Somerset baseball earns return trip to sectional tournamentThe Somerset baseball team will be playing in the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament for the third time in four years after winning the regional championship last Wednesday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset baseball team will be playing in the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament for the third time in four years after winning the regional championship on Wednesday.
The Spartans rallied from a 5-4 deficit in the sixth inning to defeat Osceola 8-5 in Wednesday’s regional title game at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset. The previous day the Spartans fought off a persistent Amery team to win 2-1.
Somerset was scheduled face Spooner in a rematch of last year’s sectional championship game in the opening round of Tuesday’s Division 2 sectional tournament. The sectional tournament was played at Barron. Ellsworth faced West Salem in the other sectional semifinal game. The winners were scheduled to play in the sectional title game.
In both of the regional wins, the Spartan offense didn’t get rolling until late in the game. The Spartans scored once in the third inning when Dominick Lohmeier ripped a double to rightfield. The Spartans looked to be in good shape when they scored three times in the fifth inning. Freshman Tyler Lueck had the big hit, rolling a single up the middle against a drawn-in infield to score runs.
Osceola came back with a four-run rally in the top of the sixth inning, taking a 5-4 lead. The Spartans struck right back in the bottom of the inning.
Somerset took the lead in the sixth inning on a two-run double by senior Cody Joiner. Evan Gaddis followed with an RBI triple to the deepest part of centerfield. Lueck followed with a bloop single over first base to bring home Gaddis with the final run.
Andy Peters got the win in relief after taking over in the sixth inning from starter Nate Olin.
Joiner also drove home the decisive run in Tuesday’s regional semifinal win over Amery. Somerset’s Zack Waalen and Amery’s Gabe Paulson locked into an excellent pitching battle. Amery scored once in the first inning, but never threatened again.
It seemed that Somerset threatened in every inning. The Spartans had the bases loaded in the first, second and fourth innings, but couldn’t score in any of those innings. They did score single runs in the third and sixth innings.
Gaddis led off the third inning. Peters, used as a courtesy runner, scored on a single by Austin Bushinger.
The sixth inning started with Jake Mantalica reaching on an error. With two outs, the Spartans got Mantalica to third base. That’s when Joiner struck again. His grounder deep in the hole glanced off the Amery shortstop’s glove, but both runners would have reached even if the ball had been handled cleanly.
Waalen threw a two-hitter in the win, allowing one walk. In one stretch, Waalen retired 12 straight Warriors. Joiner led the team with three hits while Gaddis and Jordan Langness each produced two hits.
Somerset is one of three Middle Border Conference teams that qualified for baseball sectional tournaments. Ellsworth also advanced and Prescott qualified for the Division 3 sectional tournament in Cumberland.