Wisconsin Baseball Assn. tournament play begins this weekend with four eight-team tournaments, including in Haugen and Spooner.
The eight teams winning two games at those tournaments advance from the 32-team field to play in the state tourney the following weekend, Aug. 17-18, in Menomonie.
The Haugen Knights, host of this weekend’s WBA semifinal tournament, and Brill Millers are the local teams playing in Haugen. The Knights open the slate of six games by taking on the Tilden Tigers on Friday at 8 p.m.
Three more opening games follow on Saturday, including the Brill vs. River Falls Fighting Fish clash at 3 p.m.
On either side of the Brill game are Sparta vs. Westboro at noon, and the Eau Claire Cavaliers vs. La Crescent Cardinals at 6 p.m.
Sunday’s finals are at noon and 3 p.m., with the Knights playing at noon if they win their first game, and Brill playing at 3 p.m. if the Millers get a win on Saturday.
Brill comes into the tourney on a hot run, having won three games in the Independent Baseball League tournament last weekend in Spooner to claim the title. The Millers went 6-6 during the league season.
Regular season Indy champion Spooner also hosts a WBA semifinal tournament this weekend. The Spooner Cardinals get the tourney going by hosting the New Richmond Tigers at 7:30 p.m. Friday (see complete brackets).
The defending WBA champion Osseo Merchants are in this weekend’s tournament at Altoona. The other tournament is being played at Rib Lake.
Brill wins tourney title
The Brill Millers got their bats going in defeating Osceola, Spooner and Hayward to win last weekend’s Independent League tournament.
After a 12-3 rout of Osceola on Friday, highlighted by the two doubles of Chris Walters and single and double from Brandon Johns, the Millers turned to ace left-hander Rece Dietrich to shut out Spooner 4-0 in Saturday’s semifinals.
Dietrich went the distance—all tourney games were seven innings—holding the regular season champion Cardinals to four hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Brill took a 2-0 lead in the first when shortstop Billy Brown delivered a two-run single.
The Millers made it 3-0 in the third when Hunter Ashlin walked, got to third and scored on a throwing error. Brill tacked on one more run when Chris Walters stole second and third and rode home on Jarred Lindfors single.
Brill 5, Hayward 2
Hayward, regular season runner-up in the league, scored single runs in the first and second but no more in losing to Brill in Sunday’s title game.
Down 2-0, the Millers made it 2-1 in the third when Todd Brunclik singled, reach seconds on an error and then came out of the game with leg cramps. Pinch runner John Brunclik scored on a single by Walters.
The Millers tied the game in the fourth with a two-out rally when Ashlin doubled and scored on Frank Means’ single.
Brill then tacked on single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Johns singled in the go-ahead run, scoring John Brunclik who had singled.
Similar to Friday’s game against Osceola, Ashlin threw the first two innings, and Brown worked the final five, holding the Hawks scoreless.
Haugen Hornets 5,
Tony Hayshakers 4
After going through the regular league season winless, the revived Haugen Hornets of mostly high school-age players got their first win of the season Friday night against a former Indy league member, the Tony Hayshakers.
Tony took the place of the other Haugen team, the Knights, who could not field enough players for the weekend tourney.
The Hornets’ win ended in dramatic fashion when left fielder Isaac Rohde threw out Tony’s Bryce Meverden attempting to score the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Meverden tried to score on a fly-out to medium left field, but Rohde’s strike to catcher Nolan Rowe was in plenty of time to nail the Hayshaker.
Rohde was also the winning pitcher, going the first six innings before Ryley Olson threw the seventh.
Tony held leads of 2-0 and 4-2 before the Hornets tied the game in the top of the fourth on a two-out singles by Olson, Christian Lindow and Reilly Nolin.
The winning run came in the fifth when Rowe singled, stole second, reached third on an error and raced home on a sacrifice fly to center by Rohde.
The Hornets had 10 hits, including two each by Zack Fisher, who singled and scored in the third, and Joe Kroeger, who double and scored on Alex Kempf’s single in the second.
Hayward 7, Hornets 3
The Haugen Hornets tourney ended Saturday with a semifinal loss to Hayward.
Kroeger took the pitching loss, allowing all seven Hayward runs over two innings.
The Haugen club had five hits, including doubles by Paul Juza and Kroeger, whose two-bagger plated two in the fourth. Juza’s double drove in the Hornets’ third run in the fifth.
Independent Baseball League
(final 2019 standings)
at Spooner Merchant Park
First round games
Haugen Hornets 5, Tony 4 (note: Tony Hayshakers filled in for Haugen Knights, who pulled out of tourney)
Brill 12, Osceola 3
Brill 4, Spooner 0
Hayward 7, Haugen Hornets 3
Brill 5, Hayward 2