There was a fine line separating the 20-12 Germantown baseball team from a good season and a truly great season, and the Warhawks were oh-so-close to breaking through to even greater things.
Still, Warhawks coach Jeff Wolf feels the team performed up to its capabilities and then some this summer.
"When you win 20 games, that's a pretty good season," said Wolf. "Every coach looks at a few games where we say 'woulda, coulda, shoulda.' The West Bend West games come to mind. But we had an extremely young team in terms of position players, so every close game gave us a little more experience though they may have hurt our chances in conference."
Those close loses early paid off big in the second half of the season for the Warhawks. The turning point came June 25. The Warhawks were coming off a rough three-loss North Shore Conference week and went to UW-Whitewater for some relief and got it in the pair of a nonconference wins over Pius XI and Brookfield East.
Those victories started a six-game winning streak for the team including victories over good Homestead and Whitefish Bay teams and a walk-off triumph over West Bend East. It was part of a strong nonconference effort for Germantown that included titles in the Kapco and Harvey Kuenn Tournaments.
"We were 11-1 nonconference, which we haven't done in a long time," said Wolf.
What really fueled the Warhawks resurgence this summer were the bats. The team batting average was.330 after the last couple of seasons were in the mid .200s.
The offense was led by North Shore Conference first-team infielder and team MVP Nate Seymour, who hit .432 with 20 RBIs, eight doubles and 25 runs scored. Seymour was also the team ace with a 5-2 record, two saves, a 2.16 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 20 walks.
Wolf said that Seymour changed the team..
"He was by far our most consistent player day in and day out," said Wolf. "Nate just brought his 'A' game everyday."
Other top hitters included junior first-team All-NSC outfielder Connor Stoming (.402 BA, team high 25 RBI, 23 runs and 13 walks); senior outfielder Quinn Eyre (.389, team high 30 runs scored); junior pitcher Bryce Thomas, senior catcher Mike Hensel (.364), senior infielder/pitcher Joe Gahm (.356) and freshman infielder Jonathan Wizner (.324).
Wolf said the freshman shortstop Wizner has a tremendous future in front him as he earned honorable mention All-NSC.
Gahm was a club team player for three seasons before joining the Warhawks this season. He left mid-summer as he was slated to play and go to school at Auburn.
He turned in a terrific 10 strikeout pitching effort in a 2-0 loss to North Shore Conference champ West Bend West on June 21. Another one of Wolf's "woulda, coulds, shoulda" games was a 7-4 decision to West on June 2 where the Warhawks had the Spartans on the ropes early.
Stoming was also a pleasant surprise offensively as a converted infielder playing in the outfield.
"He and Nate (Seymour) did a great job of coming up big for us on a regular basis," Wolf said.
They also contributed mightily to what Wolf also noted was a much better team hitting effort with runners in scoring position this season.
"A lot of big two-out hits this season," he said.
Wolf was also pleased with how the Warhawks were able to develop depth on the pitching mound as Thomas (4-1, 2.27 ERA); senior Mack Miller (2-3, 2.94 ERA); junior Noah Imrie (1-1, 2.15 era) and sophomore Blake Kunz (3-1, 3.15 ERA) all helped out greatly. Germantown had a team ERA of 3.11 and allowed an opposing team on-base average of just .235.
"We were very fortunate to have that," said Wolf. 'We will miss Nate, but we will have most of our pitching back."
He added that the catcher Hensel, a second-team All-North Shore Conference selection, did a great job handling the pitchers.
"That was a big part of why we were so successful (pitching)," Wolf said.
Wolf also said he got great leadership out of the co-captains Hensel, Eyre and Turner Wagie.
The season had a positive ending when the Warhawks beat West Bend East in a WIAA regional semifinal and then lost a competitive 5-2 decision to powerful West in the regional final.
"I was really impressed by what West did this summer," said Wolf. "I thought four or five losses could wind up winning the league, but for West to lose only one game (17-1) with only one senior was very impressive." Germantown finished 8-10 in NSC play.
Seniors for the Warhawks this season included Seymour, Hensel, Eyre, Gahm, Miller, Arthur Harmon, Wyatt Ewert and Wagie and Wolf has great reason for encouragement in the future, as the junior varsity and freshman teams combined to lose only five games on the summer.
Wolf added that the summer was very enjoyable.
"Just a great group of guys," he said.