WIAA Playoffs: WIAA D-2, 3, & 4 State Preview

Wisconsin Staff

On Wednesday, WIAA divisions 2, 3, and 4 will play their semifinals to determine Thursday’s championship finals. Below, we’ve compiled a preview of each of the games and the teams headed to Grand Chute. As usual, there’s plenty of interesting talent playing baseball beyond the highest division. Let’s get to it.

Division 4 Semifinals - 8 a.m.

Game 1 -  Webster (28-0) vs. Athens (18-4)

Webster: The Tigers have been, simply put, dominant. Webster is making its third straight state appearance after winning the state title in D-3 last year, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With a lineup that is full of .400-plus hitters, and a top-of-the-line pitching staff, it is going to be very tough to beat this team. Look out for RHP/OF Jack Washburn (2019; Oregon State) and RHP/SS Hunter Rosenbaum (2019; West Virginia) to leave their mark on the tournament. OWEN

Athens: The Blue Jays have a knack for winning games at the end of May and in June, and nothing has changed this year. Making their fourth overall trip to state, the defending 2018 D-4 champs will look to win their third title and knock off Webster, the heavy favorites to win the 2019 title. If anyone has the squad to do it, it is Athens, led by 2B Seth Coker (2019; UW-La Crosse) – who is hitting almost .600 and is unbeaten on the mound.

Game 2 -  Belmont (17-8) vs. Mineral Point (26-0)

Belmont: The Braves will be riding a hot streak into their first-ever state tournament appearance. They rolled over Bangor in five innings by a score of 14-1 to win the Riverdale Sectional. After returning most of their lineup from last season, don’t be surprised if the team’s veteran presence helps lead the way in the state tournament. IF/RHP Colin Austin (2019; uncommitted), RHP/C Riley Christensen (2021; uncommitted), and 1B Brady Wedig (2020; uncommitted) led the way offensively, while Austin and RHP/IF Ethan James (2019; uncommitted) were dominant on the mound all season.

Mineral Point: The Pointers are back for their second consecutive state tournament appearance after losing in the semifinals last season, and it looks like they have a team capable of winning it all this year. You don’t go undefeated by accident, and Mineral Point has a wealth of talent that will help them in the state tournament. OF Liam Stumpf (2021; uncommitted) is their guy, hitting .476 on the year with 11 bombs and an other-wordly OPS of 1.609. 2B/SS Isaac Lindsey (2020; uncommitted) is hitting .507 and reached base at a nearly .600 clip. Stumpf, RHP/SS Curtis Cox (2019; uncommitted), and LHP Grady Gorgen (2020; uncommitted) were the workhorses on the mound, combining for 129.1 IP and an ERA of 1.25 between the trio.

Division 3 Semifinals - 1 p.m.

Game 1 - Boyceville (19-3) vs. Stratford (20-2)

Boyceville: The Bulldogs will make their second state tournament appearance – their first coming in 2000 when they finished as the runner-up. While the offense was steady all season, it was the pitching that led the way. RHP/2B Connor Sempf (2021; uncommitted), RHP/OF Walker Retz (2021; uncommitted), and RHP/1B Trevor Hollister (2021; uncommitted) combined to throw for 92 percent of the team’s innings on the year, and they did so in style, allowing only 22 earned runs between the three of them.

Stratford: The Tigers have won 13 straight and are red-hot coming into their second-ever state tournament appearance. IF Dawson Moen (2020; uncommitted) and IF/DH Kade Ehrike (2019; uncommitted) both hit above .370 with OPS’s above 1.000. RHP Lance Heidman (2019; uncommitted) and IF/RHP Chandler Schmidt (2020; uncommitted) both had ERA’s south of 1.50, giving up only eight earned runs combined between the both of them.

Game 2 - Markesan (21-5) vs. Ozaukee (12-7)

Markesan: With minimal state tournament experience in the region, the Hornets can use the their recent tournament run in 2016 to their advantage. Markesan is anchored by RHP/C Shane Ryan (2019; Central Michigan), who has struck out 101 batters in 61IP, and RHP/SS Bryce Leedle (2021; uncommitted), who has allowed only three earned-runs on the season. It doesn’t get much better than that on the mound; that 1-2 punch will be deadly in a tournament setting and will give Markesan a built in advantage. C Sage Stellmacher (2021; uncommitted) has led the way offensively, hitting .398 with a .950 OPS.  

Ozaukee: Despite playing only 19 games this season, the Warriors are well positioned for a big showing in the state tournament behind the state’s top ranked prospect in the 2021 class, SS/RHP Noah Miller (2021; Alabama). Miller hit a ridiculous .515 on the year with an OPS of 1.426, and led an offense that featured plenty of star-power, including 3B/RHP Brent Hoffman (2020; uncommitted) who hit .440 and 2B/SS Simon Bares (2021; uncommitted) who hit .339. Miller and Hoffman also led the way on the mound, allowing only 23 combined earned runs on 89 ⅓ innings of work.

Division 2 Semifinals - 6 p.m.

Game 1 - Antigo (19-5) vs. West De Pere (27-2)

Antigo: The Red Robins will return to the state tournament for the first time since 1995 behind LHP/1B Brady Renfro (2020; Valparaiso). Eric Langseth and Nevin Cornelius also both had big-time springs at the plate. Sebastian Noskowiak (2019; uncommitted), Eli Fleischmann, and Renfro all featured ERA’s south of 2.10, forming a three-headed-monster that led the way all season long. Their furthest advancement came in 1970, when they reached the state title game.

West De Pere: After Janesville Craig got an early exit in their opening round playoff game, West De Pere has taken over the No. 1 spot in the Power 25. Their 27-2 record is thanks in large part to their pitching, that has only allowed four runs so far this postseason. LHP Ben Hampton (2020; West Virginia) and LHP Connor Langreder (2019; Northern Illinois) headline their one-two punch on the mound; with both pitchers having dominant springs and throwing no-hitters in the process. This year will mark the Phantoms’ first state tournament appearance since 2010, and their fifth overall.

Game 2 - McFarland (20-9) vs. Union Grove (26-3)

McFarland: Placing third in the Rock Valley Conference this year, the Spartans are gearing up for their first ever state tournament appearance. They will do so on the coattails of a 10-game winning streak, and will have to dismantle a Union Grove team that has a 15-game winning streak of their own, if they want to advance within the tournament. IF Reece Samuel (2019; uncommitted) hit .444 with a 1.267 OPS. RHP/IF J.T. Pimental (2020; uncommitted) had a team high 50.1 IP on the mound and complimented that with a 2.38 ERA.

Union Grove: The Broncos slid under the Prep Baseball Report radar in terms of Preseason Power 25 teams, but they put themselves on the map after splitting a two-game set with then-No. 1 Burlington. Union Grove dismantled their sectional, knocking out ranked teams Greendale and Whitefish Bay along the way. RHP Luke Hansel (2019; Madison JC) is the Broncos’ jack-of-all-trades, the ace of the staff, and is typically found hitting in the middle of the lineup along with SS TJ Manteufel (2020; Bradley). The Broncos are predicated on quality-at-bats, strong infield defense, and team speed.