Back to state! Lasers win sectional, advance to state semifinals

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(Photo by Scott Ash/Kettle Moraine Index)

After two shutout victories Monday, the Kettle Moraine Lasers are headed back to the WIAA state baseball tournament. 

Playing the first sectional semifinal of the day at Brookfield Central High School, Kettle Moraine got strong pitching from senior Keith Koehn and junior Austin Wolf in a 2-0 victory over Brookfield East. 

The Lasers got on the board in bottom of the third inning, getting a bit of help along the way. Junior Brady Durni reached on an infield single with two outs and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Koehn then sent a towering fly ball to left field that was lost in the sun, dropping for an RBI double. 

Facing tough Spartans right-hander Griffin Lynch, Kettle Moraine scratched a big insurance run across the plate in the fifth inning when junior Robbie Dombrowski singled home Koehn with two outs.

Working on two days rest, Koehn picked up his 8th win of the season by working four scoreless innings before turning things over to Wolf. The left-hander picked up the save, striking out four in three innings.

Kettle Moraine squared off with former conference foe Milwaukee Pius XI in the sectional final. Following a similar script to the sectional semifinal, the Lasers did just enough offensively to aid their strong pitching and defense in a 3-0 win.

The Lasers appeared to have let a scoring chance slip away in the second inning after a strikeout left a runner on third with two outs, but Wolf launched his first career varsity home run, putting Kettle Moraine up 2-0. 

From there, Kettle Moraine’s pitching and defense led the way. Junior Matt Melbye got the start, striking out five in four scoreless innings. Durni worked a scoreless fifth inning before running into trouble in the sixth. 

A leadoff walk and a double led the Lasers to turn Wolf on the mound, and the move paid dividends. 

Wolf walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with nobody out, but then struck the next batter out looking. Only one pitch away from getting out of the bases loaded, nobody out jam with no damage, Wolf got a ground ball that junior second baseman Sam Huskission and Koehn turned into an inning-ending double play.

From there, the Lasers added an insurance run on an RBI single by Chris Trafton in the sixth inning while Wolf worked a perfect seventh inning to let the celebration begin.

Kettle Moraine will face New Berlin West in the state semifinals Friday at 3:15 p.m. at Kapco Park in Mequon, Wis. 

(Photo by: Scott Ash/Kettle Moraine Index)

(Photo by: Scott Ash/Kettle Moraine Index)

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