HTL: Orioles a win from the Final Four

Ben Riffle hurls a strike in the first inning last Sunday in a Western Section semifinal playoff against Mount Horeb/Pine Bluff at Mount Horeb High School. Riffle tweaked his ankle before the game but pitched a complete game and struck out the side in the ninth to preserve a 7-2 win for the Orioles. [Photo by Anthony Iozzo]

Pitcher Ben Riffle was going to take the mound no matter what for the Oregon Home Talent team Sunday in a Western Section semifinal at Mount Horeb/Pine Bluff.

Riffle rolled his ankle playing catch in the outfield before the game at Mount Horeb High School, and he had to fight through swelling and discomfort for the entire game.

But even with a noticeable limp and trouble planting his foot, Riffle pitched a complete game, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 7-2 win for the eight-seeded Orioles.

“It affected me a little in the beginning. I think the biggest it affected was my curveball,” Riffle said. “I just could not, for whatever reason, throw it for a strike. For the most part, it didn’t have anything on it, but I battled through it.


Oregon golfers continue summer success

Oregon High School graduate Morgan McCorkle took first place at Platteville Golf and Country Club on July 27, while her sophomore sister Taylor took third.

Morgan shot a 76, and Taylor finished with an 89.

Lake Wisconsin   Country Club

Taylor took fourth with an 82 on July 28 at Lake Wisconsin Country Club, while junior Jenny Johnson finished sixth with an 85.

Morgan took eighth with an 88.

Evansville Golf Club

Taylor took fifth with an 83 on July 31 at Evansville Golf Club. Johnson took seventh with an 86.

Junior Carmen Cruz was 29th.


HTL: Orioles upset top-seeded Verona in Western Section playoffs

Abe Maurice races to third on a single up the middle by Blake Watzke in the top of the fourth inning last Sunday in a Western Section playoff game against Verona at Stampfl Field. Maurice later scored on a wild pitch as the Oregon Home Talent team upset Verona 6-2. [Photos bys Anthony Iozzo]

The pressure was all on Verona, Oregon Home Talent player/co-manager Eric Engler said to his team prior to the first round of the Western Section playoffs Sunday at Stampfl Field.

Engler’s words proved to be right after a three-run first inning and a few insurance runs in the eighth led the Orioles to a 6-2 win, eliminating Verona (16-1) and clinching a spot in the semifinals against Mount Horeb/Pine Bluff.

“There was no pressure on us, and we just said to go out there and have fun,” Engler said. “We had hits today with guys in scoring position, and that is what we have been missing out on all year long. Today, we put it together, and it couldn’t have been a better time.”


Baseball: Oregon National 10U team wins hometown tournament

The Oregon National 10U baseball team went 5-0 to win first place in the Oregon 10U baseball tournament. They beat Sun Prairie 7-4 to secure the championship game. Team members are James Heller, Brent Schmiesing, Ryne Panzer, Jaxon Brockman, Jack Walter, Tyler Soule, Casey Farrar, Drew Kessenich, Brayden Fry, Andy Niaves, Deaken Bush and Luke Eisele. Coaches were Jake Soule, Karl Fry and Nate Heller. [Photo submitted]

Oregon Youth Baseball held its annual 13U, 12U, 11U and 10U tournament at Oregon High School, Jaycee Park and McGaw Park (Fitchburg) last weekend, and the 10U Oregon National (team photo on page 10) won the championship.

The 10U team defeated Sun Prairie 7-4 in the title game, and it defeated Elkhorn in the semifinals.

The 13U Oregon National team made the quarterfinals before falling to Grand Chute in the quarterfinals. Reedsburg won the 13U tournament.

Middleton won both the 11U and 12U titles.


Home Talent League: Orioles look to secure playoff seed

Sunday’s 6-3 win at Monroe puts the Oregon Home Talent team (7-8) in a tie for sixth place in the Western Section playoff race with Hollandale (7-8).

With one game left in the regular season, the Orioles can secure a No. 6 seed for the playoffs with a win over Ridgeway (6-9) at 1 p.m. Sunday at home.

Ridgeway defeated Oregon 6-4 on May 11, but Manager/player Tom Curtis said that Oregon is a different team with a fuller lineup and more experience.

A loss doesn’t eliminate the Orioles from the playoffs, but Oregon is playing to win.

“You don’t want to back in,” Curtis said. “We would take a playoff spot any way we would get it, but we would like to have some momentum going in.”


