BLACK RIVER FALLS – The Clintonville American Legion Post 63 baseball team traveled to Black River Falls July 28-Aug. 1, and went a perfect 5-0 to capture their third state title in four years. Since Wisconsin went to a 3-class system in 1988, based on school enrollment (AAA, AA, A), Clintonville has now won four championships (1988,2007,2008,2010), more than any other team, passing Viroqua (1991,2004,2005) and Ripon (1989,1990,2009).
Prairie du Chien 2
In a rematch of Game 3 the Diamond Cats (4-0) met PDC (3-1) in double elimination play. Chase Stenson got the start on the mound for the ‘Cats. The game got off to a scary start as the second batter of the game hit a scorching line drive that hit Stenson in his throwing hand. He made the throw to first base for the out, then dropped to the ground in pain. He stayed in to pitch and in a very gutsy performance went five scoreless innings before giving up a run in the sixth and was responsible for another in the top of the seventh after giving way to Patrick VanDaalwyk in relief.
The D-Cats staked him to a two run lead early by scoring one run in the second inning (single by Justin Thebo and 3 walks), and one in the third (Stenson walk; Wes Dobberstien courtesy runner, VanDaalwyk SAC bunt, Thebo RBI single). With one out and the score tied at two in the bottom of the seventh inning, Thebo hit a ground rule double. Dobberstien replaced him as a pinch runner. Kolin Kubitz punched a single through the left side and the speedy Dobberstien beat the throw to the plate with a head first slide for the win.
Clintonville (3-0) met the Ripon (2-1). The D-Cats fell behind 3-0 after two innings to the heavy hitting defending state champs. Thebo got the start on the mound and settled in and didn’t allow another run through seven. The D-Cats chipped away scoring one run in the fourth (Stenson double, Thebo RBI single), and tying the game in the sixth (Van Daalwyk double, Jake Riemer RBI single, Kevin Ignacio single, Eric Krause RBI single). Austin Paiser came on in relief to pitch the eighth and ninth innings and got the win.
Ripon scored two runs in the top of the ninth and looked like they might avoid elimination. The D-Cats had other ideas. With one out and nobody on, Jesse Wiley cut the lead to one with a solo homerun to center. Stenson followed with a double, VanDaalwyk walked, Thebo singled, Riemer drew an RBI walk with the bases loaded to tie the game, and Ignacio executed a suicide squeeze bunt scoring VanDaalwyk for the win.
Prairie du Chien 2
Clintonville (2-0)met PDC (2-0). The visiting D-Cats got on the board in the top of the first as Eric Krause was hit by a pitch, Nate Simpson sacrifice bunted with both runners safe on a bad throw. Wiley then hit a ball over the right field fence to take a 3-0 lead. Wiley got the start on the mound and went the distance allowing two runs (second inning) on five hits, four walks, and six strikeouts. The Cats scored one run in the fifth (Wiley hit by a pitch, VanDaalwyk SAC bunt, Thebo RBI single). This win assured the D-Cats a berth in the Championship Game.
Clintonville (1-0) met Marathon (1-0). Marathon, 2010 D-3 High School Champions, had defeated Ripon in their first game. The D-Cats would score one run in every position in the batting order. Stenson got the win on the mound going six innings, allowing four hits, 0 walks, four strike outs. Wiley pitched the seventh, allowing two hits before striking out the side. Simpson had a hot bat, going 3×4 with 3 RBI.
The Diamond Cats got off to a good start in tournament play. VanDaalwyk got the win on the mound throwing five scoreless innings before tiring in the sixth and giving up a 3-run homerun. VanDaalwyk allowed five hits, one walk, and struck out four. Stenson came on to pitch the sixth and seventh allowing no runs on one hit,0 walks, and struck out four. Wiley lead the D-Cats at the plate going 3×4 with 3 RBI, Stenson was 2×2 with 2 RBI, Krause was 2×3 with 1 RBI, and Simpson was 2×3. Defensively the team played error free baseball, a trend that would continue throughout the tournament.
Stenson was named the Tournament MVP, boasting a .375 batting average as he went 6×16 on the tournament with three RBI. He also earned one win in three pitching appearances. He threw a total of 14 innings, allowing just two runs.
Other Diamond Cats named to the All-Tournament Team included Thebo (BA .526; 10×19; 4 RBI), Wiley (BA .438; 7×16, 8 RBI, 2 HR; 1 win, pitching 2 appearances; eight innings, 2 runs allowed), Simpson (BA .429; OBA .600; 4 RBI; 0 errors), and Patrick VanDaalwyk (2 wins in two pitching appearances).
The team now advances to the 2010 Division II American Legion Baseball Central Plains Tournament in LeSueur and Henderson, Minn. The Diamond Cats will face the host team, LeSueur/Henderson, on Thursday, Aug. 5 at noon. Win or lose, the team plays again at 9 a.m. Friday in the double-elimination tournament. To view a bracket and track scores/results, visit www. http://www.lshbaseball.com/bracket.aspx. Watch for scores and game recaps in the Aug. 12 issue of the County Post East.