Waupaca wins regional final
By Greg Seubert
Two more wins.
That’s all the Waupaca baseball team needs to have a shot at defending its state championship.
Waupaca won a WIAA Division 2 regional championship May 31 with a convincing 16-3 six-inning win over Fox Valley Lutheran in Appleton. The Comets also ended New London’s season May 30 by handing the Bulldogs a 4-1 loss.
The Comets competed in the Clintonville Sectional June 6. The winner of that sectional, which also included Luxemburg-Casco, Mosinee and Seymour, will advance to state. The Division state semifinals and finals are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.
Waupaca 16, FVL 3
The Comets outhit the Foxes 13-4 and scored seven runs in the first and sixth innings.
FVL starter Isaac Gerhardt lasted only 2/3 of an inning and gave up seven earned runs, two of them coming on a Nick Grams home run.
By the time Gerhardt left the mound, the Foxes trailed 7-0.
“We said the key to what we want to do here is to get on them early and stay on them,” coach Rocky Mondello said. “That’s pretty much what we did. It was a quiet bus ride, but they were pretty pumped up. They knew what it’s all about.
“We’ve been waiting for those sticks to come out,” he said. “I don’t know what we ended up with on hits, but that’s where we want to be. I told them before the game, ‘We’ve got the defense, we’ve got the pitching, we need to get the sticks.’ That’s what happened. We wanted to set a tone and we did that.”
The win came on the same field that Waupaca lost a North Eastern Conference game to the Foxes during the regular season after FVL scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 3-2 win.
“What happened here earlier in the season, we wanted a little bit of redemption,” Mondello said. “That’s what we got.”
Winning pitcher Ryan Dayton improved to 7-2 on the season after holding the Foxes to one run in the first inning and two in the third while striking out seven batters.
“We were watching his pitch count a little bit and weren’t sure about things,” Mondello said. “Obviously, having the 10-run (lead) at that point was key for us. We just kept up with our rotation and that’s how it worked out. It wasn’t a No. 1, 2 or trying to do anything like that. It’s just the way we roll.”
Waupaca 4, New London 1
Three runs in the bottom of the first inning turned out to be the difference in the game.
Waupaca added another run in the third, while New London got on the board with a run in the fourth.
Hayden Neidert went the distance to get the win on the mound. Jake Pankratz had two of the Comets’ five hits.