Panthers knock off conference baseball leader
In terms of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference baseball standings, it robbed Amery of a chance of the outright conference championships.
In terms of the St. Croix Central baseball program, last Tuesday's 10-8 win over Amery was a huge step in the maturation process of the Panthers.
Central has been able to beat most of the teams that reside lower in the standings than the Panthers. But until this game, the Panthers have not been able to knock off one of the teams above them in the D-SC standings.
Central coach Mike Fern has an eye to the future, knowing that Amery, Osceola and Prescott, three of the top teams in the conference, will be moving back to the Middle Border Conference next season. This leaves the door open for the young and improving Panthers to emerge as a contender in the large school division of the D-SC next year.
With the wind blowing out and the short fences at the Amery field, Tuesday's game was a slugfest, with five homers knocked over the fence. Amery led 5-2 until the Panthers put together one of their largest innings of the season. The Panthers scored eight runs in the sixth inning. Six of the runs came across on a pair of two-run homers, by Mark Shaver and Nick Nygaard.
Mike Katner pitched the complete game win for the Panthers. He struggled keeping his pitches down early in the game, but then improved his pitch location to slow down Amery's offense.
"That was nice for Michael, as a senior. That was probably the biggest win he's had here," said Coach Fern.
Amery did get its share of the conference title on Thursday, when the Warriors beat Mondovi 10-0.
Loss to another leader
On Thursday the Panthers lost to Colfax 6-4. Colfax isn't a pretty team, but the Panthers found out that Colfax has several hitters who can pound the ball.
The Panthers did not have a good night offensively against Colfax. The Panthers took eight walks, but only got five hits and had some tentative swings against Colfax lefty Colin Peterson.
Two of Central's runs scored on errors. The other two came home on fourth inning RBI from Jeff Fern and Brenton Hartung.
The Panthers finished their regular season with an impressive 15-6 win over Plum City.
In each of the first four innings the Panthers scored twice, before dropping a six-run bomb in the sixth inning.
Katner pitched the first five innings to earn the win in the game. Katner and Jeff Fern each scored three runs.
Shaver drove home three runs in the game. Katner, Tilton and the Fern twins each had two hits.
Central finishes the regular season with an 11-8 record.
Some of the best news the Panthers got last week came out of the WIAA Division 3 seeding meeting. The Panthers earned the second seed in the regional, which earns them a bye in the opening round of regionals, scheduled for Thursday. With that day open, the Panthers will scrimmage at Baldwin-Woodville Thursday, against the Blackhawks' summer team.
Central will play its first tournament game next Tuesday at 5 p.m. The opponent will be either St. Croix Falls, the third seed, or Luck, the sixth seed.
St. Croix Central 10, Amery 8
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (10)
Tilton ss 3-1-1, Fedie lf 4-0-0, Nygaard c 4-2-3, Katner p 4-1-2, Shaver 3b 3-1-1, Nilssen 1b 4-0-0, Je.Fern cf 1-2-1, Hartung 2b 4-2-2, Ja.Fern rf 3-1-0. Totals 30-10-10.
Mullendore p 4-2-1, Thompson dh 3-1-1, Davidsavor 1b 4-1-1, Pederson ss 3-2-1, Roy 3b 4-1-1, Gorres cf 3-0-0, Moore rf 3-1-1, Peterson lf 3-0-0, Measner c 3-0-3, Rubenzer 2b 0-0-0. Totals 30-8-9.
2B-Nygaard, Mullendore, Measner. HR-Nygaard, Shaver, Davidsavor, Pederson, Roy. SCC RBI-Tilton, Fedie, Nygaard 3, Shaver 3.
St. Croix Central 000 028 0=10
Amery 110 030 2=8
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO
St. Croix Central
Katner (W) 7 9 8 8 0 7
Colfax 6, St. Croix Central 4
Stubb ss 5-0-0, Hahn c 3-2-1, Peterson p 4-1-3, Brewer 3b 4-1-1, Kiekhafer 3b 3-1-1, Buckley lf 3-0-1, Berjic cf 4-0-0, Jones 1b 4-0-0, Aldrich dh 4-0-0, Sikora rf 0-0-0. Total 34-6-7.
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (4)
Tilton ss 4-1-0, Fedie 3b 3-1-0, Nygaard c 4-0-2, Katner lf 4-0-1, Shaver p 4-1-1, Nilssen 1b 1-1-0, Je.Fern cf 3-0-0, Hartung 2b 2-0-1, Ja.Fern rf 3-0-0. Totals 28-4-5.
Colfax 001 040 02=6
St. Croix Central 100 210 00=4
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO
St. Croix Central
Shaver (L) 8 7 6 5 3 7