Maze’s two homers give Lake sectional title

JERRY CITY – Lake junior Brandon Maze picked the perfect time to hit the first two home runs of his high
school career.
His second homer snapped a 4-4 tie with two out in the top of the sixth inning Thursday and the Flyers
held on for a 6-5 win over Elmwood.
The victory gave the Flyers a Division III sectional baseball championship on the Royals’ home field.
Lake, 15-8 overall, faces eighth-ranked Fairview or Montpelier in the district semifinals next Thursday
in a 4:30 p.m. start at Defiance High School. Second-seeded Elmwood is 8-13.
Maze – the ninth-place hitter in the lineup ­- homered for the second time following a walk to Joe
Vancena and Terry Tomanski’s sacrifice bunt. ­He his­­ first homer led off the fifth and gave the Flyers
a 4-3 lead.
The right-hand hitter hit the first pitch and went to the opposite field both times, homering just inside
the right-field foul pole the first time.
"I was trying to get a good pitch and hit it hard. I’m not a home run hitter," said Maze, who
added his only other career homer came during summer baseball. He’s hitting .270.
Elmwood ace Adam Tyson, who pitched a six-hitter, made good pitches on both homers. Both were fastballs,
one up and in and the other low and away.
The two homers came after Elmwood tied the game in the bottom of the previous inning.
"Two at-bats really hurt us," Royal coach Kyle Reiser said. "We made good pitches and he
just got the bat on the ball."
Lake opened the sectional Saturday with a 12-11 win over Lakota on Ryan Hotmer’s homer in the last of the
seventh.
"(Maze) came up big," Lake coach Greg Wilker said. "It doesn’t always have to be the
number three and four hitters who get the big hits. We’ve had different people step up and that’s the
sign of a good team when you can do that."
The sectional title enhances a solid season for the Flyers, who returned just three lettermen and have
only one senior.
"(Winning the sectional) gives us something to hang our hat on and build on," said Wilker, who
is 402-277 in 25 seasons. "We’re proud of the effort. We haven’t talked about winning the
sectional. We just talk every day about getting better, every game, every practice. That’s what we
preach.
"We do some good things, but we’ve been inconsistent. We’re capable of being a very good team if we
can develop that consistency."
Hotmer singled twice for Lake and pitched a gutsy nine-hitter. His curveball was just sharp enough to
keep Elmwood off balance.
The Flyers fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but never trailed after tying the game in the top
of the third.
"We’ve been resilient all year," Wilker said. "They’ve driven me nuts at times, but
they’ve always battled hard."
Elmwood threatened to tie the game in the seventh.
Reid Rothenbuhler led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Aaron Blachuta’s
two-out double to deep center. But the game ended on a fly to center.
Rothenbuhler hit the ball hard all four times, resulting in three singles and a double. He also had an
RBI. Blachuta also had a good day with two doubles, a home run and two RBI.
The Royals also have a young team. Tyson and Rothenbuhler are the only returning starters from last
season. Elmwood was 23-3 overall and 14-0 in the Suburban Lakes League last season, advancing to the
district tournament.
"It’s a tough loss, but our kids battled hard," Reiser said.
Lake and Elmwood are tied for third in the SLL at 5-4.
Genoa is undefeated in the league, two games ahead of Eastwood.