The Raider baseball team played the role of spoiler last Tuesday by defeating Chippewa Falls, 10-7, in the final game of the regular season to prevent the Cardinals from earning a share of the Big Rivers Conference title.
In the process, the Raiders also ended the season in a four-way tie with Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire north and River Falls for second place in the final BRC standings, all at 7-5. Eau Claire Memorial, by virtue of its 8-1 win over Eau Claire North last Tuesday, earned the conference crown with a mark of 8-4.
The Raiders, 13-8 overall, drew the No. 7 seed in the 12-team WIAA regional and hosted No. 10 Merrill in a regional semifinal game this past Tuesday, May 29. The winner moves on to face second-seeded Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, May 31, at Carson Park in Eau Claire.
Last Tuesday against Chippewa Falls, Todd Mork had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBI and Kellen Pearson threw 5 2/3-innings of relief to earn the victory on the mound as the Raiders defeated the Cardinals, 10-7.
Chippewa Falls jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first but the Raiders answered with five runs in their half of the inning, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Austin Evenson. Pearson, Mork and Chuck Peterson also had RBI in the inning.
Chippewa chased Raider starter Brett Steinwagner with three more runs in the top of the second to tie the score, but Pearson came in as relief and allowed just two more Cardinals runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out five and walking one the rest of the way.
The Raiders got a run in the third to take a 6-5 lead when Mork doubled and scored on a base hit by Jake Shaw. They added another run in the fourth when Miles Lewis and Pearson both singled and Steinwagner walked to load the bases before Lewis scored on a passed ball.
The Cardinals got an unearned run in the fifth to cut the Raider lead to 7-6 before Hudson got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Mike Hommes waked, stole second and scored on a single by Lewis.
Mork doubled in a pair of runs in the sixth to extend Hudson's lead to 10-6 before Chippewa made the final 10-7 with a run in the seventh.