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With the hype behind them, Robins ready for state challenge
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The wait is finally over.

Wednesday evening the Antigo Red Robins will take to the Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton, making their first appearance in the WIAA State Baseball Tournament since 1995.

That accomplishment checked off, the Robins will then focus on the task of proving to everyone, they're just not happy to be there.

“It's hard not to get that mindset as you put so much time and effort to get this far,” head coach Scott Farmer said. “But once the hype is over it comes down to do you just want to be here or do you want to make some noise. The boys are pretty into everything we are working on, we just hope they keep doing what has been working and don't get caught up in the stadium and the crowd.”

That will be no small task, with the 27-2 Bay Conference champions, the West De Pere Phantoms, the opposition for the Division Two semifinal.

“At this point anybody you see is going to be good,” Farmer said. “They have strong pitching and good hitting, we are going to have to beat them, they will not beat themselves, but when it's the last four teams in the state, isn't everyone like that? I know we can pitch, hit and play defense.”

West De Pere carries an 18-game winning streak into the contest, with its only two losses of the season coming by one run each time. The Phantoms fell 8-7 to Seymour on April 8 and dropped a 3-2 game to Kaukauna April 26.

The Phantoms rolled through their playoff slate, beating Freedom 5-1 and Denmark 5-0 in regionals. The team was even more dominating in sectional play, shutting out Waupun 11-0 and getting a measure of revenge on Seymour, with a 13-3 win in the sectional final.

A squad led by a strong senior classes, 13 players in all, will now try to wrap up a dream season with a state title. The Robins are the next obstacle in its path.

“The team that capitalizes on the other team's mistakes will win the game,” Farmer said.

West De Pere is making its fifth appearance at state and first since 2010. The Phantoms won the state title in 2008 and were runners-up in 2006.

The Robins are state for the sixth time in the school history, with its best showing a runner-up finish in 1970. Other state tournament berths came in 1969, 1972, 1981 and 1995.

The run to Appleton has excited the Robin's faithful and a see of maroon is anticipated in the stands Wednesday.

“The support the community gives us has been amazing all season long,” Farmer noted. “The turnout last week was amazing and the amount of people wishing us good luck and offering congratulations is fantastic, we appreciate it all and can't thank everyone enough.”

Antigo holds a 19-5 season record, which included second place in the Great Northern Conference. Sloppy play in a May doubleheader at Medford helped the Raiders capture the GNC title, ending the Robins' reign of six years atop the conference.

Lesson learned. The Robins cleaned up their issues on defense and won five of their final six regular season games, the only blemish, a 2-1 setback to Mosinee.

Antigo dominated its first two opponents in regional play, shutting out Lakeland 9-0 and beating up on Merrill 8-2. The regional final saw the Robins exact revenge on Medford with a 10-6, come-from-behind win.

In sectionals the Robins used a seventh inning rally to escape elimination, with Brady Renfro's grand slam putting them ahead of Northwestern to say in an eventual 12-7 final.

The sectional finale was no match, as Antigo whipped Tomah 7-0 behind clutch hits and the pitching of Renfro and Fleischman to move on to state.

Preparation for state will include an early Tuesday practice before heading to Appleton and taking in some of the division one quarterfinal games. Next up will be a good night's rest and a short practice at Oshkosh North High School Wednesday, before a late lunch and an expected 4 p.m. arrival at Fox Cities Stadium.

As far as pitching and batting lineups, expect few changes for the Robins.

“We are pretty set in what/who we have been using,” Farmer said. “We have our guys on the bench that have a role and may be asked to fill that role early or late in the game if needed.”

Renfro has had the hot bat for the Robins, but a solid lineup may make it difficult for West De Pere to pitch around him. Eric Langseth has been the team's steady lead off hitter, while Eli Fleischman mans the two spot in the order, with Logan Doering and Nevin Cornelius following Renfro in the four and five spots.

“Hard to say what he will see because if you look at what's in front of him, if they keep doing what they have been doing they won't have a place to put Brady,” Farmer explained. “Logan has swinging a better bat as of late, so if they pitch around Brady then if Logan and/or Nevin do what they are capable of, we should be just fine.”

Doering is one of the Robins' four senior leaders, along with the bookends to the batting order, Langseth and Sebastian Noskowiak, as well as Trenton Hubatch.

“The seniors have been fantastic to the team,” Farmer said. “With losing as many as we did last year, we needed leaders to show how things are different at the varsity level. They have really helped the younger guys get it, Logan has been a force behind the plate, Trenton has had a tough year getting on the field regularly but he came to each practice every day and worked hard and did what was asked, when he was called on to do a job he definitely responded well, each and every senior was a vital reason why we are where we are.”

As far as pitching, Renfro will get the start, but the Robins are deep in the arms department, with Noskowiak and Fleischman among a slew of hurlers who have been consistent pitchers.

“We are not afraid to use anyone at anytime of need,” Farmer said.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the other division two semifinal between McFarland (20-9) and Union Grove 26-3) to follow. McFarland is making its first state appearance since 1952, while it is Union Grove's initial state trip.

The winners will meet in the D2 state title game Thursday at 3:05 p.m.

Tickets go on sale one hour prior to Wednesday's game and the cost is $8 per session.
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With the hype behind them, Robins ready for state challenge
space
The wait is finally over.

