One day after a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Osceola, the Northwestern High School baseball team had a bit easier time of it in a 10-2 victory over Hayward in a WIAA Division 2 regional final Wednesday, May 29, in Iron River.
Trailing 1-0, the Tigers exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third inning and never looked back as they advanced to the sectional tournament Tuesday, June 4, in Altoona.
“The boys battled through adversity to get to Wednesday’s game, coming back from such a late deficit against Osceola, and that comeback speaks a lot to their character,” NHS coach Jovin Kroll said. “They are a gritty group that is used to high-pressure situations in several different sports, and it has showed with some of their late wins this year.”
The Tigers, whose last regional title was in 1985, will face Antigo in one semifinal at 10 a.m. Tuesday. New Richmond and Tomah will play in the other semifinal at 1 p.m., and the winners will play for a state tournament berth at 4 p.m.
“The regional title means a great deal to our program,” Kroll said. “It’s been a very long time coming, and a lot of parents and players put in years of effort to get our baseball team playing at this level.”
After two scoreless innings Wednesday, Hayward took a 1-0 lead on Jonah Sande’s RBI double in the top of the third.
The Tigers’ six-run third included Justin Sedin’s RBI double and three straight RBI singles by Brennen Werner, Kole Paulsen and David Wakefield.
After a pitching change by Hayward, pinch-hitter Gervase Thompson IV hit an RBI double giving Northwestern a 6-1 lead.
Hayward got one run back in the fourth on Josh Kanters RBI triple, but Carson Holsclaw matched his RBI triple and Paulsen hit a sac fly to give Northwestern an 8-2 lead.
Run-scoring singles by Nolan Gustafson in the fifth and Dylan Ronchi in the sixth complete the scoring.
Sedin was the winning pitcher with relief help from Andrew Klobucher. In 5.1 innings, Sedin allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out eight and walking two. Klobucher finished up, allowing two hits with one strikeout and one walk.
“The bats were exceptional against Hayward; everyone did their job and the result was a little more breathing room at the end of the game,” Kroll said. “Justin also showed a lot on the mound coming back after some work the previous day, and his bat has been as good as I have ever seen at this level. Andrew also looked really smooth closing the game out as well.”
Hayward had nine hits, including two hits and one RBI from both Kanters and Sande.
The Tigers will be attempting to advance to state for just the second time in school history. Their first state appearance came in 1962.
“The kids in our programs, and our school in general, are the best I have been around as a teacher and coach-their dedication and their high character as human beings really is what allows them to compete in all these sports and extracurriculars with such success,” Kroll said. “It has been a really great year at Northwestern, and we hope to continue the success in the future, but it takes work.”
NHS 7, Osceola 6
The Tigers scored four times in the bottom of the fifth inning and twice in the sixth to defeat Osceola on Tuesday in Iron River.
Northwestern's Wakefield walked to lead off the sixth inning with and tied it up on Ronchi's two-out single.
Ronchi moved to second on a wild pitch and scored the eventual game-winning run on Brill's single.
Sedin, pitching in a relief role, allowed a lead-off single in the top of the seventh, but then got a couple of ground balls and a pop out to the catcher as the Tigers improved to 17-4.
In his two innings of work, Sedin allowed one hit with two strikeouts and one walk.
He also led the Tigers at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a lead-off home run in the fourth inning and an RBI single in the fifth.
Brill also doubled for the Tigers; Ronchi was 2-for-3; Holsclaw hit a two-run single; and Nolan Gustafson had an RBI single.
Brill pitched the first five innings for the Tigers, allowing six runs on six hits while striking out six and walking five.
Maxon led Osceola at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Lalum also had a hit and two RBIs; and Ruthledge tripled in a run.
The Bloomer Blackhawks scored the only run they needed in the first inning as they ended the season for the Northwestern High School softball team with a 1-0 victory Tuesday, May 28, in Bloomer.
The Tigers outhit the Blackhawks 5-2 in the WIAA Division 3 Sectional semifinal, but the big blow for Bloomer was Calley Olson's double that scored Kenadi Poirier with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Poirier reached on an infield hit.
Northwestern pitcher Allison Luoma was perfect after Olson’s double, retiring the next 16 batters.
The Tigers got singles from Brooke Ogren in the second inning and Kennedy Nelson in the third, but didn't really treaten to score until the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out.
But a bunt attempt led to a force out at the plate and the next batter struck out to end the game and the Tigers’ season at 19-5.
Luoma’s two-hitter included four strikeouts. Emily Kuehl also struck out four batters for Bloomer.
Ogren had two of the Tigers’ five hits. Karsyn Jones, Nelson and Jayda Klobucher had the others.
Bloomer will host the winner of Stanley-Boyd and Prescott in the sectional final at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 30.