Franklin wins wild state quarterfinal

Published on: 7/28/2011

Franklin's late lead disappeared in a heartbeat, so the Sabers went to work on a new one with an explosive eighth inning, as the Sabers baseball team defeated Waukesha West in the WIAA state quarterfinals Thursday, 14-7.

Franklin (24-7) will meet fellow Greater Metro Conference entrant Marquette (22-9) this evening in the semifinals at Bukolt Park in Stevens Point. The winner of that game advances to tomorrow's championship game.

The Sabers held a 7-4 lead in the seventh, and after a successful appeal when a West runner tagged and advanced a base, Franklin still had a 7-5 lead with two outs and nobody on. But Jeff Neuman singled for West, and Alex Lawrence delivered a dramatic two-run homer to tie the game and force extra innings.

But Franklin was undeterred, with nine consecutive batters reaching base in the eighth and seven runs scoring overall. Joel Kornhoff, who had just nine hits all season, finished the day with three hits -- including a grand slam in the big frame.

That game had everything -- intereference, clutch home runs, errors, lack of pitching," said Franklin coach Jim Hughes, celebrating a birthday Thursday. "Boy we can play a lot better than that. It was not as good a defensive game as we could have had. We even had coaches forgetting how many outs there were -- that one's on me."

Hughes was referring to a play in which he told a runner to motor from second toward home on a pop fly to center. With only one out, it was an easy double play to end the eighth, but by then, the damage was done.

Evan Walton homered for the Sabers on the first pitch of the game, and Jake Penegor added a two-run homer later in the frame to spot Franklin a 3-0 lead. But West would chip away and take a 4-3 lead in the third. Franklin bounced back by scoring two runs in the fifth without a hit.

"They broke it right open. We just couldn't close the door on them," West coach Chad Montez said. "That grand slam really took the wind out of our sails. To that kid's credit, he hit it."

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