By Paul Lecker
MARATHON – Stratford continued its incredible run of great pitching, holding Marathon to a single run in a 5-1 victory in a WIAA Division 3 baseball regional final Wednesday at Marathon High School.
The Tigers (18-2) move on to the Division 3 Sectional 2 tournament on Tuesday at Crandon. Stratford will take on Iola-Scandinavia (22-3) at 10 a.m., and Peshtigo (17-6) and Neenah St. Mary Central (17-2) will play in the other semifinal at 1 p.m., with the winners meeting in the sectional final at 4 p.m. with a berth in the state tournament on the line.
The 2019 WIAA State Baseball Tournament will be held June 11-13 at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, near Appleton.
Chandler Schmidt threw a complete game for Stratford, allowing just five hits and one third-inning run.
Stratford struck first with a run in the top of the second. Riley Bauman reached on a fielder’s choice, Devyn Palmer singled, and Bauman scored on a single by Lance Heidmann.
After Marathon tied the game on an RBI single by Carter Hanke, Stratford went back on top in the fifth.
With one out, Colten Schillinger walked, stole second, and scored on a single up the middle by Dawson Moen.
Stratford tacked on two more runs in the sixth. Palmer walked, Heidmann hit a fly ball that went off the leftfielder’s glove for a two-base error, and Schmidt smacked a single up the middle to score both runners and put Stratford up 4-1.
Heidmann had a walk with the bases loaded in the seventh for the Tigers’ final run.
Marathon’s one run was the only run allowed by Stratford pitching in its three regional playoff games.
The Tigers, winners of 11 games in a row, will move on to sectionals for the first time since 2003. Stratford’s only state tournament appearance came in 1989, when it lost a Class C semifinal.
Tigers 5, Raiders 1
Stratford 010 012 1 – 5 10 2
Marathon 001 000 0 – 1 5 4
WP: Chandler Schmidt. LP: Jaden Koeller.
SO: Schmidt 3; Koeller (5 2/3 inn.) 3, Miles Williamson (1 1/3 inn.) 1. BB: Schmidt 2; Koeller 3, Williamson 2.
Top hitters: S, Schmidt 1×5, 2 RBIs; Kade Ehrike 2×4, run; Lance Heidmann 1×3, 2 RBIs; Devyn Palmer 2B, run.
Records: Stratford 18-2; Marathon 17-3.