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Homestead baseball team's level of play still good despite losses

Highlanders still in second in NSC

June 24, 2014

Though the ups and downs of North Shore Conference play with a young pitching staff have occasional come back to bite the Homestead baseball team, the Highlanders are still in second place in league play as of Tuesday, June 24.

"No, I cannot be frustrated with the quality of the effort," said Highlander coach Ernie Millard. "These kids want to get better. (Sophomore) Eric Skaar is establishing himself well (as a starting pitcher) and Jared (junior Jared Stieve) has pitched well. We're also getting good quality at-bats, too."

After a 5-3 North Shore loss to Slinger on Monday, June 23, the Highlanders stood at 7-4 in North Shore play and 13-5 overall. Whitefish Bay remains the North Shore leader at 10-1.

The Highlanders also dropped a heartbreaker of a 3-2 decision to Cedarburg on Thursday, June 19, and beat West Bend West, 10-0, on Tuesday, June 17.

Slinger scored three runs in the bottom of the first off of Stieve for a 3-1 lead. The Highlanders finally tied the score in the top of the sixth, but then Slinger went ahead for good with two in its half of the sixth.

Stieve finished with two walks while he and reliever Ben Garstecki allowed 13 total hits to the Owls.

Millard was very happy with the effort in the loss to Cedarburg. The Bulldogs scored twice in the first inning for a 2-1 lead as the Highlanders fought back to tie the score at 2-2 in the third. Cedarburg finally pushed across the game winner in the sixth with the help of two, two-out flare hits.

"It was the kind of game we could play 10 times with them and we would each win five times," said Millard. "Just a great game."

Skaar pitched six strong innings in the game.

"He really settled down (after the first) and pitched very well," said Millard of Skaar.

Eric Wade had three hits and two runs scored while Mitch Sutton had two hits with both RBIs.

Homestead got a runner on in the seventh but Millard said the Cedarburg second baseman and rightfielder both made "unbelievable" plays to deny the Highlanders a scoring opportunity. A caught stealing ended the game.

Stieve got the win in the five-inning shutout win over West. He finished with three walks and a strikeout. Homestead scored in each of the second through fifth innings for the win. Bryce Juedes had a double, a single and four RBIs in the contest.

"Bryce's approach at the plate was very good throughout the game," said Millard.

"I'm ecstatic with our level of play," he added. "Winning a baseball game has nothing to do with level of play. You can play badly and still win a game. We're playing pretty well right now."

The Highlanders will finish a suspended game with Germantown at Germantown at 4 p.m., Thursday, June 26 (the game is tied 11-11) and then will come back down the road to Rennicke Field for a regularly scheduled game with the Warhawks at 5:30 p.m. that same day.

They will then visit West Bend East on Monday, June 30, at 5:30 p.m.

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