Wisconsin Power 25: Week 8


By Andy Sroka & Isaiah Glidden
Wisconsin Staff

The PBR Wisconsin staff updated the Power 25 rankings for the latest time today, Monday, following a Week 8 that bounced four programs off the top-25 and brought four, including three programs who made their season debut on the Power 25.

There continues to be a clear-cut group at the top of the rankings, led by Whitefish Bay, which is trending to replicate a feat accomplished by last year’s Sun Prairie program, by sticking to its No. 1 ranking from preseason through the regular season, with just one week remaining in the regular season.

Elsewhere on the board, Arrowhead and Franklin swapped spots near the top, though still looking like Division-1 heavyweights in the state title scene, as well as Eau Claire North, which has taken hold of the Big Rivers Conference after a sweep of Hudson. Reigning champs Sun Prairie have inserted themselves into the top-five following a non-conference sweep of Kimberly on Saturday.

Check out the latest changes in the state’s Power 25 as the 2022 WIAA season heads towards its conclusion.

TOP-THREE

+ No. 1 Whitefish Bay (21-1): Going into the final week of the regular season, Whitefish Bay has not moved from atop our Power 25 rankings. Last week, the Blue Dukes enjoyed a 3-0 week as they defeated West Bend East, Nicolet, and Slinger. During the week, they clinched first place in the North Shore Conference for the third year in a row. Their special senior class has crafted a special spring already, but they’ve long had their sights set on winning state hardware as the perfect ending to their prep careers. 

+ No. 2 Arrowhead (16-3): After losing one game in the week prior to No. 1 Whitefish Bay, the Warhawks grabbed four wins to help them jump back up to No. 2 in this Power 25 update. Arrowhead started off the week with a 13-8 win over Waukesha West and followed it up with a 5-3 win over the same Waukesha West which teed up Saturday’s doubleheader with a talented Catholic Memorial squad. In the first game, Arrowhead cruised to a 13-0 win backed by a no-hit performance from RHP Mason Buss (2022; Kansas State commit). In the second game, Arrowhead edged out Catholic Memorial thanks to a walk off single from 1B Michael Zordani (2022; Wisconsin-Parkside). Arrowhead now is looking to a busy final week of the season as they play five games to finish up the spring, ramping up in time to make an effort to get back to state for the latest time. 

+ No. 3 Franklin (18-3): The Sabers enjoyed a solid 3-1 week to stay inside our top-three. Over the week Franklin played a three-game series against conference foe No. 16 Kenosha Tremper, in which they took two of three. In the first game, Franklin cruised to a dominant 10-0 win, which was followed up with a close loss the next day. On Friday, these two teams met up again for the rubber match of the series and Franklin won handily 8-1. Now, Franklin is looking toward their final four games of the year, beginning today against top-ranked Whitefish Bay, taking them to a three-game series against Racine Case to cap their spring with the Southeast Conference title picture becoming clearer.

RISING

+ No. 4 Eau Claire North (19-2): The Huskies have been a model program in these recent years, especially, and they’re once again pacing the Big Rivers, a game up on Memorial and now two up on the Hudson Raiders, which they swept in two games last week. In the first game of the series it came down to the final play as OF Brayton Thillman (2023) hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to give the Huskies the win. The second game of this series was all Eau Claire North as they cruised to a 7-0 win. The Huskies finished off there 4-0 week as they defeated La Crosse Central twice on Saturday. The consistency of this Huskies squad has been apparent throughout the season and with experienced talent riddled throughout the team, they look like – yet again – a threat for the D1 title in Appleton at the state tourney.

+ No. 5 Sun Prairie (20-3): Sun Prairie is simply a powerhouse program in the state, though it’ll look different in the future as it breaks off into two separate schools for the 2022-23 academic year. But, until then, the Cardinals and head coach Rob Hamilton will continue to prove that Sun Prairie is the standard. Last year’s state title team graduated so many of its key pieces that we wondered if any team were capable of filling those spots on the depth chart capably – well, Sun Prairie is exactly the type of program that could make that happen. They scored their 20th win of the spring last week, going 4-0 altogether, with wins over a solid Middleton squad, as well as a statement doubleheader sweep of a Kimberly program that’s also established itself as one of the WIAA’s stalwarts. INF/RHP Davis Hamilton (2022; North Dakota State), Addison Ostrenga (2022; Iowa, football), and Jackson Hunley (2023) played critical roles on the 2021 state winners, and they continue to pace this group again in 2022. They’ve helped the Cards score nine wins against teams that are or have been ranked on the Power 25 at any point this season.

+ No. 7 Oak Creek (17-5): A non-conference loss to Menomonee Falls on Saturday wasn’t enough to wash away Oak Creek’s otherwise stellar week. Senior 1B Ryan Santi (2022; Madison JC) powered the Knights offensively to a three-game sweep of Racine Case for Oak Creek to remain within the hunt of the Southeast, tied with Tremper, and a game behind Franklin overall with three conference games left for each – though Oak Creek and Tremper play one another in the week ahead. That loss to Falls on Saturday does serve as a reminder though, that the Knights have some youth in the daily lineup and errors tend to come with that kind of inexperience. They’re talented, and they’re up on the board as some of the surrounding teams suffered significant losses here and there, but the Knights’ talented youth can sometimes be double-edged.

