Raiders baseball team goes down fighting at sectionalThe Raider baseball team put it all on the line in last Thursday’s WIAA sectional round in Chippewa Falls, going 11 innings to defeat Marshfield, 5-1, in a semifinal game before putting the tying runs on base in the top of the seventh of the championship game only to come up short in a 4-2 loss to Stevens Point.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raider baseball team put it all on the line in last Thursday’s WIAA sectional round in Chippewa Falls, going 11 innings to defeat Marshfield, 5-1, in a semifinal game before putting the tying runs on base in the top of the seventh of the championship game only to come up short in a 4-2 loss to Stevens Point.
Hudson had won seven straight before Stevens Point ended their season in the sectional title game. The Raiders finished with a record of 16-9 while Stevens Point advanced to this week’s WIAA State Tournament in Appleton.
“I can’t be any more proud of how the guys played today,” Hudson coach Ryan Huppert said. “They played their hearts out in both games, overcame all the adversity the game threw at us, and put together two special games. It’s always tough when you don’t win the last one, but the guys have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Facing third-seeded Marshfield ace Elliot Ashbeck, who will pitch at NCAA Division I Bradley University in the fall, the seventh-seeded Raiders battled the Tigers to a 1-1 tie through seven innings in the semifinal. Marshfield scored an unearned run in the first against Raider starter Brett Steinwagner while Hudson’s run came in the top of the fourth on a base hit by Josh Evenson to score Todd Mork from second.
Marshfield had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and got a base hit to right, but Raider outfielder Drew Pheneger fired a strike to home plate to get the final out and extend the game.
Marshfield had another chance to win the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth, but Raider reliever Kellen Pearson got a pop out to end the inning.
The Raiders put together a four-run 11th inning to take the lead for good. Chuck Peterson led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Pheneger. Peterson scored on a double by Mike Hommes and Hommes came around on a base hit by Miles Lewis.
A base hit by Pearson and a wild pitch moved Lewis to third, and after Steinwagner walked to load the bases, Austin Evenson worked a walk to force in Lewis.
Marshfield had two runners on in the bottom of the 11th but Pearson slammed the door for the 5-1 win.
Hommes was 3-for-6 with a double and RBI and Josh Evenson had two hits and two RBI while Lewis and Peterson contributed two hits apiece. Steinwagner allowed just two hits and one unearned run while striking out seven and walking three over the first six innings. Pearson earned the victory, pitching five innings of scoreless relief.
The win meant the Raiders had to turn right around and play top-seeded Stevens Point in the sectional title game, and Hudson drew first blood when Hommes led off the game with a triple and scored on a base hit by Lewis for an early 1-0 lead.
Pheneger threw out another runner at the plate to end a Panther threat in the bottom of the first, but Point tied the score with an unearned run in the second and took a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Hudson’s defense came up big by turning three 6-4-3 double plays to keep it a one-run game and the Raiders tied it in the sixth when Blake Amborn, who was pinch running for Steinwagner after a walk, scored all the way from first when Austin Evenson doubled off the right-center field wall.
Stevens Point scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead, and Hudson had runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh after Lewis singled and Pearson was hit by a pitch. But a game-ending strikeout preserved the win for the Panthers.
Hommes and Lewis had two hits each while Hunter Frey got a pinch-hit, lead-off single in the fifth in his very first varsity at bat.
Steph Smith took the loss on the mound, allowing three runs, one earned, on nine hits with no strikeouts and no walks in five innings of work.
Huppert gave special thanks to the Raiders four seniors—Pheneger, Steinwagner, Pearson and Josh Dardine—for a successful season.
“All the hard work and dedication they put into the program the past four years; we would not have had the success we did this season without them,” he said. “I wish them all the best and know much more success is in the future for each one of them.”