifth, they broke the game open. After a Ziemann single, Luke Nelson hit a rocket home run over the left field fence to make it 3-2. Control problems nagged Hartland's pitchers (they would issue twelve walks for the game) and resulted in four straight free passes, another run and then Steve Rhoads hit a two-out single to right that made it 6-2. Oconomowoc got three more in the sixth, the big blow being a two-RBI single by Roberto Ramirez, the veteran that the front office added at the trade deadline in exchange for the rights to two high school seniors and a bonus case of Genuine Draft. The Five-O's continued to get runs, with an RBI single from Derek Nelson in the seventh and the aforementioned two-RBI double by Ziemann.
On the mound, the O's got solid work from Justin Mortensen, the lefthander who delivered six solid innings and left with a 9-2 cushion.
Hartland might be 2-15 on the year but after watching consecutive games against them, it's hard not to think that the Oilers might not be far away from getting back into the postseason. And the fan base is one of the most engaged I've seen in the league. The only thing missing is the for the team to adopt the fight song of a team with a similar name, the old 1970s Houston Oilers, of which the video clip is below.
But if Hartland is looking to the future, Oconomowoc is looking to the immediate present. It starts with Wednesday night's TCNL semi-final game against Kewaskum (played in Brownsville). Then on Sunday the LOL season concludes with Menomonee Falls. There is a good possibility Oconomowoc will match up against Falls in the first week of the playoffs, with this Saturday's regular season finale determining home field advantage.
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