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Rangers nip Bobcats

Walk-off single ends 8-inning tourney game

(Matt McCarthy/Daily News photo) Florence’s Logan Schuls smacks an RBI single in Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 regional baseball game at Adam Plekinger Field in Wausaukee.

WAUSAUKEE, Wis. — In a nip-and-tuck WIAA Division 4 playoff opener, Wausaukee won in walk-off fashion — 7-6 in 8 innings — at Adam Plekinger Field on Thursday.

“This was a great baseball game. It was played fairly clean and went back and forth,” said Rangers head coach Jon Betts. “Usually our ‘M-O’ on defense is to not have efficient innings. We like to make things interesting, but tonight we were more efficient on defense.”

The Rangers scored a run in each of the first two innings, but Florence plated three runs in the third to take a one-run lead. Senior Cody Reubens, along with freshmen Logan Schuls and Kyle Leffler, each drove in a run.

Schuls finished the game with a team-high 3 RBI’s, with two coming off a single in the top half of the fourth inning that scored Cole Sweig and Evan Johnson.

Johnson scored three runs for the Bobcats, including the last of the three runs scored in the top of the sixth on a throwing error by the Rangers catcher.

Freshman William Kelley reached base four times on walks for Florence.

Sweig toed the mound for the Bobcats, surrendering six runs on nine hits in six innings of work. Tyler Novak pitched the final two innings for Florence, surrendering a run and a hit.

“Cole and Tyler both threw well,” said veteran Florence head coach Dave LaPoint. “The kids made a game of it today, but it was a mistake or two that cost us at key times.”

The Rangers were led at the plate by Brenden Versaskas, who went 4-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI’s. Kamden Stumbris also cracked a double for Wausaukee.

Alex Wojcik, who started the game on the mound, also came back in to pitch in the eighth inning. He struck out four, walked two and also drove in the game-winning run for Wausaukee in the bottom of the eighth.

“Wojcik pitched great, especially when I decided to bring him back in the game,” Betts said. “We hit the ball well tonight, we put it in play and hit it hard.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Wausaukee’s lead-off hitter Connor Schroeder reached base after being hit by a pitch. Stumbris walked and Schroeder ended up on third base during Stumbris’ at-bat via a passed ball.

Wojcik hit a pop up to short right field that landed out of the reach of the Bobcats’ second baseman Schuls, scoring Schroeder to end the game.

Schroeder also pitched four and 1/3 innings in relief for Wausaukee, fanning seven while surrendering a lone earned run and one hit. The Rangers, who are in the Marinette-Oconto Conference, improved to 7-11 on the season with the win.

The Bobcats end the season with a 5-10 record (4-8 Northern Lakes Conference). It was the final game of LaPoint’s 47-year career as the Bobcats head baseball coach.

“This is a young team, so I believe the future is bright for this team,” LaPoint said. “My mind feels I could have coached three more years to get to 50 (years), but my health won’t allow it anymore, it’s time to be done.”

“My 47 years has been a fun trip. I have made a lot of good friends, coached a lot of great kids and great athletes,” LaPoint added. “All the credit given to me goes to the kids I have coached. Florence athletics are strongly supported by the community and always have been, I want to thank everyone for that.”

Florence 0 0 3 2 0 1 0 0 — 6/5/3

Wausaukee 1 1 1 1 0 2 0 1 — 7/10/2

LAONA-WABENO 8,

NIAGARA 0

 LAONA, Wis. — Connor Taylor tossed a two-hitter as Laona-Wabeno defeated Niagara 8-0 in a WIAA Division 4 tournament opener Thursday. The game was called in the middle of the sixth inning due to lightning.

Mason Richtig had the only two hits for the Badgers, who trailed 4-0 after the first inning.

“When we did get guys on base, it was with one or two outs, and we didn’t move them over,” said Niagara head coach Dean Neveau.

Niagara pitchers Blake Holmes, Ross Shampo and Richtig allowed 11 hits and six walks and struck out two.

“Our pitchers are young. I think the fact that tonight was a postseason game, gave them some extra jitters,” Neveau said.

Taylor, who aided his own cause with a double and single, walked three and fanned eight. Braden Brauer also doubled and singled for the Rebels, while Carter Janesch and Ryan Roy each had two singles.

Niagara, after going on a long losing streak, won a handful of games near the end of the season.

“The boys showed improvement in many areas as the season went along, that’s all I ask of them and they did that,” Neveau said.

The Badgers’ lone senior, Dawson Lincoln, played his last game for Niagara on the evening.

Laona-Wabeno advances to the regional semifinal to play Goodman-Pembine on Tuesday at Dunbar, with the time to be determined.

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