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Averkamp's pitching sparks Germantown baseball team to tourney title

Hawks beat Mukwonago and Franklin

June 23, 2014

Admittedly, it has been quite a senior year for Germantown's Jon Averkamp.

· All-State volleyball player who led the Warhawks to a tough loss in an epic WIAA state championship match.

· Power forward and doer of all hard jobs on the the three-time WIAA state championship basketball team.

· WIAA Scholar/Athlete and scholarship basketball player to St. Cloud State (Minn.).

Now you can add talented pitcher and first baseman for the Warhawk baseball team, a sport he has not played since his freshman year.

"I just thought it be fun to come out one last time," he said after a recent game.

And Warhawk coach Jeff Wolf is mighty glad he did as the 6-foot-7 Averkamp threw a two-hit, nine-strikeout, complete-game victory in a 6-2 semifinal win over Mukwonago in the Franklin Saber Woodbat Classic on Saturday, June 21.

He was followed by a similar effort from teammate Nathan Steusser (four walks and two strikeouts), who beat the host Sabers by the same 6-2 score in the championship game later that day as Germantown scored a much-needed tournament title.

"It was just really fun to watch him," said Wolf of Averkamp. "He performed very well and he got us a win. And that was as hard as I've ever seen him throw. He kept it down and he threw strikes and the defense played well behind him.

"Such a great athlete to have on the team and he's won three state titles (in basketball), so you know he's going to be cool under pressure."

The two victories in the tournament put a nice capper on an uneven week for the Warhawks, who are now 7-8 on the season (3-5 in North Shore play). They fell to North Shore opponent West Bend West 4-0, on Thursday, June 19, after beating fellow NSC foe Nicolet, 4-3, in a wild decision on Tuesday, June 17.

They also had a Friday, June 20 home game with Grafton postponed. It will be replayed on Wednesday, July 2.

This week, the Warhawks are in the midst of a four-game slate, including games at Homestead on Thursday, June 26, and at West Bend East on Friday, June 27 (both at 5:30 p.m.). They will host Port Washington on Monday, June 30, and West Bend East on Tuesday, July 1, both at 5:30 p.m.

A three-run third gave Germantown the lead for good against Mukwonago and it was Averkamp who sparked the rally with an RBI triple. Initially, Averkamp thought he was supposed to bunt, but after getting the signs straightened out, he rapped the three-bagger.

Ben Eggert and Randy Finger also had big hits in the inning. Germantown added two more runs in the fourth as Alex Kumbier had three hits and Eggert and Zach Benn had two each.

"We had a lot of confidence when Jon was on the mound," said Wolf. "We almost seemed like a different team."

Averkamp was also named the tournament MVP.

In the final, the junior Steusser had to work a little harder, scattering six hits. He and the Warhawks fell behind 1-0 in the bottom of the third but then took the lead for good with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.

Again, Finger had another big two-out hit as he had three RBIs.

Wolf said that Steusser was a motivated player.

"It was funny, he was starting to struggle in the middle innings," said Wolf, "but he must have heard me talk to Zach Benn about starting to get warmed up and that gave him a big boost (laughs).

"This was such a boost for our entire staff because we haven't had a lot of complete games this season. Overall, this was a real good effort; we finally combined some good pitching with some good defense and some timely hitting."

The loss to West was extremely frustrating, said Wolf, as the Warhawks had 14 baserunners but could not find a way to score. Trevor Murphy took the loss as as Eggert had three hits and Kumbier two.

Against a struggling Nicolet squad, the Warhawks trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh but then got a two-run single from Joey Sykora to tie the score and Justin Powalish got the winning base hit.

"We actually had the bases loaded with one out and I gave him (Powalish) one strike to get the squeeze down," said Wolf. "He didn't and we lost a runner caught in rundown, but then Justin clutched up and got the big hit. The guys are becoming more and more optimistic. I think we're going to peak at the right time."

Sykora finished with four hits on the night. Finger stuck the game out, throwing a complete game six-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk.

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