Prep Baseball Report

WIAA Playoffs: Brookfield East piles it on late and holds on to defeat Homestead

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

WAUKESHA, Wis. – Brookfield East won a regional championship on Thursday evening with the help of both its go-to arms, including senior starter Bailey Banaszynski. The Winona State commit not only stifled the Highlanders’ offense, he also smashed a solo homer in the ballgame that helped push the game out of reach.

But, while the Spartans wound up winning, Banaszynski was actually the one to allow the game’s first run, in the top of the first frame. He and his heavy fastball forced the first two batters of the ball game to whiff on three strikes, but Homestead’s freshman catcher Will Vierling turned around an 85 mph fastball and opened the scoring with a deep homer to center to make it a 1-0 game.

For the Highlanders, they opted to go with their lanky senior righty Erik Sutton to start the game, who pitched around a couple of first-inning singles to keep his team out front.

Both Banaszynski and Sutton kept the second and third frames tidy, and East finally struck in the bottom of the fourth. In the half-inning, seniors Ethan Toone and Ryan Mazza led it off with back-to-back singles. A one-out walk to Joey Pagel loaded the bases and a balk in the next at-bat tied things up at one. In that same at-bat, Nick Radtke squared up a single to left that allowed two more runs to score, helping the Spartans take their first lead of the game.

By this point Banaszynski was fully settled in. He struck out the side again in the top of the fifth and launched a long homer to left himself in the bottom of the inning on a hanging curveball, making it a 4-1 East lead.

He finally looked fatigued in the sixth, after walking Vierling to lead off the half-inning, and it actually resulted in a trip to the bullpen. Sophomore Harrison Toone made the short trip from second base to the mound to try and get the final six outs of the game, protecting a three-run lead, but got into a little trouble when Sutton became the second pitcher of the night to help out his own cause with a home run. His two-run shot to right-center pulled Homestead to within a run of the lead from out of nowhere.

Homestead dipped into their own bullpen to start the bottom of the sixth and didn’t immediately find relief. Three straight walks opened the frame and fielder’s choice scored East’s fifth run. With two outs, and runners on second and third, Riley LeTourneau beat out a grounder to short to allow the second run of the inning to score, cushioning the Spartans’ lead, 6-3.

Toone retook the mound in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the first batter of the inning but walked the second. This was enough for East to bring in their other big righty, LeTourneau, to take care of the rest. The Madison JC commit came out firing, sitting in the low 90s, but Homestead still managed to battle their way a bases-loaded situation with just one out, down three. Their rally, however, was stunted when a slow groundball collided with a baserunner preventing a run to score and leaving the Highlanders with just one out to mount the comeback. LeTourneau coaxed another soft groundball to the left side of the infield, to Banaszynski tending third base, and the game’s starter – and winner – stepped on the third base bag for the force out to clinch East the regional title, with the 6-3 victory.

For Homestead, they conclude their 2019 campaign with an 11-13 record, but showed that they have some underclass pieces to look forward to contending next spring.

As for the Spartans, they look like a sincere threat to make a deep run this postseason, with a senior-heavy roster led by two high-powered right-handers. They’re back in action on Tuesday at Brookfield Central’s field, where they’ll played No. 2 seed Wauwatosa East. Their sectional’s No. 1 seed, and Greater Metro rivals, Menomonee Falls will play the day’s first game against Germantown. The winners of the two games will meet in the early evening to decide the Sectional No. 6 champion.


+ RHP Bailey Banaszynski, Brookfield East: 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K; 2-for-4, HR, RBI
+ 1B Nick Radtke, Brookfield East: 1-for-2, 2 RBI
+ C Will Vierling, Homestead: 1-for-1, HR, 3 BB
+ RHP Erik Sutton, Homestead: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI; 5 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K