Legion baseball’s local Hoppers make it to state competition

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The state-qualifying Prairie du Chien Hoppers include (front row, from left) Tommy Mara, Ty Wagner, Owen Oldenburg, Noah Pedretti, Bryce Lenzendorf, Dawson Eastman, Ryan Waller; (back row) Coach Drew Bode, Head Coach Nate Cejka, Caeleb Cipra, Aden McCluskey, Maddox Cejka, Chase Fisher, Colton Thompson, Jon Nicholson, Brady Russell, Coach Bjorn Thompson and Coach Gavin Gillitzer. Not pictured is Nick Mara.

Pitcher Chase Fisher celebrates the Hoppers’ regional championship win over GET Sunday in Galesville. In the background, shortstop Jon Nicholson pumps his fist in excitement.

Colton Thompson is deemed safe after sliding into home in game 3 of 19U American Legion baseball regionals last weekend. (Photos by Deb McCluskey)

Tagging out a GET runner at third base, Maddox Cejka gets his glove down and beats the runner for the out.

The Prairie du Chien American Legion Post 68 19U baseball team is regional champions. Their on-fire efforts in three games at Galesville over the weekend earned them the regional title as well as a spot in the Class A state tournament in Viroqua, July 28-Aug. 2.

Game one started things off Friday, July 22. The Hoppers faced GET and snuck past them, 5-4, thanks to a walk-off single from Ty Wagner in the bottom of the seventh. He singled on a 1-0 count, scoring the winning run.

Prairie du Chien earned the victory despite allowing GET to score three runs in the sixth inning. GET scored its runs on a double by Owen Eddy.

The Hoppers got things started in the first inning when an error scored one.

Colton Thompson led things off on the pitcher’s mound for Prairie du Chien. The lefty lasted five and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and three runs while striking out eight.

Collin Handke was on the pitcher’s mound for GET. The pitcher went six innings, allowing four runs on two hits and striking out five.

The Hoppers scattered five hits in the game. Wagner and Aden McCluskey each collected two hits to lead the team.

GET tallied seven hits on the day. Zach Grams and Eddy each had multiple hits for GET.

In the second regional contest, which was split into Saturday and Sunday due to rain, the boys knocked out Whitehall, 10-0, on the wings of a no-hitter from Hoppers McCluskey and Chase Fisher.

Prairie du Chien’s offense also secured the victory thanks to eight runs in the fourth inning. Some big bats were led by Fisher, McCluskey, Jon Nicholson, Brady Russell, and Owen Oldenburg, all driving in runs in the frame.

The Hoppers got on the board in the first inning when Fisher doubled on a 1-0 count, scoring one run. Then, the eight-run fourth inning filled the books.

McCluskey was on the hill for Prairie du Chien. The pitcher surrendered zero runs on zero hits over three innings, striking out five.

Devin Mocune led things off on the mound for Whitehall. Mocune allowed four hits and two runs over two innings, striking out three and walking one. Isaac Skoyen and Bryce Schorbahn entered the game as relief, throwing one and two-thirds innings and one-third of an inning respectively.

Oldenburg went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Prairie du Chien in hits.

In another close finish, the Hoppers pulled out the championship win over GET in a 6-5 victory Sunday, July 24.

Prairie du Chien jumped out to an early lead and held on until the final bat, despite allowing GET to score three runs in the first inning.

The local boys scored on a double by Fisher, a fielder’s choice by Wagner, an error, and a single by Oldenburg in the first inning.

GET’s Brady Seiling, Warren Stoner, and Ben Hansen all drove in runs in the first inning.

Maddox Cejka led things off on the pitcher’s mound for Prairie du Chien. The righty surrendered five runs on five hits over three innings, striking out two.

Thomas Haney had pitching duties early for GET. The Bulldog lasted six innings, allowing nine hits and six runs while striking out two and walking zero.

The Hoppers recorded nine hits in the game. Russell and McCluskey each collected two hits for Prairie du Chien Hoppers. 

Seiling led GET with two hits in four at-bats.

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