Boys tennis: Conklin named WTCA Coach of the Year

Oregon High School boys tennis coach Ben Conklin (right) and varsity assistant Terry Geurkink lift the WIAA Division 1 Lake Geneva sectional championship plaque this spring. Conklin was named the 2014 Wisconsin High School Tennis Coaches Association Coach of the Year after the Panthers had their best season in school history, sharing the Badger South Conference title and advancing to the state team semifinals. [File photo by Jeremy Jones]

Oregon boys tennis coach Ben Conklin was named the 2014 Division 1 Wisconsin High School Tennis Coaches Association Coach of the Year earlier this month in a vote of his peers.

Conklin said he only found out of the decision about a week ago on the tennis courts, coaching 5- and 6-year olds, “My colleague had just checked his phone messages and said to everyone, ‘Guess what?’”

One of 11 finalists, Conklin knew he was in the running, but said he thought it was a long-shot.

“Of course I was a part of a total team effort – assistant coaches, players, and parents – everyone played a part,” he said


Home Talent League: Orioles still control playoff destiny

Right fielder Abe Maurice slides home safe in the top of the fourth inning Sunday, July 13, on an RBI single by first baseman Eric Engler against Verona at Stampfl Field. The run made it 1-0 at the time, but the Orioles ended up falling 11-1 in seven innings. [Photo by Anthony Iozzo]

Two big innings in a row led to Sunday’s 11-1 loss to Verona, but the Oregon Home Talent team (6-8) is still in the playoff hunt.

With the top two teams in the North and South Divisions automatically moving on, that leaves the next best four in the Western Section to make the playoffs.

Verona (14-0), Argyle (11-3), Mount Horeb-Pine Bluff (9-5), Wiota (9-5) and Dodgeville (8-6) have all clinched a playoff spots. That leaves Blanchardville (6-8), Hollandale (6-8) and Oregon as the other three teams if the season ended today.

Monroe (5-9) and Ridgeway (5-9) are on the outskirts with two games to go, but the Orioles hold their own destiny. If it defeats Monroe at 1 p.m. Sunday and then takes down Ridgeway at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 27, Oregon will be in the playoffs.


Senior Legion: Panthers go 3-2 with two doubleheader splits

The Oregon Senior Legion squad split a pair of doubleheaders and knocked off Jefferson to finish 3-2 last week and move to 8-8 overall.

Milton doubleheader

The Panthers traveled to Milton for a doubleheader on July 8 and won game two 4-3 to secure a split after falling 4-0 in game one.

Zach Klementz (2-for-3, double) and Logan Hurda (2-for-3, double) led the offense.

Steven Davis picked up the win on the mound. He allowed one earned run on two hits in four innings. Mitch Weber  recorded the save, allowing a hit in one inning. Weber also had one strikeout.

Oregon 12, Jefferson 3

Oregon hosted Jefferson on July 9 and won 12-3.


Home Talent League: Still in the playoff hunt

Second baseman Kyle Moore applies a tag on catcher Ryan Hoodjer’s throw to on a steal attempt in the first inning Sunday, July 6, in a Home Talent League game against Mount Horeb/Pine Bluff at Oregon High School. [Photo by Anthony Iozzo]

Player/manager Eric Engler said last weekend was going to be “make or break” for the Oregon Home Talent team, and it looked to be positive after a 2-1 win against Hollandale last Friday.

But defense and lack of hitting Sunday against Mount Horeb/Pine Bluff put a blemish on the attempt to stay in the playoff hunt.

Four errors in the top of the fifth led to four runs and an eventual 8-1 loss, dropping the Orioles to 6-7 on the season.

“We needed them both,” Engler said. “This puts a lot of pressure on us to beat Verona next week, which is obviously going to be tough.”


Senior Legion: Panthers win twice, fall to Fort Atkinson in extra innings

The Oregon Senior Legion squad picked up two wins and lost another in extra innings during a successful week.

The Panthers improved to 5-6 overall on the season.

Oregon 7, Cottage Grove 6

Oregon began the week with a 7-6 win against Cottage Grove on July 2.

Logan Hurda (2-for-3), Jake Odegard (2-for-4) and Patrick Sommers (double) led the offense.

Steven Davis picked up the win. He allowed two earned runs on three hits in five innings.

Oregon 8, Edgewood 5

The Panthers then played Edgewood last Thursday and picked up an 8-5 win.

Josh Gomoll (2-for-4), Odegard (2-for-3, double) and Davis (double) led the offense.