Baseball season ends a game short of state tourney action, Robins defeat Jaguars but fall to Pirates|
In the end it all came down to one, two and three as the Red Robin baseball team’s season came to a close Thursday at the WIAA Division 1 sectional final game hosted by Bay Port High School.
No. 1 seeded Pirates prevailed in the end, defeating No. 3 Antigo 10-0 in five innings to earn the sectional title and its 10th trip to the state tournament. In a game postponed by Tuesday’s rain storm, Ashwaubenon, the No. 2 seed, was not as fortunate in its bid as Antigo outlasted the Jaguars 5-4 in a 10 inning contest.
“This was another incredible game,” Robins Coach Dan Bastle noted. “As the Ashwaubenon coach said, ‘it’s a shame that someone had to lose.’ They (Ashwaubenon) are an incredible team that displays a tremendous amount of respect for the game and their opposing team.”
Jaguar coach Adam Kilp likened the sectional semifinal to the 1975 World Series Game 6 between Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds.
“What kept coming to mind yesterday was Pete Rose and Carlton Fisk having a little ‘plate conversation’ with both of them agreeing what a tremendous game they were in the midst of and Rose commenting that its a shame that someone has to lose,” Kilp said.
Antigo jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the middle of the fourth as starting Robins pitcher Erik Schielke restricted Ashwaubenon to two runs by the end of the inning.
“Erik pitched another great game. He struggled at times with his command but did enough to get by—he’s a grinder,” Bastle said. “He’s such a tough kid and has a strong desire to succeed, he’s going to do well at Stevens Point.”
Blake Kirsch stepped in partway through the fifth allowing two additional runs for the Jaguars while Justen Wegter was the closer.
By the end of regulation, Ashwaubenon managed to knot the contest at 4-all sending the game into extra innings. Neither team could plate a run in the eighth or ninth inning, although the Jaguars had ample opportunity only to have the Robins defense shut them down.
“Kirsch pitched and hit incredible again today showing why he’s all-conference material,” Bastle said. “Our defense played great behind all of our pitchers; the players communicated well and made all the routine plays.”
“Wegter took over after Kirsch and pitched incredible as well. I would say that’s the best I’ve seen him throw all year. His curve ball was really working, keeping them off balance,” he added.
With bases loaded in the top of the 10th, Antigo sat poised to take control back. A poorly placed toss by Ashwaubenon pitcher Cole Hanson struck Antigo’s Brett Greening, a move that turned out to be the Robins’ game winning run.
The strong Antigo contingent which rivaled Ashwaubenon’s fan base truly got their fill of baseball as the Robins pulled out a nail-biting win.
Game 2 was not as enjoyable, at least not from a Red Robin standpoint as Bay Port did not take long to show why they were the No. 1 seed.
A squad that looked more like a well-oiled college team rapped starter Randy Krebs for three runs in the first inning. Krebs was replaced by Corey Stensberg midway through the second. With two on and one out, Pirates Brett Neuville pounded out a three-run homer for the 6-0 lead.
Neuville controlled the mound as well, for Bay Port. In five innings of work he only allowed one hit and struck out six. Kirsch played the spoiler to the attempted no-hitter.
Antigo finished the impressive year 19-4 after several come-back from behind wins.
“We really showed a great deal of tenacity,” Bastle concluded. “We played every game to the end and I expect our graduating seniors to do the same thing in life.”
Bay Port, now 22-2 will face Hartford Union (9-11) Tuesday at the state tournament in Division 1 quarterfinals with the winner taking on either Stevens Point (25-4) or Kenosha Bradford (22-5).
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