Wausaukee gets late runs, beats Niagara 3-1

Rangers win regional title

WAUSAUKEE, Wis. — Late-inning heroics highlighted Niagara and Wausaukee in the team’s first two meetings during the regular season. Wednesday’s WIAA Division 4 regional baseball final continued the same trend.

A two-run double by Cole Caylor in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a 1-1 tie and the Rangers helf off the Badgers 3-1 to advance to their first sectional semifinal since 2015.

Wausaukee plays in its sectional semifinal game on Tuesday at White Lake against Hilbert/Stockbridge at 2 p.m.

“What a crazy game,” Wausaukee coach Jon Betts said. “Cole struggled early, but picked the right time to redeem himself.”

Both teams split during the regular season, with the second game going to Niagara in extra innings after Wausaukee won the first matchup behind strong fifth and sixth innings.

“This is why you come to the ballpark,” Niagara coach Dean Neveau said. “Just a great game, especially for the regional championship. We both played each other so closely this season. It’s a tough loss, but Wausaukee earned it.”

The fun began in the top of the sixth with Wausaukee holding a narrow 1-0 lead.

Tristan DeJardin drew a leadoff walk and Landon Kaldor beat out a bunt single to start the inning.

Zach Prideaux then grounded into a fielder’s choice to short, which got DeJardin out. Josh Weber also reached on a fielder’s choice to help advance Kaldor to third. Charlie Schaefer followed by reaching on an error at short, which plated Kaldor and tied the game at one before a groundout ended the inning.

With the momentum in Niagara’s favor, the Rangers’ first two batters went down in the bottom of the sixth.

Down 1-2 in the count, Matthew Delfosse fought off a couple tough pitches from Niagara starter Anthony Hansen before dropping a bloop single to left. A wild pitch advanced Delfosse, prompting Neveau to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Andrew Schroeder to set up Caylor.

Caylor drilled the first pitch he saw down the left-field line, all the way to the fence, which plated both Delfosse and Schroeder to give Wausaukee the 3-1 lead.

“I would walk him every time in that situation because of how well he was hitting,” Neveau said. “I give credit to (Cole) Caylor, he came up with a clutch hit.”

Looking to finish what he started, Delfosse entered the seventh at 82 pitches. After Casey Antinossen reached on an error to lead off the inning, Delfosse mowed down the next three batters on a flyout to center, strikeout and popout to short to end the game with a pitch count of 93.

“Our pitching and defense were the difference for us today,” Betts said. “Both teams played a pretty clean game. I thought Matthew threw really well, like he has all season.”

The Rangers jumped on the board in the fourth inning after Delfosse drew a one-out walk and Schroeder roped a single down the right-field line. A throwing error to second brought Delfosse in on the play.

Wausaukee had other scoring chances in the fourth and fifth, but a failed fake bunt steal cost the Rangers a runner at third in the fourth and a suicide squeeze bunt right back to the pitcher resulted in a tag-out at home.

“We missed some opportunities,” said Betts. “The game came down to a couple plays here and there and some clutch two-out hitting.”

Delfosse earned the mound win for the Rangers (13-6), allowing one unearned run on two hits with nine strikeouts.

Hansen suffered the loss for Niagara (8-9), giving up three runs (two earned), on four hits with four K’s. Kaldor tossed one scoreless inning in relief, giving up just one hit.

“You can’t be upset about a loss like this. Both teams played hard and someone had to win,” Neveau said. “We’ve had a good run the last couple of years so we’ll be rooting for Wausaukee and the M&O next week.”

Neveau said he told his team to be proud of the season they had this year, taking second place in the conference.

“I told them to keep their heads up and be proud of what they accomplished through this year. Really sad to see the seniors go,” Neveau said of Casey Antonissen and Prideaux. “They really stepped up with their leadership. I said I’m really really excited to work with all the returning players next year. Our young kids got a lot of playing time this year which is going to help us down the road.”

Niagara 000 001 0 — 1 2 1

Wausaukee 000 102 x — 3 5 2

WP — Matthew Delfosse 7IP, 1R, 0ER, 2H, 9K, 2BB

LP — Anthony Hansen 5IP, 3R, 2ER, 4H, 4K, 3BB

LOB–Niagara 5, Wausaukee 3. RBI–Cole Caylor 2. ERR–Casey

Antonissen, Aiden Shaw, Andrew Schroeder. 2B–Caylor.

SACB–Corbin Hultquist.

PB–Landen Kaldor, Hayden Renikow. WP–Anthony Hansen, Matt Delfosse (2). BALK–Delfosse. SO–Antonissen, Logan Carlson (3), Zach Prideaux, Tristan DeJardin, Hansen, Charlie Schaefer, Josh Weber, Renikow (2), Hultquist, Delfosse. BB–Antonissen, DeJardin, Delfosse, Schroeder, Justin Parr.