By Steve Pilz
WESTBORO — The Marshfield Chaparrals saw their record back to .500 as they lost to the Westboro Trojans 2-0 in what turned out to be a pitchers’ duel on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in Dairyland League amateur baseball action.
Four pitchers in all toed the rubber, but the headliners were the starters, who combined for 20 strikeouts between them.
Westboro starter Taylor Brayton gave up a single to lead-off man Nate MacDonald, who took second when the right fielder bobbled the ball. It would be the only hit Brayton would allow in his six-innings of work. He finished the first with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to get out of the jam.
Chaps starter Drew Spaeth was equally impressive. He struck out the lead-off man, but when he went to field a bunt to the next batter, he threw wide to first, allowing the runner to reach.
Trojans third baseman Drew Freeman came up next and hit a ball to right-center that just cleared the fence for a home run and a 2-0 lead.
From there it was all pitching. Brayton left after six innings with nine strikeouts and five walks, yielding just the one single. Sam Schwanebeck and Luke Wirtz both walked with two outs in the fourth and advanced to second and third base, respectively, on a wild pitch, but that is as close as the Chaps would get to scoring.
Spaeth would last seven innings, striking out 11, walking three, and surrendering just three hits.
“I thought Drew (Spaeth) really pitched a great game,” said Chaparrals manager Justin Rayburn. “We need to give him some run support. Toward the end of the game, we started to get more base runners but couldn’t bring them in. Overall, our pitching has been pretty strong this year.”
Westboro reliever Nick Ruepke allowed just two hits in three innings, striking out two and walking one to earn the save.
Ryan Metz relieved Spaeth and got two strikeouts and allowed one hit in one inning of work.
Rayburn hit a double, and Bobby Pilz walked three times in his three plate appearances.
Marshfield hosts the Plover Pterodactyls at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Jack Hackman Field.
Trojans 2, Chaparrals 0
Marshfield 000 000 000 – 0 3 1
Westboro 200 000 00x – 2 4 1
WP: Taylor Brayton. LP: Drew Spaeth.
SO: Spaeth 11, Ryan Metz 2; Brayton 9, Nick Ruepke 2. BB: Spaeth 3, Metz 0; Brayton 5, Ruepke 1.
Top hitters: M, Justin Rayburn 2B; W, Drew Freeman 2×4, HR, 2 RBIs.
Records: Marshfield 2-2 overall and Dairyland League; Westboro not reported.