Bay Port Sectional: Preble Advances to State

By Spencer Flatten
Staff Writer

GREEN BAY, WI - The Bay Port Sectional took place on Tuesday with Green Bay Preble taking the Championship to advance to the state finals in Appleton next week. 

 Game 1: Green Bay Preble 7 Wausau West 6

Green Bay Preble rallied to overcome a four run deficit and advance to the sectional finals with a 7-6 win over Wausau West in extra innings Tuesday.

The Warriors got off to a fantastic start in the first inning. The first six hitters got on base to explode out of the gates. West banged out five hits in the inning and took an early 4-0 lead. Zach Pearson, Steven Lewandowski, Travis Lang and Jacob Wokatsch all had RBIs in the frame.

Preble starting pitcher Griffin Summers was chased from the game after just 1.1 innings. Jarrett Scheelk came in to relieve him and helped settle things down for the Hornets. He escaped a bases loaded jam in the second inning.

The Hornets started clawing their way back into the game in the bottom of the third inning. A groundball fielder’s choice by Ryan Dougherty brought a run around to score and cut the deficit to three.

In the bottom of the fifth, Preble narrowed West’s lead to two runs. Dougherty singled to right field to score Connor Lemmens and make the score 4-2.

Wausau West added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Lemmens booted a ball at shortstop with runners on second and third, which allowed both runners to score and extend the lead to four runs.

With their backs against the wall, the Hornets started to put things together. Summers ripped a two RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to two runs. It set the stage for a wild seventh inning.

The Warriors went quietly in the top of the inning. That meant Preble needed at least two runs to keep their season alive.

They didn’t waste any time saving their title aspirations. Lemmens and Dougherty singled to lead off the inning, and Scheelk drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Lemmens scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to one.

West decided to intentionally walk Kris Kastberg to load the bases again and put the force out back into play. Caleb Schoenholz struck out in the next at bat, which left the bases loaded with one out.

That brought Brody Bialkowski to the plate in one of the game’s most crucial at bats. Preble decided to gamble with a suicide squeeze play, but Bialkowksi couldn’t get the bunt down and the runner was caught stealing home. Bialkowski then managed to fight off some tough pitches to extend the at bat, and eventually another wild pitch brought the tying run in to score.

The Hornets headed to extra innings with all of the momentum. The Warriors went three up, three down in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom of the inning, Zach Champine walked and both Lemmens and Dougherty were hit by pitches to load the bases. Scheelk came to the plate looking to win the game for Preble.

He hit the ball to the second baseman, who threw it to home to record the force out. West catcher Paul Weise tried to cut down the runner heading to third, but overthrew his target and the ball sailed into left field. That allowed the winning run to cross the plate and gave the Hornets the wild victory.

Game 2:  Green Bay East/West 13 Bay Port 1

The Green Bay East/West Devilcats pulled off one of the most convincing and historic upsets of the postseason with a 13-1 drubbing of Bay Port on the Pirates’ home field on Tuesday.

From the very beginning, the two teams seemed to be playing at different levels, and it led to the first win over Bay Port during East/West coach Pete Bauer’s career.

Max Van Boxel clearly took things upon himself to propel his team to victory. He got things started for the Devilcats in the first inning. He belted a two run home run to right field to give his team a 2-0 lead.

The second inning was a nightmare for Bay Port, and they never really recovered from the mental effect that it had on them.

The Devilcats exploded for seven runs in the inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing double by Trent Bauer. Evan Ostertag, Sam Fonder and Van Boxel also had RBIs in the frame. East/West tallied five hits in the inning. At one point they went through seven batters without recording an out. When the inning finally ended, the score was 9-0.

The Pirates responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI single by Aaron Ferkovich, but that was all Bay Port could muster.

The hosts got runners on second and third base in the bottom of the third, but starting pitcher Van Boxel escaped the only real threat he faced in the game unharmed.

East/West added another run in the fifth after an RBI single by Dylan Mueller. They scored their final runs in the top of the sixth. Van Boxel hit a 2 RBI single and Antonio Giordana also had an RBI base knock to make the score 13-1. Van Boxel closed down the Pirates in the bottom of the inning to end the game with the mercy rule.

The win came as quite the surprise. It wasn’t the fact that the Devilcats won was surprising; that was always a possibility. The margin of victory made it a stunning win. This was the first time all year that the Pirates lost by double digits, and it happened on their home field, where they are very tough to beat in the playoffs.

Van Boxel was the biggest reason East/West was able to pull off the upset. The lefty pitched a complete game two-hitter with 13 strikeouts. At the plate, he finished 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs. Bauer finished 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs.

Bryce Braspennickx took the loss for Bay Port. He allowed nine runs, only one of which was earned, in 1.2 innings.

The win got East/West into the sectional finals for the first time in co-op history. They faced Green Bay Preble for the right to go to the state tournament.

 Game 3: Green Bay Preble 6 Green Bay East/West 0

Green Bay Preble’s Caleb Schoenholz threw a no-hitter to claim a 6-0 victory over Green Bay East/West and the state tournament berth that came with it on Tuesday night.

Preble entered the sectional final after an exhilarating win over Wausau West in the semifinals, and East/West was fresh off a 13-1 shellacking of Bay Port.

Despite having an explosive offensive performance in their previous game, the Devilcats couldn’t get anything going against Schoenholz, who was masterful on the mound.

Preble took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI single by Ryan Dougherty, an RBI groundout by Kris Kastberg and a run-scoring error.

East/West’s Brett Mecikalski drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and was sacrificed over to second base. However, the Devilcats weren’t able to bring him in to score.

Preble extended the lead in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly by Schoenholz.

The Hornets added their final runs in the bottom of the fifth. Jayden Adrians hit an RBI double off the left field fence and an infield error allowed Preble to take a 6-0 lead.

The Devilcats went quietly in the sixth and seventh innings without getting a hit, which sealed the no-hitter for Schoenholz.

The lefty pitched all seven innings for the Hornets and struck out three to get the win. He walked four, but never let a runner reach third base.

Evan Ostertag took the loss for East/West, but didn’t pitch poorly. He went six innings and allowed four earned runs with two strikeouts.

Jarrett Scheelk finished 3-for-3 at the plate for the Hornets, while Dougherty went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Green Bay East/West finished the season 16-11 and made it to the sectional finals for the first time in co-op history.

With the win, Preble advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2002. The Hornets, who are 23-5 this season, will face Middleton (22-5) in the first game of the tournament at 8 a.m. on Tuesday at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.