Oconto To Defend State Baseball Title
The 67th annual WIAA Spring Baseball State Tournament runs June 17-19, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.
The State Spring Baseball Tournament features four divisions. The single elimination tournament includes eight teams in Division 1 and four each in Divisions 2, 3 and 4. The second game of each session will follow the first game.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of all four divisions of the WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament will be streamed live on the Internet at foxsportswisconsin.com. Watch the WIAA State Spring Baseball Championship finals of all four divisions live on FS Wisconsin and on the FS Wisconsin Alternate Channel.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The WIAA has been sponsoring the State Spring Baseball Tournament since 1948. Appleton West and Sun Prairie have won the most State championships with seven, followed by Catholic Central and Nekoosa with five. La Crosse Central has appeared in the most State Tournaments with 18. Milwaukee Bradley and Stevens Point have reached State 15 times; Appleton West has appeared in 14; and Eau Claire Memorial, Fond du Lac, Middleton and Oconomowoc are next with 12 State appearances.
Sun Prairie won its second consecutive Division 1 championship with a 5-4 win in eight innings over Stevens Point in the title game. Lodi won the Division 2 title with a 6-2 victory over Notre Dame in the championship final. Oconto captured the Division 3 championship with a 4-3 decision over Westby, and Greenwood downed Lake Country Lutheran 6-4 in the Division 4 championship game.
DIVISION 1 FIELD: Two-time defending champion Sun Prairie qualifies for the State Tournament for the 12th time. The Cardinals have been crowned champions seven times, which ties for the most of any member school. They won the Class A title in 1974 and added Division 1 championships in 1994, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2012 and again last year. They edged Oshkosh North 2-1 in the sectional final hosted by the Cardinals. The Cardinals are the champions of the Big Eight Conference this spring. Last years runner-up Stevens Point is making its 15th appearance overall in the State Tournament and its third in a row. The Panthers won State championships in 1979, 1987 and 1989, and were runners-up in 1975, 1984 and again last season. They are the champions of the Wisconsin Valley Conference this season, and they advanced through the Chippewa Falls Sectional with a 7-1 win over River Falls in the final.
Middleton advances to the State Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons and for the 12th time overall. The Cardinals won the State title in 2003 and have finished runner-up three times, in 1968, 1977 and 1995. They placed third in the Big Eight Conference behind State qualifiers Sun Prairie and Janesville Parker this spring and advanced through the sectional they hosted with an 7-3 win over Reedsburg in the final. Bay Port returns to State for the 11th time and for the third straight season. Moreover, the Pirates have qualified eight times over the past 12 seasons. They won back-to-back championships in 2009-10 and finished runner-up in 2012. They are the champions of the Fox River Classic Conference this spring and have qualified for State again with a 6-3 win over Ashwaubenon in the sectional final played at Wausau West.
DIVISION 2 FIELD: Last years runner-up Notre Dame advances to the State Tournament for the second straight season for the third time in the last four years, which accounts for its overall total of appearances. The Tritons lost in the quarterfinals in their only other experience at State in 2011. They earned their way into the State semifinals with an 8-4 win over Freedom in the Chilton Sectional final. The Tritons placed fifth in the Fox River Classic Conference this season.
Ripon is making its fifth State Tournament appearance and its first since 2011 when they won the Division 2 State title. The Tigers also won the title in 2000, as well as the Class B championship in 1988. They finished runner-up for the Eastern Valley Conference title this spring and earned their berth in the State Tournament with a 9-1 win over Big Foot in the Evansville Sectional final.
Jefferson is returning to the tournament for the first time since 1998 and is also participating in its fifth State Tournament overall. The Eagles furthest advance towards a State title came in 1994 when they finished runner-up. Their return to the State semifinals resulted from 5-4, eight-inning win over Waupun in the Waupun Sectional final. They are the champions of the North Division of the Rock Valley Conference this season.
Viroqua beat Somerset 10-6 in the Altoona Sectional final to advance to State. It is the third overall appearance for the Blackhawks and the first since 1985, when they were the runner-up in Class B. They also posted a second-place finish in their only other appearance in 1981. The Blackhawks finished first in the Coulee Conference this season.
DIVISION 3 FIELD: Defending champion Oconto returns for another run at a title. It is the Blue Devils fifth appearance overall, the three other previous experiences resulted in losses in the semifinals. This year, they finished second in the Packerland Conference standings and earned another appearance at State with a 4-0 shutout over Weyauwega-Fremont in the Oconto Sectional final.
Wisconsin Heights advances to the semifinals in Division 3 for the first time since 1998, which was the second of two straight runner-up finishes for the Vanguards. They also had two straight appearances in Class C in 1989 and 1990 that produced a State title and a second-place finish, respectively. Overall, its the sixth State appearance for the program. The Vanguards rolled to a 12-3 win over Neillsville to advance from the Riverdale Sectional final. They are the champions in the South Division of the Capitol Conference this season.
Racine St. Catherines is making its second appearance in the State Tournament. The Angels only other appearance in 2012 came in Division 2 and resulted in a loss in the semifinals. They qualify this season following a 3-2 victory over Gibraltar/Washington Island in the Ripon Sectional final. The Angels placed fifth in the Metro Classic Conference standings this spring. As a former member of WISAA, the Angels won six titles (1968, 1971-73, 1975-76).
Mondovi is celebrating its first-ever advance to the State Tournament. The Buffaloes beat Cumberland 9-1 in the sectional final played at Cumberland to continue its pursuit of their first State championship. Their advance to the State semifinals came on the heels of a first-place finish in the Large Division of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings.
DIVISION 4 FIELD: Last years runner-up Lake Country Lutheran is making its second State Tournament appearance. The Lightning earned the chance to continue its quest for a State title with an 11-0, five inning victory over Argyle in the Johnson Creek Sectional final. They are the champions in the Midwest Classic Conference this year.
McDonell Central advances to the State Tournament for the sixth time and for the first time since 2011. The Macks have finished as State runners-up in four of their previous five experiences including one in Division 3 in 2005 and three straight in Division 4 from 2009-11. Prior to joining the WIAA, they won a WISAA title in 1988 according to available records. This season, they finished in a first-place tie with Regis in the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference, and they cruised by Bruce 18-2 in five innings to win the Shell Lake Sectional final and earn another shot at the elusive State title.
Pittsville will be making its third appearance at State and its second in the past three seasons. The Panthers only other State experience came in Division 3 in 2006. On each of those previous occasions, the Panthers were eliminated from title contention in the semifinals. This years road to State was paved by a 3-2 decision over Wausaukee in the Tigerton Sectional final. They placed runner-up in the South Division of the Marawood Conference this season.
Ithaca has advanced to the State semifinals for the first time following its 4-2 win over Bangor in the Brookwood Sectional final. The Bulldogs finished the season in a tie for first place in the Ridge & Valley Conference standings with La Farge. It has been quite a historic week at Ithaca as its softball team qualified for its first-ever State Tournament as well.
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