Coleman & Niagara Bow Out in Sectional Finals
So Close, But Yet So
Far Away for Coleman
Epic may be an understatement for Coleman's 2-1 extra inning win over St. Mary's Catholic. However, it may have taken a bit more from the tank to win than originally hoped. In the sectional title game Tuesday, the Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead, looking like the Coleman team everyone is used to. Once momentum shifted in the fourth, it never came back for the guys in green. The Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds rallied to score six unanswered and win the contest 6-3 over Coleman, advancing to the state tournament at Fox Cities Stadium.
"The first game we played outstanding, the second game we played good for three innings and then it seemed like the steam and everything just went, fell apart. The guys just kind of ran out of gas and we ended up making too many simple mistakes." Coleman Head Coach Kent Casper added, "There's no doubt it was that, but you can't look at that, you have to look at what the opportunities are in front of you."
Jake Steeno, as he did often this season, laced a single in the second inning to start the Cougar rally. Gunnar Patz drew a walk and Zach Manning hit into a fielder's choice. Manning took second on the first-and-third situation. With one-out, Austin Tachick delivered a clutch, two-RBI double to score Steeno and Manning. A wild pitch sent Tachick to third. Austin Marquardt drew a two-out walk. An errant pickoff attempt to first base allowed Tachick to score and sent Marquardt all the way to third base. On the play, Marquardt waited for a moment and started home again, but quick reactions by the defense led to Marquardt being tagged out at home plate. Nevertheless, Coleman jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the inning.
Marquardt quickly bounced back in the bottom of the second inning striking out two of three batters and sitting down the Thunderbirds in order. Coleman did nearly the same in their half of the third inning as Matt Osterberg connected on a single but a groundout and two pop-outs ended the inning. Iola's Connor Kurki led off bottom of the third inning with a base hit and he stole second base. Two pop-outs and a strikeout quickly ended the threat. Heading into the fourth inning, Coleman firmly held their 3-0 lead.
The Cougars threatened in the top of the fourth inning with a two-out rally. Manning drew a walk and Tachick laced a single. The single sent Manning to third and Tachick stole second base. With runners on second and third a groundout ended the threat. After this, seemingly all of the momentum jumped to the third base dugout, in the hands of the Thunderbirds.
Jayden Sivertsen drew a leadoff walk for the Thunderbirds. Ethan Olson singled and sent Sivertsen to third base. Olson stole second on the next pitch and Seth Korb drilled an RBI single to score Sivertsen. As Korb stole second base, Olson was able to steal home for the Thunderbirds' second run of the game. Nick Hansen drew a walk and would come around to tie the ball game on Justin Sivertsen's single. After the rally, Iola knotted the score at 3-3.
"I think what happened, that maybe took a little steam out of [Austin Marquardt], was when the ball was thrown away, he came all the way around and had the collision at home plate. I think from that point on something there wasn't quite right. Until that point he had pitched quite well," said Coach Casper of the play at home.
Coleman was sat down one, two, three in the top of the fifth on a matter of just five pitches and the T-Birds were back at it. Carter Kurki led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. Jayden Sivertsen followed with a single and sent Kurki to third. Kurki stole second base and on the play, a throw from second was sent to home plate as Sivertsen ran home and the ball went wide. Sivertsen was safe on the play and Kurki came all the way around the bases to score on the error. Iola jumped ahead 5-3.
Another, atypical inning at-bat for Coleman occurred as they went down, in order, again, bringing the T-Birds back to the plate. Bryce Huettner was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Justin Sivertsen's single. This extended the lead to 6-3.
In their final at-bat, the Cougars didn't go quietly. A pop-out and a strikeout started the inning. With two outs, Marquardt and Cole Woulf hit back-to-back singles. As the tying run came to the plate, a groundout ended the game and the Coleman Cougars' playoffs hopes were ended.
Coleman's Zach Manning was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in two innings of work. Austin Tachick finished his Cougar career with a 2-for-3 game. Matt Osterberg, also playing in his final game with Coleman, went 2-for-4 in the contest.
"I told them to keep their head up and I'm proud of them. They've had a great year. We didn't play good baseball this last game and that's the reason we're not moving on, but we still have to be proud of what we've accomplished." Coach Casper added, "For the seniors, we said they've had a great run and we're proud of them. They did everything that was expected of them. That's what sports is, you're up, you're down, and sometimes things don't go your way. It's an emotional ride, but that's sports."
Coleman Stops St. Mary's
49 Game Win Streak,
Moves To Sectional Final
The Coleman Cougars faced off against the St. Mary's Catholic Zephyrs of Menasha Tuesday morning to begin the sectional tournament hosted by Crivitz High School. After eight innings the Cougars took the win 2-1. A feather in the hat of the Cougars no doubt. But there was also another feather that was put in that hat, the ending of one of the nation's longest standing win streaks, held by the Zephyrs which stood at 49.
