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Oconomowoc Hits Rough Patch of Games

By Dan Flaherty | 6/23/2016
Wisdom tells us gold cannot be formed unless it first passes through the heat of the crucible. The Oconomowoc Five-O's have spent the last two weeks passing through the heat, both literal and figurative. They now face a stretch of the season that will determine whether or not gold was formed in the midst of the flames.

Oconomowoc was on a 5-2 roll before three straight losses to Monches, Sussex and Pewaukee set back the playoff push, the final two defeats in the 90-plus degree humidity of last weekend. But as tough as those defeats were in the moment, a look at the standings shows the Five-O's still with opportunity. They're just a game out of the playoff structure right now and of five games against the league elite (Pewaukee, Sussex, Brookfield Bulldogs), four of those are in the rearview mirror.

The O's are still being paced offensively by Derek Nelson, who leads the team in hits with 15 and is batting a sizzling .536 as he makes a run at a batting title. Nelson is the best of an offense that remains a good blend of veteran savvy to quality young players. Jordan Murray is leading the pitching staff with a solid 3.34 ERA and a good track record against the middle of the league.

And it's that middle of the league that is going to define what the Five-O's ultimate fate will be. They have seven games left against what qualifies as the middle class of the Land O'Lakes Western Division. Winning five or six of those games will likely be enough to return postseason baseball to Oconomowoc.

The opportunity starts on Sunday with a road trip to the Brookfield Blue Sox and then with a doubleheader over the Fourth of July holiday against the West Bend 7-Up and the Brookfield Blue Sox.

It was the legendary Irish writer William Butler Yates who said "Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot, but rather make the iron hot by striking." The time to strike begins on Sunday.

"If you want to bury us, go ahead," a defiant manager Steve Rhoads last Sunday after the third straight loss. "We're going to bounce back. And you can print that."