Eau Claire, De Pere top Blue Devils to end their season
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — One bad inning can turn any baseball game in one direction or the other, and that is what happened to the Marshfield Clinic Post 54 American Legion team on Friday.
De Pere broke open a one-run game with a five-run fifth inning and went on to defeat Marshfield 10-4 in an elimination game at the Wisconsin Class AAA State American Legion Baseball Tournament on Friday afternoon at Jack Hackman Field.
De Pere (23-9) led 5-4 after 4½ innings before the big rally broke the Blue Devils.
Starting pitcher Bobby Pilz walked the leadoff hitter and was pulled from the game. De Pere greeted reliever Mitch Susa with three straight-hits, including an RBI triple by Connor Rutherford and an RBI single by Carson Jacques, to plate a pair of runs.
After a groundout, C.J. Sahas had an RBI single, Mike Lund squeeze bunted in another, and Matt Bald followed with an RBI single to put De Pere up 10-4.
Marshfield struck out seven times in the next three innings and had only two hits over the final four.
“It’s disappointing, but these kids had a great summer,” Marshfield manager Tom Sorenson said. “I probably had the most fun I’ve ever had coaching in a summer league, other than coaching my kids. We were 23-9. That’s pretty good.
“These kids all love the game, and that’s why they’re here. I had kids that didn’t get to play a whole lot this year, but they’re waiting for their chance, and next year they’ll step up there. It’s hard to get kids to do that now days, and I give them all the credit for sticking around.”
De Pere led 5-1 after two innings as Emmett Kulick had an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the second against Pilz.
The Blue Devils (23-9) got back into it with a three-run third against De Pere starter Tyler Rouze. Trevor Schwecke had an RBI double, Paul Maguire delivered a sacrifice fly, and Jared Klein had an RBI single to make it 5-4. However, Marshfield did not have more than one hit in an inning after that, something that proved to problematic for the Blue Devils in the last week of the season where they ended up losing four of their final five games.
“We had (10) hits, and they had 12. We just couldn’t string them together,” Sorenson said. “I can’t explain it. Earlier in the year, if we had 10-11 hits, we had 10, 12 runs. We hit a lot of fly balls. Normally we’re a line-drive, ground ball, beat-it-out team.”
Pilz retired seven in a row after the three-run second before being replaced after walking the leadoff man in the fifth. The loss is Pilz’s first in two seasons for Marshfield, ending a streak where he won 12-straight decisions on the mound.
De Pere moves on to a semifinal game against Madison Impact on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Eau Claire Post 53 3, Marshfield Post 54 2
Eau Claire scored three times in the top of the first inning, which proved to be enough as it defeated Marshfield Post 54 in a winners’ bracket game Friday morning at Jack Hackman Field.
Eau Claire (28-8) lost the final winners’ bracket game of the tournament Friday night to Madison 17-0.
Cal Sauro had a bases-loaded double to score two runs, and Travis Berg followed with an RBI single to put Eau Claire on top 3-0 against Marshfield starter Jake Brueggen.
Brueggen was able to get out of the inning and from that point was superb.
Brueggen allowed only four base runners in the final eight innings, two of which were erased on inning-ending double plays, and kept Eau Claire off the scoreboard.
Marshfield loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first inning but could not score.
Finally, in the bottom of the seventh, Marshfield broke through against Eau Claire starter Tanner Halvorson.
Klein and Cole Hoffman had back-to-back singles with one out. After a fly out, Nate McDonald ripped a single up the middle to score Klein, and Hunter Luepke followed with an infield single that scored Hoffman to cut the deficit to one.
The Blue Devils had a base runner in the eighth and ninth innings but could not get anything else going as Halvorson finished off the win. He ended up with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Brueggen, who after the first inning rally retired 25 of 27 batters, was saddled with the loss. He struck out three and walked three.
Eight of the nine Marshfield starters had at least one hit.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
De Pere 10, Marshfield 4
Marshfield Post 54 013 000 000 – 4 10 0
De Pere Post 230 230 050 00x – 10 12 0
WP: Tyler Rouze. LP: Bobby Pilz.
SO: Pilz (4 inn.) 3, Mitch Susa (1 inn.) 1, Jason Kurth (2 1/3 inn.) 1, Hunter Korger (2/3 inn.) 0; Rouze 8 (7 inn.) 8, Lucas Reynolds (2 inn.) 2. BB: Pilz 3, Susa 0, Kurth 0, Korger 0; Rouze 3, Reynolds 0.
Top hitters: M, Jack Donahue 2×3; Trevor Schwecke 2B; Jared Klein 2×4, 2 RBIs. DP, Matt Bald 2×4, 2 runs; Emmett Kulick 2×4, 2B, 3 RBIs; Connor Rutherford 3×5, 3B; Carson Jacques 2×5, 2 RBIs.
Records: Marshfield 23-9; De Pere 23-9.
Eau Claire 3, Marshfield 2
Eau Claire Post 53 300 000 000 – 3 6 0
Marshfield Post 54 000 000 200 – 2 9 1
WP: Tanner Halvorson. LP: Jake Brueggen.
SO: Halvorson 8; Brueggen 3. BB: Halvorson 2; Brueggen 3.
Top hitters: EC, Cal Sauro 1×4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Travis Berg 1×4, RBI. M, Trevor Schwecke 2×4, 2B; Nate McDonald 1×4, RBI; Hunter Luepke 1×5, RBI.
Records: Eau Claire 28-7; Marshfield 23-8.
2016 Wisconsin American Legion Class AAA State Tournament
July 26-30, at Jack Hackman Field, Marshfield
Tuesday, July 26
Game 1 – Beloit (27-5) 14, Neenah (13-7) 2 (8 inn.)
Game 2 – Eau Claire (27-7) 10, Wausau (18-18) 0 (7 inn.)
Game 3 – Madison Impact (29-3) 5, De Pere (21-9) 2
Game 4 – Marshfield (23-7) 5, Sheboygan (19-19) 4
Wednesday, July 27
Game 5 –De Pere (22-9) 10, Neenah (13-8) 3
Game 6 – Wausau (19-18) 18, Sheboygan (19-20) 2
Thursday, July 28
All games postponed, rain.
Friday, July 29
Game 7 – Madison Impact (30-3) 7, Beloit (27-6) 4
Game 8 – Eau Claire (28-7) 3, Marshfield (23-8) 2
Game 9 – Beloit (28-6) 5, Wausau (19-19) 1
Game 10 – De Pere (23-9) 10, Marshfield (23-9) 4
Game 11 – Madison Impact (31-3) 17, Eau Claire (28-8) 0
Saturday, July 30
Game 12 – Beloit (28-6) vs. Eau Claire (28-8), noon
Game 13 – De Pere (23-9) vs. Madison (31-3), 3 p.m.
Game 14 – Winners at 6 p.m.
Sunday, July 31
*Game 15 – If necessary, noon
*If De Pere defeats Madison, Madison would play winner of Game 14 on Sunday at noon. If Madison defeats De Pere and then loses to Beloit-Eau Claire winner, the two teams would play again Sunday at noon. If Madison wins both games Saturday, it would be state champion.