Grafton staged an upset over Woodland Conference champion Pewaukee in a nonconference battle July 8 at Waukesha County Technical College, with pitcher Caleb Horvath escaping a massive jam in the seventh to hold on for the 7-6 victory.
Grafton took a 6-0 lead after two innings that came under peril.
Matthew Tietz delivered an RBI single to cap a three-run first, with the first two runs scoring on balks, and RBI singles by Lucas Gosewehr and Haden Fisk contributed to another three-run second, with Tietz drawing a bases-loaded walk, as well.
But Pewaukee scored twice in the fourth and fifth to pull within 6-5. Grafton scored once on an error for insurance in the seventh, and that would be huge when each of the first four batters reached, loading the bases and bringing a run home.
Horvath fielded a ground ball and threw home for the first out, then recorded a strikeout and flyout to save the lead. On the final out of the game, Hogan retreated on the ball in left field and caught it over his shoulder near the warning track to seal victory.
It was an uplifting win for Grafton (8-14), which went into the playoffs seeded 10th and facing seventh-seeded Kewaskum on July 11. Second-seeded Germantown awaited the winner.
Tietz finished the game with three RBIs.
Grafton has showed it could be a dangerous team to reckon with. The squad lost 4-2 on July 7 to Greendale, a team that contended for the Woodland West title, and dropped a 2-1 decision to Homestead on June 30. Homestead closed the regular season with 13 consecutive victories.
In a 6-5 win over Port Washington on July 3, the Black Hawks scored three times in the seventh for a walk-off victory. Gosewehr doubled and drove in two runs, and Jack Pawlak finished with three hits. Michael Hogan also had a double and RBI, and Drew Donahue got the win in relief after six innings of work from Noah Chopp, who allowed four runs in the first two innings but one run in the subsequent four innings.
Port picked up two hits apiece from Marcus Schmitt and Nolan Mueller, a pair of sophomores. Mueller and Cody Sadler both drove in two runs.
The Pirates (4-18) staged an upset of their own, however, against Nicolet on June 30, 3-1, marking the team’s only win in its final seven games. Noah Prom earned the win with six strong innings, allowing one run on three hits, and Michael Murphy went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Zach Uselding and Sadler each had two hits, as well. Pat Knowski earned the save.
Port Washington, seeded 12th, was scheduled to meet fifth-seeded West Bend East on the road in the WIAA playoff opener July 11.
Cedarburg (6-19) dropped its final four games heading into the playoffs and was next slated to meet Nicolet. The Bulldogs held the 11th seed, and the Knights were sixth, with the winner facing Menomonee Falls on July 12.