Wednesday evening the Antigo Red Robins will take to the Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton, making their first appearance in the WIAA State Baseball Tournament since 1995.

That accomplishment checked off, the Robins will then focus on the task of proving to everyone, they're just not happy to be there.

“It's hard not to get that mindset as you put so much time and effort to get this far,” head coach Scott Farmer said. “But once the hype is over it comes down to do you just want to be here or do you want to make some noise. The boys are pretty into everything we are working on, we just hope they keep doing what has been working and don't get caught up in the stadium and the crowd.”

That will be no small task, with the 27-2 Bay Conference champions, the West De Pere Phantoms, the opposition for the Division Two semifinal.

“At this point anybody you see is going to be good,” Farmer said. “They have strong pitching and good hitting, we are going to have to beat them, they will not beat themselves, but when it's the last four teams in the state, isn't everyone like that? I know we can pitch, hit and play defense.”

West De Pere carries an 18-game winning streak into the contest, with its only two losses of the season coming by one run each time. The Phantoms fell 8-7 to Seymour on April 8 and dropped a 3-2 game to Kaukauna April 26.

The Phantoms rolled through their playoff slate, beating Freedom 5-1 and Denmark 5-0 in regionals. The team was even more dominating in sectional play, shutting out Waupun 11-0 and getting a measure of revenge on Seymour, with a 13-3 win in the sectional final.

A squad led by a strong senior classes, 13 players in all, will now try to wrap up a dream season with a state title. The Robins are the next obstacle in its path.

“The team that capitalizes on the other team's mistakes will win the game,” Farmer said.

West De Pere is making its fifth appearance at state and first since 2010. The Phantoms won the state title in 2008 and were runners-up in 2006.

The Robins are state for the sixth time in the school history, with its best showing a runner-up finish in 1970. Other state tournament berths came in 1969, 1972, 1981 and 1995.

The run to Appleton has excited the Robin's faithful and a see of maroon is anticipated in the stands Wednesday.

“The support the community gives us has been amazing all season long,” Farmer noted. “The turnout last week was amazing and the amount of people wishing us good luck and offering congratulations is fantastic, we appreciate it all and can't thank everyone enough.”

Antigo holds a 19-5 season record, which included second place in the Great Northern Conference. Sloppy play in a May doubleheader at Medford helped the Raiders capture the GNC title, ending the Robins' reign of six years atop the conference.

Lesson learned. The Robins cleaned up their issues on defense and won five of their final six regular season games, the only blemish, a 2-1 setback to Mosinee.

Antigo dominated its first two opponents in regional play, shutting out Lakeland 9-0 and beating up on Merrill 8-2. The regional final saw the Robins exact revenge on Medford with a 10-6, come-from-behind win.

In sectionals the Robins used a seventh inning rally to escape elimination, with Brady Renfro's grand slam putting them ahead of Northwestern to say in an eventual 12-7 final.

The sectional finale was no match, as Antigo whipped Tomah 7-0 behind clutch hits and the pitching of Renfro and Fleischman to move on to state.

Preparation for state will include an early Tuesday practice before heading to Appleton and taking in some of the division one quarterfinal games. Next up will be a good night's rest and a short practice at Oshkosh North High School Wednesday, before a late lunch and an expected 4 p.m. arrival at Fox Cities Stadium.

As far as pitching and batting lineups, expect few changes for the Robins.

“We are pretty set in what/who we have been using,” Farmer said. “We have our guys on the bench that have a role and may be asked to fill that role early or late in the game if needed.”

Renfro has had the hot bat for the Robins, but a solid lineup may make it difficult for West De Pere to pitch around him. Eric Langseth has been the team's steady lead off hitter, while Eli Fleischman mans the two spot in the order, with Logan Doering and Nevin Cornelius following Renfro in the four and five spots.

“Hard to say what he will see because if you look at what's in front of him, if they keep doing what they have been doing they won't have a place to put Brady,” Farmer explained. “Logan has swinging a better bat as of late, so if they pitch around Brady then if Logan and/or Nevin do what they are capable of, we should be just fine.”

Doering is one of the Robins' four senior leaders, along with the bookends to the batting order, Langseth and Sebastian Noskowiak, as well as Trenton Hubatch.

“The seniors have been fantastic to the team,” Farmer said. “With losing as many as we did last year, we needed leaders to show how things are different at the varsity level. They have really helped the younger guys get it, Logan has been a force behind the plate, Trenton has had a tough year getting on the field regularly but he came to each practice every day and worked hard and did what was asked, when he was called on to do a job he definitely responded well, each and every senior was a vital reason why we are where we are.”

As far as pitching, Renfro will get the start, but the Robins are deep in the arms department, with Noskowiak and Fleischman among a slew of hurlers who have been consistent pitchers.

“We are not afraid to use anyone at anytime of need,” Farmer said.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the other division two semifinal between McFarland (20-9) and Union Grove 26-3) to follow. McFarland is making its first state appearance since 1952, while it is Union Grove's initial state trip.

The winners will meet in the D2 state title game Thursday at 3:05 p.m.

Tickets go on sale one hour prior to Wednesday's game and the cost is $8 per session.
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
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Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
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612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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