Whitefish Bay celebrates holiday with first North Shore baseball title
Dukes get job done quietly
News on a holiday weekend sometimes gets overlooked a little bit as people's attentions are often elsewhere.
Even if it is historic news.
It happened on a warm, partly cloudy morning Saturday, July 5, in Cedarburg in front of a couple of dozen fans instead of a warm and welcoming throng at Cahill Park.
But no matter, the job was finally done.
The Whitefish Bay baseball team beat Cedarburg 6-4 in the completion of that suspended game and clinched the first North Shore Conference in school history. The Blue Dukes mobbed each other around the mound at Friess Field and celebrated the best they could.
Then they hopped a bus back home to Cahill for a 1 p.m. nonconference tilt with area rival Shorewood, which they won 11-0. There the PA announcer told everyone in attendance of the grand feat achieved earlier that morning, which was greeted with a nice round of applause.
After the win over the Greyhounds, the announcer came back on and gave the news that that particular victory was the 300th in coach Jay Wojcinski's history.
"I don't know where they dig that stuff up," chuckled Wojcinski, who has also coached at Waukesha South and Greendale.
And then he smiled and prepared to take the team out for celebratory pizza, the proper way history should be celebrated.
"We talked about this (the conference title) in the spring," Wojcinski added. "The only other time we talked about it until now was before the first conference game (a 7-2 loss to West Bend East on May 29).
"Everyone knew the goal and we all expected to achieve it. It didn't come up again until this morning."
After that opening league loss to East, Bay would win its next 12 NSC contests in a row, a feat that did not go unnoticed.
"Jay did such a nice job with this group this year," said Germantown coach Jeff Wolf. "I worked some of his camps and I saw these kids coming up. I knew they would be good."
But the Blue Dukes still needed the win over Cedarburg as they dropped two of their last three NSC games including a 7-3 decision to Homestead on Thursday, July 3 (see separate story), and a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Germantown on Monday, July 7 (see Whitefish Bay NOW.com for details).
They finished with a 14-4 league mark and entered a busy last week of the regular season with a 22-5 mark.
Bay will host Wauwatosa West on Friday, July 11, at 5:30 p.m. and then close out the regular season at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 12, with a home game against Waukesha South. The WIAA sectional seeding meetings were held earlier this week and the Blue Dukes were expected to get the top seed in the sectional they are hosting.
WIAA regional play will begin on Tuesday, July 15.
Bay still has some big goals ahead, including a return to the WIAA State Tournament, which is something the Blue Dukes have not done since 2011.
But for the time being, they are still celebrating a little bit of history.
"We knew we had a strong team going into the year," said co-captain Kirby Annis. "We were looking to do this last year but we fell apart a little bit (a seven-game losing streak which included three one-run defeats). This year, we were focused on staying together as a team and we did. We just got along so well together.
"This feels good. Feels good to be the first (conference champions)."
"This feels great," said Cal Gavic, another co-captain. "We were really hoping to get a conference title, especially with the talent we had this year. getting it done at Cedarburg wasn't how we planned to do it, but we got it done.
"This is just huge for the team."
Whitefish Bay 11, Shorewood 0: Adam Fuda threw a seven-strikeout, four-walk, one-hitter in the five-inning post title celebration at Cahill on July 5. The Blue Dukes took the lead with two runs in the first and then blew the game open with five in the second as Joe Kaszubowski had a sacrifice fly, Cole Stasiak an RBI double and Gavic a two-run single. Gavic had three hits as Jason Blacher and Kyle Rogers had two apiece.
Bay 6, Cedarburg 4: The Blue Dukes were never entirely comfortable in this game, but they got the job done. They took a 4-1 lead in the fifth by scoring three runs, only to have the Bulldogs close the gap to 4-3 with two in the bottom of that frame.
They tried to stretch it out in the seventh with two more to make it 6-3 but the Bulldogs pushed across one more before Kaszubowski finally got the last out and allowed the Blue Dukes to celebrate. He finished with six strikeouts and four walks and got help from Stasiak and Gavic, who had two hits and two RBIs apiece. Teddy Weber also had two hits too.
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