State Baseball Tournament Preview

THE TOURNAMENT:  The 73rd State Baseball Tournament will begin Friday, June 25, and resume Tuesday-Thursday, June 28-July 1. The Division 1 quarterfinals will be held Friday at Herr-Baker Stadium on the campus of Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wis., and the remainder of the tournament will be held at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. Ticket prices for the tourney are $11 per session, $20 for an all-day admission ticket, and $60 for an all-tournament pass for games at Fox Cities Stadium. There are not limitations on tickets available at the stadium.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE AND PAIRINGS:  The State Spring Baseball Tournament features four divisions. The format is altered from the traditional schedule with the semifinals and final for each division being played on the same day. Division 1 quarterfinals will be played on the opening day of the tournament. The single elimination tournament includes eight teams in Division 1 and four each in Divisions 2, 3 and 4. The second game of each session will follow the first game.

DIVISION 1

Quarterfinals – Friday, June 25 at Herr-Baker Stadium
#4 Pewaukee (27-2) vs. #5 Menomonee Falls (25-3) – 9 a.m.
#1 Sun Prairie (26-2) vs. #8 Onalaska (17-9)*
#2 Bay Port (24-1) vs. #7 West Bend East (22-7) – 2 p.m.
#3 Union Grove (25-3) vs. #6 Eau Claire Memorial (21-7)*

Semifinals – Thursday, July 1 at Fox Cities Stadium
#4 vs. #5 Winner vs. #1 vs. 8 Winner – 11:05 a.m.
#3 vs. #6 Winner vs. #2 vs. 7 Winne

Final – Thursday, July 1 at Fox Cities Stadium
Semifinal Winners – 6:05 p.m.

DIVISION 2

Semifinals – Wednesday, June 30 at Fox Cities Stadium
#1 Denmark (29-1) vs. #4 Rice Lake (15-11) – 11:05 a.m.
#2 Catholic Memorial (20-8) vs. #3 Jefferson (24-6)*

Final – Wednesday, June 30 at Fox Cities Stadium
Semifinal Winners – 6:05 p.m.

DIVISION 3

Semifinals – Tuesday, June 29 at Fox Cities Stadium
#1 Coleman  (24-2) vs. #4 Regis (16-6) – 11:05 a.m.
#2 Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic (23-1) vs. #3 Marathon (19-7)*

Final – Tuesday, June 29 at Fox Cities Stadium
Semifinal Winners – 6:05 p.m.

DIVISION 4

Semifinals – Monday, June 28 at Fox Cities Stadium
#1 Boyceville (19-1) vs. #4 Southwestern (11-10) – 11:05 a.m.
#2 Rosholt (20-3) vs. #3 Greenwood (17-6)*

Final – Monday, June 28 at Fox Cities Stadium
Semifinal Winners – 6:05 p.m.

* Begins approximately 35 min. following first game of session.

ALL GAMES LIVE ON NFHS NETWORK:  The Division 1 quarterfinals, and the semifinals and finals in all four divisions of the WIAA State Baseball Tournament will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, log-on to www.wiaa.tv and click on the image in the middle of the screen to begin ordering your subscription.

TEAM TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The WIAA has been sponsoring the State Baseball Tournament since 1948. Sun Prairie has won the most State championships with eight, followed by Appleton West with seven, and then Catholic Central and Nekoosa with five. La Crosse Central has appeared in the most State Tournaments with 18. Sun Prairie is next with 16. Milwaukee Bradley and Stevens Point have reached State 15 times; Appleton West, Eau Claire North, Janesville Craig and Oconomowoc have appeared in 14; and Eau Claire Memorial, Fond du Lac and Middleton have made 13 appearances.

THE LAST TIME:  2019 is the last State Tournament played with the cancellation of the 2020 season and Tournament Series in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eau Claire North won the Division 1 championship with a 5-4 victory over Sun Prairie in the title game. Antigo captured the Division 2 title with an 8-3 win over Union Grove in the championship final. Stratford defeated Markesan 9-4 to win the Division 3 championship, and Webster won the Division 4 crown by downing Mineral Point 11-1 in the championship game.

THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  Top-seeded Sun Prairie qualifies for the State Tournament for the 16th time overall and essentially for the second straight time with the 2020 season and tournament canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cardinals finished runner-up in 2019. They have been crowned champions eight times, which leads the membership. They won the Class A title in 1974 and added Division 1 championships in 1994, 1997, 2005, 2006, and three in a row from 2012-14. The Cardinals also advanced to the title game in 2017 and finished runner-up. They battered Janesville Craig 15-2 in five innings in the sectional final hosted at Sun Prairie. They are the champions in the Big Eight Conference this spring. Second-seeded Bay Port returns to State for the 13th time and for the first time since 2015. The Pirates won back-to-back championships in 2009-10 and finished runner-up in 2012. They are the champions of the Fox River Classic Conference this spring and have qualified for State with an 8-7 victory over Kimberly in the Appleton East Sectional final. Union Grove, the third seed, returns to the State Tournament field for the second straight season when taking into account the 2020 season was canceled. The Broncos move up a division after finishing runner-up in Division 2 in 2019, and they fell in the first round in their only other State appearance in 1952. They are the champions of the Southern Lakes Conference this spring. The Broncos defeated Muskego 7-5 in the sectional final held at Kenosha Bradford to earn another berth in the State Tournament field. Fourth-seeded Pewaukee makes it first State Tournament appearance in what was formerly considered spring baseball. The Pirates made three appearances in the summer baseball program, the most recent in 2015. The most notable experience of the three was advancing to the semifinals in 1972. They reach the State quarterfinals this year following a convincing 18-0 win over Franklin in five innings in the South Milwaukee Sectional final. They placed first in the Woodland Conference this spring. The Pirates have outscored tournament opponents by a combined 36-0 in their three games. Menomonee Falls is seeded fifth. The program makes its first appearance in the tournament after making eight appearances in the summer baseball program with the most recent coming in 2018, which was the last season of the summer baseball program. The Phoenix won back-to-back championships in 2015-16 and finished runner-up in 2001 and 2004. It advances to the State Tournament this season with a 6-1 win over Arrowhead in the Arrowhead Sectional final. The Phoenix placed first in the Greater Metro Conference in 2021. Sixth-seeded Eau Claire Memorial is making its 13th trip to State and its first since 2008. The Old Abes won State titles in 1964, 1966 and 1968 and finished second in 1978. They cruised past D.C. Everest 10-0 in five innings in the sectional final hosted by Marshfield. The Old Abes finished fourth the Big Rivers Conference in 2021. Seventh-seeded West Bend East makes its first appearance at State after making 10 appearances in the summer baseball tourney before that season was discontinued in 2018. The last time the Suns advanced to State was in 2015. The three State championships they won came in 1993, 1999 and 2002. They also had a runner-up finish in 1979. The Suns finished runner-up in the North Shore Conference this year. Their path to State was completed with a 3-0 shutout over Manitowoc Lincoln in the Oshkosh North Sectional final. The Suns have not allowed a run in their three tournament games, outscoring opponents by combined 14-0 during the journey. Eighth-seeded Onalaska qualifies for the third time overall and for the first time since 1994. The Hilltoppers furthest advance at State came in their first appearance in 1991 when they advanced to the semifinals before their tournament run ended. They are the champions of the Mississippi River Valley Conference this year. They edged Middleton 2-1 in the final of the Baraboo Sectional to advance to the State quarterfinals.

THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Top-seeded Denmark is back in the State Tournament for the first time since 2005 and for the third time overall. The Vikings’ first-ever appearance was in 2002. In both their previous experiences, they advanced to the championship game and finished runner-up. This season, they defeated Rhinelander 3-1 in the Wrightstown Sectional final to gain a berth in State Tournament bracket. They are the champions of the North Eastern Conference this season. Second-seeded Catholic Memorial makes its first-ever appearance in the State Tournament as a result of a 2-1 victory over Lake Country Lutheran in the Kewaskum Sectional final. The Crusaders placed third in the Classic Eight Conference this spring. Third-seeded Jefferson is returning to the tournament for the seventh time and the first time since 2018 when the Eagles finished runner-up. They won their lone title in 2014 and also advanced to the championship final in 1994, which resulted in a runner-up finish. Their return to the State semifinals comes by virtue of out-slugging Mount Horeb 12-9 in the Brodhead Sectional final. They are the runners-up in the Rock Valley Conference this season. Rice Lake is seeded fourth in the bracket. The  Warriors will be making their fourth appearance at State and the first since qualifying in Class A in 1982. They also had appearances in 1961 and 1964, and they are looking to advance past the first round for the first time. The Warriors beat Medford 7-4 in the sectional final played at Rice Lake. They finished fifth in the Big Rivers Conference this season.

THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Top-seeded Coleman returns to State for the fourth time overall and for the first time since winning the Division 4 championship in 2012. The first two Cougars’ State experiences resulted in losses in the semifinals in Division 3 in 1997 and 2011. They edged Chilton 3-2 in the Crandon Sectional final to return to the tourney field. They are the champions of the Marinette & Oconto Conference this spring. Second-seeded Kenosha St. Joseph has qualified for the final four for the sixth time and for the first time since 2018. Prior to that, the Lancers’ made four appearances during a span of five years from 2005-09, which resulted in back-to-back championships in 2005-06 and another in 2009. They had a number of championships as a former member of WISAA, winning titles in 1965, 1970, 1977 and 1988. This season, the Lancers finished atop the standings in the Metro Classic Conference. They have advanced through the Random Lake Sectional, which culminated with a 6-4 win over Ozaukee in the final.  Third-seeded Marathon qualifies for State for the sixth time and for the first time since 2015. The Red Raiders have captured three State crowns. They won titles in their first two apparence in 1992 and 2008, and then again in 2010. To advance to the tournament field this year, they scored seven runs in the ninth to post an 8-1 win over Markesan in the sectional final held at Viroqua. The Red Raiders placed third in the South Division of the Marawood Conference this year. Regis is seeded fourth. The Ramblers have qualified twice before, and in each of those appearances they advanced to the championship game. They won the title in 2002 and finished runner-up in 2007. They earned their berth in the tournament by winning the Cumberland Sectional with a 5-4 victory over St. Croix Falls in the final. The Ramblers finished fourth in the West Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season.

THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  Top-seeded Boyceville makes what is essentially its second straight State appearance after qualifying in 2019 and having the 2020 season and tournament canceled. Their only other experience at State came in 2000, which resulted in a runner-up finish in Division 3.  This season they played to a first-place finish in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. They qualify for State with a 14-0 drubbing of the former two-time defending champion Webster in five innings in the Shell Lake Sectional final. Rosholt, the second seed, will be making its fifth State appearance and its first in a decade. The Hornets’ most notable experience in the State Tournament was a runner-up finish in 2008. They defeated Johnson Creek 3-1 in the sectional final held at Almond-Bancroft. The Hornets finished first in the South Division of  Central Wisconsin Conference this spring. Third-seeded Greenwood is returning to the State Tournament for the sixth time overall and for the first time since winning the championship in 2013. The Indians won two other titles, including the Class C title in 1988 and 1990. They also have a runner-up finish in 1986. The Indians are the runners-up in the Eastern Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. They advance to the State semifinals with a 7-3 win over Edgar in the Athens Sectional final. Fourth-seeded Southwestern will appear in the State Tournament for the first time since its only other experience in 2010, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals. The Wildcats placed fourth in the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League this season. Their return to the tournament field came virtue of a 4-2 win over Bangor in the Pecatonica Sectional final.

NEED RESULTS?:  The quickest way to get results will be to access the baseball results page on the WIAA website at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Spring/Baseball/Tournament and choose the appropriate links on the “Tournament” page.

STATE SOUVENIR PROGRAMS ONLINE:  The souvenir programs for the 2021 spring State Tournaments are available online and available to download and print at no cost. The complete State Baseball Tournament program with rosters of qualifiers, history and schedule information can be accessed at: https://wiaa1.app.box.com/s/36zu31cjdyybd75knv64mpnao18y8p88.

ORDER STATE MEET APPAREL ONLINE: WIAA-licensed apparel is available online for the 2021 State Baseball Tournament. To browse and purchase branded merchandise, visit the WIAA Store at: https://wiaastatebaseball21.itemorder.com/sale. Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 5.

FOLLOW THE TOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive the updates of the State Spring Baseball Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter accounts. The Twitter account is @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaabase. Also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]