First trip to state baseball tourney in school history
Webster 16, Butternut/Mercer 1
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
SHELL LAKE – The Webster Tigers left little chance for opposing teams during the full slate of Division 4 sectional baseball Tuesday, June 6. The Tigers needed two wins to earn their first trip to the state baseball tournament in school history and dominated the day, outscoring their two opponents 29-1 to earn the opportunity to play at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton.
Jordan Larson got the start in the Tigers sectional semifinal game against Butternut/Mercer, which was the first of three sectional games held in Shell Lake. Larson was effective throughout four innings of work, allowing just one run on four hits with four key strikeouts. Two of those came in the first and second innings to end a threat by Butternut/Mercer with runners on base, and again in the fourth inning with two outs and bases loaded.
“He got himself in a couple jams but made the big pitches when he had to so it was great,” said Webster coach Jarrod Washburn.
By then, however, the Tigers were largely in control at the plate, leading 7-1 after three complete innings.
Webster wasted little time, offensively, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Trevor Gustafson led the inning off with an infield single and stolen base. A throwing error on Butternut/Mercer led to the first run of the game and, after a Trenton Wols walk, Jack Washburn smacked an RBI single.
The Tigers top hitter, Hunter Gustafson, currently hitting over .500, was intentionally walked to load the bases and, with one out, Larson followed through with a two-RBI single down the first baseline to lift the Tigers to a 3-0 lead. The fast start proved to be a common theme in both games on Tuesday, and the Tigers weren’t done scoring against Butternut/Mercer. They’d score another four in the bottom of the second, and nine in the fifth to win the sectional semifinal with 13 hits. Five Tigers drove in multiple runs on the night with Washburn, Hunter Gustafson, Brad Sigfrids, Larson and Matt Buffington recording three RBIs each.
Trevor Gustafson was 4 for 4 in the leadoff spot and scored three times, and Washburn, Hunter Gustafson and Sigfrids each had two hits.
Larson would pick up the win on the mound through four innings of work, and Caleb Pardun came on to pitch the final inning, with three strikeouts and one walk allowed.
Webster 13, EC Immanuel 0
In the biggest performance of his young high school career so far, Webster sophomore Jack Washburn delivered one of his best games of the year not only on the mound, but also at the plate in the sectional championship game against the Eau Claire Immanuel Lancers. The late-afternoon game came shortly after the Lancers defeated McDonell Central in a 2-1 game, but it was all Webster in this one as the Tigers got off to another fast start and never looked back.
“That’s huge, anytime you can put up runs up early in a game like that and put the other team in a hole, it allows your team to relax a little more and put some pressure on that other team,” said coach Jarrod Washburn.
Jarrod’s son Jack Washburn retired the side in the top half of the first inning and the offensive floodgates opened quickly for the Tigers, who scored nine runs on just four hits in the first inning. The Tigers really only needed a couple of runs on the board with Washburn’s performance. He allowed just one hit in the shutout victory, with 13 strikeouts and one walk.
At the plate he continued to dominate, nearly hitting for the cycle with a three-RBI triple to cap off the nine-run first inning, a single and solo home run to lead off the third for a four-RBI night.
“He had the game of his life and picked the right time to do it. He’s a talented kid, and seems to keep getting better,” Washburn said.
Errors plagued the Lancers throughout the game, with five coming in the first inning alone. Of the Tigers 13 runs, only four were earned, but with 12 hits on the day, Webster created their own good fortune in the process. Hunter Gustafson continued his solid plate performances, going 3 for 4 and scoring a run. Matt Buffington had a pair of hits with an RBI and Caleb Pardun drove in two runs with one hit.
“Every kid just seems to be stepping up and playing their best ball at the right time, and hopefully it continues for one more week,” said Washburn.
There are now four teams left in Division 4, and Webster will be facing Independence/Gilmanton in the semifinal game Wednesday, June 14, at 8 a.m. Athens and Oakfield will play the next Division 4 semifinal and the winner of both games will face each other in the championship game the following day, Thursday, June 15, at 9 a.m.
All state tournament baseball games are played at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in the Town of Grand Chute, just west of Appleton. The stadium is home to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Midwest League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.