With the sun beating down on the diamond of Crivtiz high school the teams faced some heat. But the heat from the sun was the least of their worries. The real heat was emanating from the mound where two of the states finest pitching talents faced off for a showdown of epic portions.
By now anyone who follows baseball in the area knows Coleman's southpaw standout Matt Osterberg or as he is more commonly known on the diamond as "Matty Ice". Sure he iced plenty of hitters Tuesday morning, but it was the heat he brought that took the wind out of the Zephyrs.
"Matty pitched an outstanding game. But that's what we were expecting," said Coleman Head Coach Kent Casper. "Anytime we have a big ball game to win, he's always ready. And when you have someone as reliable as him you know you always have a chance to win. The boys made the plays they had to and he did the rest."
By the eighth inning Osterberg had struck out 11 hitters while walking just one and allowing only three hits and one earned run.
But Osterberg's pitching was only half of what made this game such a nail bitter.
St. Mary's Ryan Conn brought plenty of heat to make the Cougars sweat a bit. By the end of his seven and 1/3 innings he had held the Cougars to five hits and two earned runs while striking out five.
"St. Mary's is a great team, they are outstandingly well disciplined. When a team holds the longest win streak in the state of Wisconsin you know they are good. But we brought that to an end today," said Casper. "Conn is a very good pitcher. We had him scouted seven times. With the radar on him he was throwing about 75 but today he was around 80, so he bought the heat today."
After a quick top of the inning by the Cougars' Osterberg went to work, striking out two to help shut down the Zephyrs first plate appearance.
The second was up and down for both teams. Then the third came and with it an opening in the St. Mary's defense.
With two outs and no one on , Austin Marquardt doubled on a hit to shallow center that saw the fielder attempt a diving catch that was just out of his reach. Cole Woulf stepped up to the plate next and hit a single that led to an overthrow that created the opening Marquardt needed to race to the plate, getting home ahead of the throw.
Osterberg protected the small lead in the bottom of the inning with another two strikeout frame.
Blanchard started the fourth with a single, advanced to second off a Jake Steeno sacrifice fly and stole third. But a strikeout ended the chance for a two run lead.
The bottom of the fifth was more Osterberg as he put down two more hitters with "K's".
Coleman threatened during the sixth as Osterberg singled. Courtesy runner Mason Risner advanced to second off a Blanchard single but the inning was ended by a strikeout and a short hit to the infield.
The Zephyrs tied things up in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a lead off double by T.J. Skrzpczak. Caden Uhlenbrauck brought the run in off a single to shallow left field for the 1-1 tie.
It would not be until extra innings that the Cougars secured the one run lead needed for the win.
Cole Woulf walked in the second at bat of the inning while Osterberg doubled. A wild pitch gave Woulf a wide open sprint to the plate for the one run lead.
Osterberg struck out two in the bottom of the eighth before closing pitcher Austin Marquardt stepped in for the last at bat which turned into a fly out to center field to end the game.
After the game an amped up Osterberg spoke on behalf of his team,"I'm just ecstatic," said Osterberg. "To take out a team like that, just feels great. Our guys played amazing defense today, Jacob read the ball great, Marquardt had great throws and Jordan and the rest of the guys locked down everything."
At the plate Blanchard was two of three while Osterberg was two of four. Woulf was one of two with a run and an RBI while Marquardt was one of four with one run.
St. Mary's Caden Uhlenbrauck, Eli Neuman and Skrzypczak all went one for three.
Regional Title With
Win Over Crivitz
With a berth to sectionals on the line, the Coleman Cougars hosted the Crivitz Wolverines Wednesday in their third matchup of the season. After winning the previous two by shutouts, the Cougars found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Down by one run heading into the third inning, Coleman responded with six runs, helping them to an 8-2 victory.
A unique opportunity was in place for Crivitz as the sectionals this year will be held at the Crivitz Ball Park. Looking for an opportunity to play at home in a special venue, they had to first beat a Coleman Cougars squad that has had opponent's number all year.
After two scoreless innings featuring just one batter reaching base safely, the Wolverines drew first blood. Charlie Johnsen drew a one-out walk and Aaron Tormay followed up with a hit-by-pitch. Johnson reached third base on an error and Jakob Voss executed a sacrifice bunt in front of the pitchers' mound. Cougar pitcher Matt Osterberg tried to scoop the ball to Donovan Salewski at home plate, but Johnsen slid in safely. Crivitz took the first lead of the game at 1-0.
Anyone that has seen the Cougars play this season knows when their bats are hot and Osterberg is on the mound, they are a difficult team to stop. Zack Manning ignited the Coleman offense in the third with a leadoff base hit. Austin Tachick was then hit by a pitch. After a flyout, Cole Woulf singled home Manning and an error allowed Tachick and Woulf to advance to second and third. Another flyout was recorded for the second out of the inning, but four consecutive hits opened the flood gates. Jordan Blanchard, Donovan Salewski and Gunnar Patz each connected on singles while Jake Steeno ripped a double. After all was said and done, Coleman scored six runs in the inning to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
"The last time we faced [Werner], we didn't score much, but we hit the ball hard right at them. You just hope, somewhere, if you keep hitting the ball hard, it's going to find a hole and eventually it did. Once everything started going, a few hits, then everybody started feeling comfortable," said Coleman Head Coach Kent Casper.
