GRAND CHUTE, Wis. – The 2023 State Baseball Tournament produced champions in four divisions at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium Thursday.
Fifth-seeded Whitefish Bay (25-7) defeated second-seeded Hortonville (26-5) 5-1 in the Division 1 championship game.
The Blue Dukes scored all five of their runs in the first two innings. After a single tally in the first inning on a hit batter and three walks, they scored four times in the second, all after two outs. Jack Counsell started the rally with a double and scored on a single by J.D. Dix. After a wild pitch, Dix scored on an Austin Weinke single. Two runs scored later in the inning on an error and a bases-loaded walk.
Hortonville’s one run came in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Joe Fischer, driving in Brett Sommer, who had walked earlier in the inning.
Dix and Weinke both collected two hits and drove in a run to lead the Blue Dukes’ offense. Tyler Andrews was credited with the win, allowing just one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, and Charlie McIntyre struck out the only batter he faced to end the game in relief of Andrews.
Hortonville’s offense was led by Camden Kuhnke and Thomas Burns with two hits apiece. Starting pitcher Kolden Hunter was charged with the loss. He worked an innings and two-thirds before being relieved by Kuhnke, who worked 5 1/3, surrendering no runs on two hits with nine strikeouts.
Whitefish Bay wins its first title in its first appearance in the spring season tournament. The Blue Dukes made two appearances in the State Summer Baseball Tournament before it was discontinued. Hortonville finishes runner-up in its ninth State appearance.
Top-seeded Denmark (30-2) became just the third program in the history of the spring baseball season to win three straight championship by capturing the Division 2 title with a 3-2 win over second-seeded St. Thomas More (27-3) in 11 innings.
The Vikings scored first with a run in the top of the first inning, but the Cavaliers tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second. The score remained knotted at 1-1 until the ninth inning when both teams pushed across a run.
Denmark plated what proved to be the winning run in the top of the 11th when John Wertel scored from second on an errant throw by the Cavaliers attempting to complete a double play on a ground ball.
Rheis Johnson and Jaycob Dittmer each had a pair of hits for the Vikings, and Dittmer was credited with the win in relief of Evan Ovsak, who gave up two runs on eight hits in 8 2/3 innings. Dittmer yielded one hit in 2 1/3 innings.
Sam Mommer led the Cavaliers with a game-high three hits in the game, and Brayden Alivo collected a pair of singles. Mommer started on the hill and worked seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits in the no decision. Elijah Niemic was charged with the loss, working four innings and surrendering two runs while striking out seven batters.
The Vikings’ third State title comes in its fifth State Tournament appearance, and St. Thomas More finishes runner-up in its first-ever experience at State.
In Division 3, second-seeded St. Croix Falls (27-3) improved on last season’s runner-up finish to win the championship with a 3-1 win over top-seeded Aquinas (24-3) in the final.
Dylan Smith yielded a run on four hits for the Saints to record the complete game victory on the hill. He also was the only player in the game to record multiple hits with a double and a single. The big hit in the game was a two-out, two-run double in the second inning by Michael Simmons. Simmons also drove in a run with a ground out in the fourth inning.
The Blugolds’ only score in the game came in the fourth inning on an infield RBI single by Waylon Hargrove. Will Deets was saddled with the loss on the mound, yielding four hits and two earned runs.
St. Croix Falls wins the program’s first championship in its third trip to the State Tournament, and Aquinas finishes runner-up in its seventh experience.
Second-seeded Ithaca (21-7) fought back from a 7-0 deficit with eight runs in the final three innings to defeat top-seeded Pecatonica (24-2) and win the Division 4 championship game 8-7.
The Vikings scored five runs in the third inning, fueled by four hits and two Bulldogs’ errors. They added two more runs in the fifth inning before Ithaca began its comeback with a run in the bottom half of the fifth. After the Bulldogs cut their deficit to 7-4 with three runs in the sixth, they scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off victory.
Ethan Cockroft provided the walk-off dramatics with a two-out single to drive in Micah Salisbury with the winning run. Salisbury, Lincoln Manning and Logan Anderson each collected a pair of hits to lead the Ithaca offense. Manning was credited with the victory on the hill for the Bulldogs in relief of Salisbury.
Tyler McKeon and Lukas Rue led Pecatonica with two hits each, and Coy Ruegsegger was charged with the loss in relief of McKeon.
Ithaca wins the program’s second State championship in its fifth appearance in the tournament, and Pecatonica finishes runner-up in its first-ever experience at State.
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