submitted to OnFocus
The Nutz Deep Pride 16 year old baseball team went 5-0, enroute to winning a 17 year-old Jr. American Legion baseball tournament over the weekend in Oshkosh.
Pride, which is not an American Legion affiliated team, was invited to the tournament because of showings it has made last year in different “Prospect Level” competition.
Pride defeated Green Bay Post 11, made up mostly of WIAA Division One State Qualifier, Green Bay Preble, 9-0 in a complete game 2-hitter thrown by Neillsville pitcher, Braden Trunkel.
Pride then downed a quality De Pere team, 6-2, behind another Neillsville hurler Carson Opelt, who held the opponent 17 year olds to 2 earned runs.
Pride then handed a previously unbeaten Hartland team a 9-3 defeat behind Marshfield Sophomore Simon Slade, who surrendered 2 earned runs over 6 innings. Stratford’s Cam Daul finished the game for the Nutz Deep boys, pitching a scoreless seventh.
Athens’ Dayne Diethelm led his team into the Championship round by throwing a complete game, shutout against a mixture of Jr and Sr legion players for the host team Oshkosh. That win put Pride, the only undefeated team remaining, into the Championship Game against De Pere, which made its way back through the losers bracket.
De Pere took the Pride boys to 10 innings, until Neillsville second baseman Jonah Zoschke laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Stratfords Kale Weisenberger.
Weisenberger pitched the first the first seven innings, giving up all three runs in the first two before bearing down and shutting down the foe.
“This was a great challenge for us to open the season,” coach Tim Kraus said. “When you play so many games in just three days, you need your pitchers to step up and perform at a high level. We only had 13 strikeouts in 5 games which is good, but this group of kids are hitters. We just hit it hard where their defense was way too often. That’ll come.”
The Pride team is made up of players from Athens (2), Marshfield (2), Neillsville (3), Pittsville (1), Spencer (1), and Stratford (3).
“These guys are like brothers, both on the field and off. There are good things ahead for these young men!” Kraus said.
Pride is off until July 5th, when it will play in the Wisconsin Rapids Jr Legion Tournament, before traveling to a Mid-West Invitational Tournament in Bettendorf, Iowa the following weekend.