Bobcats prepare for NLC baseball showdown

FLORENCE, Wis. – Florence eclipsed 20 runs for the second this week, ripping White Lake 21-4 in five-inning Northern Lake Conference baseball game Friday evening at Red Johnson Field.

But a true test awaits the 4-1 Bobcats Monday when they travel to face conference front-runner Crandon. The Cardinals, 5-0 entering play Friday, returned most of the league-champion squad from a year ago.

“We still have a lot of work to do on our mental game,” Florence coach Dave LaPoint said. “We’re still making some mistakes. It’s hard to tell based on some of the games this week if we are progressing. We’ll certainly find out Monday.”

Already entering the final week of the league schedule in this spring’s shortened season, Monday’s winner will most likely determine the league champ.

“They’re loaded,” LaPoint said. “We’ll have to play as heck of a game just to stay with them.”

Florence trailed early against White Lake but a six-run outburst in the second, followed by a 13-run marathon third inning pushed the game well out of reach.

The Bobcats tied the game on a wild pitch in the second, as Spencer Davis, who initially reached on a walk, raced in from third. Austin Trudell followed with a single to center to put the Bobcats in front for good at 2-1.

Kyle Abbas added a two-run single through the left side, and Davis – up for a second time in the inning – singled in another run.

Florence sent 18 batters to the plate in the third inning.

Abbas collected three RBIs in the frame, scoring one run when nobody touched his pop up on the left side, and adding two more with a single to left. He would plate his sixth RBI of the game in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to center.

Jeremy Schalow racked up three RBIs in two third-inning at-bats, one on an infield single and two more with a screaming line-drive double down the left field line.

Also in the third, Morgan Counter added a two-run hit, Louie Garcia brought in a run with single and another with fielder’s choice, and Tyler Beck dropped a single into shallow right center for two more.

Thomis Mannebach singled in another Florence tally in the fourth.

Garcia grabbed the win on the mound, working all five innings. He struck out nine, walked one and allowed three earned runs.

White Lake managed seven hits. Kris Gallagher tripled to the fence in right to give the Lakes a 1-0 lead in the first. Zach Mabry singled in a run in the third, and Luke Wickersheim knocked in two with a single up the middle in the fourth.

Gallagher started for White Lake and lasted two batters into the third. Mabry went the rest of the way.

White Lake10120 – 4

Florence06(13)2X – 21