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Thursday, June 11, 2015

State Spring Baseball Tournament Preview

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS:  The 68th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Spring Baseball State Tournament will take place Tuesday-Thursday, June 16-18, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. Ticket prices for the tourney are $8 per session and $14 for an all-day admission ticket. Tickets are available at the stadium.

CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE AND PAIRINGS:  The State Spring Baseball Tournament features four divisions. The single elimination tournament includes eight teams in Division 1 and four each in Divisions 2, 3 and 4. The second game of each session will follow the first game.

Tuesday, June 16
Division 1 Quarterfinals - 8 a.m.
Game 1 - Kimberly (24-4) vs. Kenosha Indian Trail (22-7)
Game 2 - River Falls (20-3) vs. Milwaukee Reagan (20-7)*
Division 1 Quarterfinals - 1 p.m.
Game 3 - Bay Port (24-4) vs. Oconomowoc (20-7)
Game 4 - Baraboo (22-6) vs. Janesville Craig (26-1)*
Division 1 Semifinals - 6 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2
Game 6 - Winner of Game #3 vs. Winner of Game #4*

Wednesday, June 17
Division 4 Semifinals - 8 a.m.
Game 1 - Spring Valley (19-3) vs. Rio (20-4)
Game 2 - Rib Lake (18-7) vs. Ithaca (22-3)*
Division 3 Semifinals - 1 p.m.
Game 1 - Chequamegon (21-6) vs. Lake Country Lutheran (26-2)
Game 2 - Marathon (26-2) vs. Aquinas (26-3)*
Division 2 Semifinals - 6 p.m.
Game 1 - West Salem (23-4) vs. Milwaukee Lutheran (17-13)
Game 2 - Notre Dame (19-10) vs. River Valley (22-6)*

Thursday, June 18
Division 4 Final -  9:05 a.m.
Game 3 - Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2
Division 3 Final -  12:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2
Division 2 Final -  3:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Winner of Game #1 vs. Winner of Game #2
Division 1 Final - 6:05 p.m.
Game 7 - Winner of Game #5 vs. Winner of Game #6
* Begins approximately 35 min. following game 1 of session.

PRE-FINALS LIVE ON NFHS NETWORK:  The Division 1 quarterfinals and the semifinals of all four divisions of the WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, log-on to www.nfhsnetwork.com and click on the “JOIN NOW” button in the upper right corner of the page.

FINALS AIRED LIVE ON FS WISCONSIN:  Watch the WIAA State Spring Baseball Championship finals of all four divisions live on FS Wisconsin. Check local cable listings for the channel in your area.  

TEAM TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The WIAA has been sponsoring the State Spring Baseball Tournament since 1948. Sun Prairie has won the most State championships with eight, followed by Appleton West with seven, and then Catholic Central and Nekoosa with five. La Crosse Central has appeared in the most State Tournaments with 18. Milwaukee Bradley and Stevens Point have reached State 15 times; Appleton West has appeared in 14; Oconomowoc 13, and Bay Port, Eau Claire Memorial, Fond du Lac, Middleton and Sun Prairie are next with 12 State appearances. 

LAST YEAR:  Sun Prairie won its third consecutive Division 1 championship with a 5-2 win over Kimberly in the title game. Jefferson won the Division 2 title with a six-inning, 10-0 victory over Viroqua in the championship final. Wisconsin Heights captured the Division 3 championship with a 6-0 shutout over Oconto, and Lake Country Lutheran downed McDonell Central 11-7 in 11 innings in the Division 4 championship game.

THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  Last year’s runner-up Kimberly will appear in the State Tournament for the second year in a row and for the ninth time overall. The Papermakers won the Division 1 title in 2007 and the Class B championship in 1989. They have finished runner-up four times, including 1988, 1993, 2008 and again in 2014. The Papermakers are the champions of the Fox Valley Association this spring, and they are the winners of the Appleton West Sectional following a 17-12 slugfest win over West De Pere in the final. Oconomowoc is back at State for the first time since 2012 and for the 14th time overall. The Raccoons won consecutive Class A championships in 1980 and 1981 and the State title when there was just one classification in 1959. In addition, they placed runner-up in 1991, 1992 and 1996. They represent the Sun Prairie Sectional after ousting Watertown 4-2 in the final. They finished third in the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference standings this season. Bay Port returns to State for the 12th time and for the fourth straight season. Moreover, the Pirates have qualified nine times over the past 13 seasons. They won back-to-back championships in 2009-10 and finished runner-up in 2012. They are the champions of the Fox River Classic Conference this spring and have qualified for State again with a 5-1 win over Green Bay Preble in the sectional final played at Green Bay Southwest. Janesville Craig is making its first appearance since 2009 and its 12th overall. The Cougars have won three State titles. They were the back-to-back Class A champions in 1983-84 and added a Division 1 championship in 1998. They also finished runner-up in 1999 and 2001. The Cougars trounced Verona 10-0 in five innings in the sectional final hosted by Janesville Parker to earn their way into the State Tournament field. They are the champions of the Big Eight Conference this season. Baraboo seeks its first win in State Tournament competition, having lost in the first round in each of its first two appearances in 1961 and then again in 2000. The Thunderbirds edged La Crosse Central 8-7 in the final of the sectional held in La Crosse, and they finished runner-up in the Badger Conference in 2015. River Falls is making only its second appearance in the State Tournament. Its only previous experience was 39 years ago in 1976 when the Wildcats lost in the quarterfinals of a one-division format. Their return to the tournament was the result of a 5-4 victory over Chippewa Falls in the final of the sectional held at River Falls. The Wildcats finished atop the standings of the Big Rivers Conference this season. Milwaukee Reagan is making its first-ever State appearance, which was earned by blanking Arrowhead 5-0 in the final of the Milwaukee Bay View Sectional. The Huskies were the champions of the Milwaukee City Conference this spring. Kenosha Indian Trail is also making its first appearance in the State Tournament. The Hawks advanced through the Union Grove Sectional, which culminated with an 8-1 win over Wilmot in the final. They finished runner-up in the Southeast Conference standings this spring.

THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Notre Dame advances to the State Tournament for the third straight season and for the fourth time in the last five years, which accounts for its overall total of appearances. The Tritons finished runner-up in 2013, and lost in the semifinals last season and in 2011. They earned their way into the State semifinals with a 5-0 win over Denmark in the Chilton Sectional final. The Tritons placed second in the Fox River Classic Conference this season. River Valley will participate in the State Tournament for the fourth time, with the most recent experience coming in 2003. In each of the Blackhawks’ previous appearances, they were eliminated from title contention in the semifinals. They beat Lodi 14-5 in the sectional final held at Evansville to advance to the final field of four. The Blackhawks finished second in the Southwest Conference this season. Milwaukee Lutheran is back in the State Tournament for the first time since 2003, which capped a string of three straight appearances and back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003. This is their fourth tournament appearance overall and it came by virtue of a 3-1 win over Waupaca in the Mayville Sectional final. The Red Knights placed seventh in the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference this spring. West Salem is making its first appearance in the State Spring Baseball Tournament. However, prior to making the switch to the spring season, the Panthers made seven appearances in the State Summer Baseball Tournament, including four straight appearances from 2008-11. Their furthest advance in that tournament was to the semifinals in 2002 and 2010. They tied Westby for first place in the Coulee Conference this year and earned the opportunity to continue playing for a State title by defeating Hayward 8-5 in the sectional final played at Altoona.

THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Last year’s Division 4 champion Lake Country Lutheran is making its third straight State Tournament appearance, which also accounts for its overall. The Lightning finished runner-up in their first experience at State in 2013. They move up a division in pursuit of their second straight title. The Lightning needed eight innings in the Markesan Sectional final to earn a 2-1 win over Laconia.  They are the champions in the Midwest Classic Conference this year. Marathon returns to State for the first time since 2010 when the Red Raiders captured the State crown. That outcome ended a run of three straight State appearances. The Red Raiders also won state titles in their first two appearances, in 1992 and 2008. All tolled, they have possession of three championships. They return to the tournament field following a decisive 10-1 win over Coleman in the sectional final held at Marathon. The Red Raiders are the champions of the South Division of the Marawood Conference. Aquinas makes its fifth appearance in the tournament. The Blugolds won the State title in 2007 and finished runner-up in 2008 and in its most recent experience in 2010. They finished in first place in the Mississippi Valley Conference this season. They advanced their way through the Osseo-Fairchild Sectional by blanking Wisconsin Heights 9-0 in the final. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Blugolds won four straight baseball titles in the former WISAA (1984-87). Chequamegon is making its first appearance at State. However, before the district was created by the merger of Park Falls and Glidden, Park Falls finished runner-up in Division 2 in both 2000 and 2003. Prior to switching to the spring season, Park Falls qualified for the summer State Tournament on four occasions. Its most notable result was a runner-up finish in 1987. The Screaming Eagles tied Athens for the title in the North Division of the Marawood Conference during the regular season, and they have advanced through the Cumberland Sectional with a 4-2 victory over Durand. 

THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:   Rib Lake returns to the State Tournament field for the first time in 30 seasons and for the third time overall. The Redmen finished runner-up in Class C in 1981 and fell in the semifinals in 1985. They were 6-5 victors over Wausaukee in the Tigerton Sectional final to remain one of four teams still in contention for the State title. The Redmen placed second in the North Division of the Marawood Conference standings this spring behind co-champions Athens and Division 3 qualifier Chequamegon. Ithaca has advanced to the State semifinals for the second straight season following its six-inning, 11-1 thrashing of Brookwood in the Bangor Sectional final. The Bulldogs fell in their semifinal match-up last season. This season, they finished in first place in the Ridge & Valley Conference standings. Spring Valley has qualified only one other time previously. That came prior to divisional play in 1959, when the Cardinals lost in the first round. This season, they shutout Shell Lake 6-0 in the final to be crowned champion of the Bruce Sectional. The Cardinals finished the regular season in first place in the Small Division  of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. Rio will make its first appearance in the State Tournament after its 9-7 triumph over Highland in the Barneveld Sectional final. The Vikings placed first in the South Division of the Trailways Conference standings this season.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  Team information and rosters of qualifying teams for the State Tournament are available on the restricted media area of the WIAA website. 

NEED CREDENTIALS?:  Media requesting credentials for the 2015 WIAA Spring Baseball Championships must be done by submitting the online Media Credential Request form found on the restricted media area of the WIAA website no later than noon Sunday, June 14. Verification of approved credentials is available on the restricted media area on the website. Please verify credential requests have been approved by 2 p.m. the same day as the request deadline. Credentials can be picked up at the ticket window at Fox Cities Stadium.

NEED RESULTS?:  The quickest way to get results will be to access the baseball results page on the WIAA website at: http://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/BaseballSpring.aspx and choose the appropriate links on the Spring Baseball State Tournament results page.  

FOLLOW THE TOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:  Receive the updates of the State Spring Baseball Tournament on Facebook and on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter accounts. The Twitter account is @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaabase.

#  WIAA  #

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