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Sectional baseball seedings slight could motivate Superior

Superior's path through the Wisconsin Division 1 high school baseball playoffs is littered with as many potential potholes as a spring drive down Duluth's side streets.

Taylor Olson

Superior's path through the Wisconsin Division 1 high school baseball playoffs is littered with as many potential potholes as a spring drive down Duluth's side streets.

Despite posting a 13-7 record heading into today's regular-season doubleheader finale at Eau Claire North, Superior received a No. 8 seed in the 12-team Sectional 1 playoffs.

Even if the Spartans find a way past Tuesday's first-round opponent River Falls, top-seeded Eau Claire North (17-2) stands in the way. A murderer's row of No. 2 Eau Claire Memorial (18-4), No. 3 Merrill (17-4), No. 4 Stevens Point (13-5) and No. 5 Chippewa Falls (15-5) make Superior's chances of getting through a long shot.

Yet the Spartans are quietly confident of making a run due to solid hitting up and down the lineup and, until Friday's 8-5 home loss to Duluth Central, quality fielding.

"Hopefully this is just a small bump in the road," Spartans coach Don Dembroski said of his team's five errors. "During the course of a long season, you're going to have peaks and valleys. I'm confident the guys are going to rebound and keep us in the game with their defense."

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The Spartans have had good pitching, for the most part, led by junior Dylan Ramage (4-0, 0.97 ERA), who will throw against River Falls. Ramage knows his team will have to focus more come playoff time.

"We can't make errors; we have to field the ball," he said. "We have to do everything 10 times better to beat Eau Claire (North)."

Shortstop Kellen McCoshen (.415 batting average), Ramage (.375) and Nick Sitek (.375) are the team's top hitters.

McCoshen said the team hopes to use a perceived seedings slight as motivation. The perception is that Big Rivers and Wisconsin Valley conference schools tend to stick together to freeze out a solitary school such as Superior. That's perhaps a reason why Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (11-10) received a sixth seed.

"We don't get a whole lot of respect in our section because (other schools) don't think we play as high-caliber of a schedule as some of the teams down south do, but we feel we're well-deserving," said McCoshen, one of only three seniors on the squad. "We take it on our own shoulders that if they don't give us the respect, then we're going to show it on the field."

Dembroski says there's only one way to turn that belief around, and that's to win.

"I don't know how much guys believe in that bulletin board stuff, but I feel like we have something to prove that we can play with those teams a couple hours down the road," he said.

Related Topics: BASEBALLSUPERIOR
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