Osterberg sat down the Wolverines in order in the fourth by a strikeout, flyout and another strikeout. Coleman quickly came back to the plate and added another run. Woulf led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Steeno drew a two-out walk and purposely got himself into a pickle between first and second. Steeno held out long enough for Woulf to score and on the throw home Steeno was safe at second base. Coleman added a run for a 7-1 advantage.
Coleman's final run came in the fifth as Patz reached safely on an error. The speedster easily stole second base and scored on a single from Manning.
In their final at bat, Crivitz pushed across another run. Brandon LaRue connected on a base hit, advanced to third on two groundouts, and eventually was plated on Tormay's single to left. This brought the score to its eventual final, 8-2, as the Coleman Cougars advanced to sectionals.
"That's baseball, it can snowball for you one way or the other. For them, they rode the momentum and unfortunately, we just couldn't get the third out that inning. Hats off to those guys, they're ranked top five in the state for a reason." Crivitz Head Coach Jeff Dorschner added, "If we're going to take anything from this game it's the fact that we don't have to see Osterberg anymore. That guy has been a thorn in my side for four years. He's a heck of a pitcher and he's going to do well at the next level."
Osterberg earned the win for Coleman, throwing a complete game, giving up two earned runs on three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Jaden Werner suffered the loss for Crivitz, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits, three walks and a strikeout in four innings of work.
Manning paced the Cougars with a 2-for-2 game and Woulf added a 2-for-4 showing. Tormay, LaRue and Tommy Sawinski each recorded a hit for the Wolverines.
"I am proud of the way these guys competed. We put on a fairly good stretch of baseball here in these last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we just came up an inning short today. I am proud of these seniors. Particularly Kershaw [Stumbris] and Tommy [Sawinski] have logged a lot of innings over the last four years so these guys are going to be missed," said Coach Dorschner.
Coleman advanced to take on St. Mary Catholic in Crivitz, a rematch from last year's sectional semi-final.
"The number one and two ranked teams again. I expect Matty [Osterberg] is really going to bring his A-game. It'll be a good game, hopefully it will be a little different this time." Coach Casper added about the game taking place in Crivitz, "One of the things when it came out this year, I told the boys our goal is to get the number one seed for regionals so we're at home all the way through. Then, we can take a walk over to Crivitz for sectionals. We've played pretty well at Crivitz over the years so hopefully that continues."
The Niagara Badgers secured a resounding win over the Florence Bobcats Wednesday night to advance to the sectional tournament, 13-6.
Niagara started early, getting a run in the bottom of the first. Landen Kaldor led off that inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an overthrow. Ethan Blagec brought hime in off a single.
Then in the second Niagara started building a bit of a buffer. Anthony Hansen led off with a single followed by Charlie Schaeffer on a single. Jacob Bousley walked to load the bases. Next up was Kalvin Jeffords, who doubled for two runs. Jeffords later scored off a Kaldor single for the 4-0 lead.
A Bousley two base steal during the fourth put the Badgers up another run 5-0.
The top of the fifth saw the Bobcats rerun fire. The highlight of the inning came with Nate Krueger's at bat. He slugged a three run double to help bring the Bobcats to a 5-5 tie.
But the Badgers answered in the bottom of the inning. Kaldor led off with a single followed by Blagec on a single. Dylan Lantagne reached on an error for an RBI while Hansen followed with another base off an error. Bousley single for a run while Jeffords reached off a fielders choice. Zach Prideaux siungle next for another RBI while Kaldor reurnded to the plate for his second visit of the inning getting two runs off a double and the 12-5 lead.
Florence got one more across in the bottom of the sixth off a Lance Davis RBI single while Niagara's Schaeffer helped his Badgers keep pace with a sacrifice fly that brought in Lantagne for the 13-6 final verdict.
Hansen secured the mound win for the Badgers striking out six while allowing six hits, 4 runs (0 earned) and one walk.
Florence's Krueger took the loss giving up 14 hits, 12 runs (six earned) and one walk while striking out three.
At the plate Niagara's Kaldor was four for four with two runs and three RBIs, Schaeffer was three for three with one run and one RBI while Prideaux was two of three with one run and one RBI.
Wes Mclain led the Bobcats with a two of three plate showing with one run to boot while Lucas Krueger was two of four with one run.
Niagara took a 2-0 win over Green Bay N.E.W Lutheran Tuesday to advance to the sectional final where they were defeated by Athens in a nine inning 9-3 loss. Results were not recieved for the sectional semi and final games.
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