+ No. 8 Hudson (15-6): We like what we’ve seen from this Hudson team, and a shaky week within the Power 25’s top-10 actually keeps them within it, despite suffering a two-game sweep to Eau Claire North. While Hudson has six losses on its resume, they’re of quality and they came at the hands of some excellent pitching. Meanwhile, we’re fans of Hudson’s rotation ourselves, and we think it has a chance to be its biggest strength come playoff time. The Raiders are now looking to a three-game week as they take on Menomonie twice and finish off their season with one game against Superior. 

+ No. 9 Mosinee (20-2): Mosinee’s resume continues to age well, and its 2-0 Week 8 allowed them to benefit from some tough losses from the teams previously ranked ahead of them. Friday, Mosinee topped Stratford, one of the top teams in the Division-3 scene, to help bolster their resume further, owning wins over a variety of opponents. Their ascent into the top-10 is one of the stories of the spring, and we’re eager to see how it plays out in the postseason.

+ No. 10 Brookfield Central (18-4): The Lancers and the Marquette Hilltoppers virtually swapped places in this update as a result of Brookfield Central’s latest win over the ‘Toppers, 9-2, last week. Central won both its games against Marquette in the Greater Metro, and the two are tied at three in the loss column of the GMC, and Central can secure a share of the conference crown with a win this week against Hamilton. The Lancers have been one of the most dramatic teams in the state this season, regularly relying on late rallies and walk-off winners to win its ballgames, suggesting there’s some magic here that might keep them marching along through the final week of the regular season and beyond.

+ No. 13 Beloit Turner (18-3): Turner’s in pole position to win its latest Rock Valley title, following a two-game sweep of Big Foot and a lopsided win over Clinton. Meanwhile, Edgerton suffered a couple conference losses that bumped them out of the race, virtually, as well as the Power 25, unfortunately. Each of the Trojans’ three losses were decided by one run, and each came at the hands of a talented opponent (Edgerton, Jefferson, Milton). This is one of the deepest groups we’ve seen out of Turner, and they’re representing a conference that’s consistently sent a program to state, so we’ll see if the Trojans march their way back.

+ No. 14 Wautoma (18-2): An extra-inning victory pushed Wautoma over the finish line dramatically, securing their first South Central Conference title since 2014. The depth of arms here is what’s particularly impressive about the Hornets, and it’s that kind of formula that really works in the postseason, especially at Sectionals. Their a top-ranked Division-2 program in the state for a reason, and we think they have what it takes to make a run at state.

+ No. 17 Denmark (20-3): Three lopsided wins over Oconto and Oconto Falls helped confirm Denmark’s place on the Power 25 since debuting in last week’s update. The Vikings are on a mission to repeat as state champs in 2022, resembling what Sun Prairie’s done this spring – they opened with uncertain expectations given the talent they graduated, yet here they are, 20 wins later.

WELCOME…

+ No. 15 Ashwaubenon (16-4): Undefeated in May, the Jaguars are leading the Fox River Classic by two games, an outcome few could predict prior to the start of the season. They’d been on our radar for most of the season, but it was their latest victory over De Pere that really catapulted them onto the Power 25, and to the top of the FRCC. Senior RHP Mack Crowley (2022; Minnesota State) tossed a complete game shutout in that win hosting De Pere, completing the season sweep of the Redbirds. We also watched them top one of the conference’s best young arms May 16 against Manitowoc Lincoln, showing their ability to win in a multitude of ways. Ashwaubenon has an exciting mix of experience and youth that really has them gaining some momentum as conference play concludes and the postseason nears.

+ No. 22 St. Thomas More (18-5): Eleven straight wins and a 6-0 Week 8 thrust the Cavaliers onto the Power 25 for the first time this spring. A huge win at Kenosha St. Joseph last week allowed them to split the season series and keep pace with the conference rivals, and they capped the week with another signature win over New Berlin West. This is a Division-2 program with a quality rotation, and not just by D2 standards. And while their lineup is headlined by some underclass talent, STM senior Isaiah Malison (2022; Concordia, Neb.) was critical to last week’s success especially, and on both sides of the ball. We liked St. Thomas More prior to the start of the spring, but those everyday underclassmen made for an uneven start to the season, but they’re rolling now, debuting on the Power 25 for the first time this spring.

+ No. 25 Union Grove (16-5): The Broncos are back on the Power 25 following a 4-0 week with two wins over Elkhorn, as well as Horlick and Burlington. It’s a generally hard-nosed lineup, in our opinion, and they’re a tough opponent accustomed to battling some of the top arms in the state that just so happen to reside in the Southern Lakes Conference. Nonetheless, the Broncos are tied atop the SLC with Westosha Central, setting up Tuesday’s meeting between the two as a potential winner-take-all showdown, depending on the outcome of UG and Waterford on Monday, as the Broncos lead the SLC by a half-game with one fewer loss than Westosha.

DROPPED OUT

+ De Pere (13-6)
+ Edgerton (18-4)
+ Homestead (17-5)

ON THE BUBBLE

+ Waunakee (16-6)
+ Oconomowoc (17-4)
+ Saint Croix Falls (20-1)
+ Medford Area (20-1)
+ Stevens Point Area (15-5)
+ University School (18-3)
+ Lake Country Lutheran (18-3)
+ Altoona (17-3)
+ Greendale (16-7)
+ Eau Claire Regis (14-1)
+ Eau Claire Memorial (13-7)
+ Dodgeville (16-3)
+ Coleman (21-1)

**Click here to view the PBR Wisconsin Power 25 board in full.**


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