Prairie du Chien second at American Legion State Tournament

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Aden McCluskey hits a single to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 2 against Viroqua in the state championship game at the Class A American Legion State Tournament. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

The Hoppers' Brady Russell slides safely into second base in the championship game.

Caeleb Cipra gets ready to unleash a pitch versus Viroqua Tuesday, Aug. 2.

First baseman Aden McCluskey catches a pop-up in short right field against Viroqua.

Brady Russell pitches Monday, Aug. 1 with a Fond du Lac St. Mary’s runner on first base. Prairie du Chien won the game to reach the championship round of the Class A American Legion State Tournament in Viroqua.

Tommy Mara slides safely into third against Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs.

Brady Russell and the umpire call Jon Nicholson safe after he slides across home plate against Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs.

Ty Wagner rounds second base after belting a home run to center field versus St. Mary's Springs.

The Hoppers’ Colton Thompson dives back to first safely on a pick-off attempt by St. Mary’s Springs in Viroqua Monday afternoon, Aug. 1 at the state tournament.

Opening ceremonies for the 2022 Class A American Legion State Baseball Tournament were held on Swanson Field in Viroqua’s Park Bowl on Friday night.

The following teams played in the tournament: Region 1 champion Altoona, Region 2 champion Wittenberg, Region 3 champion Denmark, Region 4 champion Waupun, Region 5 Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, Region 6 runner-up Westby/Coon Valley, Region 6 champion Viroqua 138’ers, and Region 7 champion Prairie du Chien.

The six Class A American Legion Baseball All-Stars who were at the state tournament included – Evan Hubatch, Viroqua; Bowdy Dempsey, Westby/Coon Valley; Logan Lau, Altoona; Casey Bartlet, Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs; Noah Gerritson, Waupun; and Colton Thompson, Prairie du Chien. 

The 50th American Legion Baseball All-Star Game hosted by the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field will be played following the Brewers game Aug. 7.

Following the opening ceremony, Viroqua faced Prairie du Chien and won, 12-1. Prairie then won three games in a row at the tournament. 

The Grasshoppers faced Viroqua in the championship at 2 p.m. on Tuesday Aug. 2. Prairie needed to defeat Viroqua twice to win the state championship in the double elimination tournament. 

The following are highlights of Prairie du Chien’s games.

Opener 

versus Viroqua

The Prairie du Chien Hoppers fell behind early and couldn’t come back in a 12-1 loss to Viroqua on Friday. 

Viroqua scored on a single by Casey Kowalcyzk, an error, a walk by Ashton Swanson, a double by Braden Lendosky, a groundout by Tyler Quackenbush, and a single by Kevin Lendosky in the first inning. Viroqua led 7-0 after one inning.

Lendosky led things off on the mound for Viroqua. The hurler lasted five innings, allowing three hits and one run while striking out eight.

Maddox Cejka led things off on the pitcher’s mound for the Hoppers. The pitcher allowed three hits and seven runs. Aden McCluskey and Tommy Mara entered the game as relief, throwing four and two-thirds innings and one-third of an inning, respectively.

Kowalcyzk went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead Viroqua in hits.

PDC Pitching

Maddox Cejka - 3 hits, 7 runs, 3 earned runs, 0 Ks, 2 BB; Aden McCluskey - 4.2 innings pitched, 5 runs, 4 earned runs, 3 Ks, 5 BB; Tommy Mara - .1 innings pitched, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 Ks, 0 BB.

PDC Hitting

Colton Thompson - 1 x 2; Tommy Mara - 1 x 1; Brady Russell - 1 x 2 with a double.

Game 2 - 7/30 

vs Wittenberg

Both teams were strong on the hill Saturday, but the Prairie du Chien Hoppers defeated WB Legion 3-1. 

Colton Thompson allowed just four hits to WB Legion.

Prairie du Chien got things started in the first inning when Aden McCluskey singled on a 3-2 count, scoring one run.

Thompson led things off on the pitcher’s mound for the Hoppers. The lefthander went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out three.

Prairie du Chien totaled seven hits in the game. McCluskey and Maddox Cejka had two hits to lead Prairie du Chien.

PDC - Pitching

Colton Thompson - 7 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 Ks, 3 BB.

PDC Hitting

Maddox Cejka - 2 x 4 with a double; Aden McCluskey - 2 x 3 with a double; Brady Russell - 1 x 2 with a double.

Game 3 - 7/31 

vs Westby/Coon Valley

Prairie du Chien took the lead late in the game in a 7-5 victory over Westby on Sunday. The game was tied at four with Prairie du Chien batting in the bottom of the fifth when Brady Russell singled on a 3-2 count, scoring one run.

The Hoppers earned the victory despite allowing Westby to score three runs in the third inning. Westby scored its runs on a double by Cale Griffin.

Prairie du Chien got on the board in the first inning when Maddox Cejka hit a solo homer.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Prairie du Chien tied things up at four when Hudson Lipski threw a wild pitch allowing one run across the plate for the Hoppers.

After Westby scored one run in the top of the sixth, Prairie du Chien answered with one of their own. Prairie du Chien answered when Ty Wagner doubled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring one run.

Chase Fisher was on the hill for the Hoppers. The righty lasted three innings, allowing five hits and four runs while striking out one and walking zero.

Lipski started the game for Westby. The hurler lasted four innings, allowing six hits and four runs while striking out two. Gavin Bergdahl threw two innings in relief.

The Hoppers totaled 11 hits. Nicholson, Fisher, Russell, and Wagner all had two hits to lead the Hoppers.

Garrett Vatland led Westby with two hits in four at bats. Westby was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error. Griffin had the most chances in the field with nine.

PDC - Pitching

Chase Fisher - 3 innings pitched, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 K, 0 BB; Tommy Mara - 4 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 K, 3 BB

PDC Hitting

Maddox Cejka with a home run; Colton Thompson - 1 x 2; Chase Fisher - 2 x 3 with a double; Ty Wagner - 2 x 3 with two doubles; Jon Nicholson - 2 x 4 with 2 RBIs; Brady Russell - 2 x 3.

Game 4 - 8/1 vs 

St. Mary’s Springs - Fond du Lac

Despite seeing its five-run lead whittled down by the end, Prairie du Chien still held off St. Mary’s Springs for a 7-6 victory on Monday. 

St. Mary’s Springs scored four runs in the failed comeback. Casey Bartlet, Keegan Wagner, Caden Blanck, and Luke Flitter fueled the rally with RBIs.

Bats blistered as the Hoppers collected seven hits and St. Mary’s Springs tallied six in the high-scoring game.

Prairie du Chien got on the board in the first inning. Aden McCluskey singled on a 3-0 count, scoring one run.

Prairie du Chien pulled away for good with five runs in the third inning. In the third, Ty Wagner homered on a 2-1 count, scoring three runs, Tommy Mara doubled on a 3-2 count, scoring one run, and Brady Russell singled on a 2-1 count, scoring one run.

St. Mary’s Springs scored three runs in the fifth inning. St. Mary’s Springs batters contributing to the big inning included Wagner and Blanck, all knocking in runs in the inning.

Maddox Cejka was on the pitcher’s mound for Prairie du Chien. Cejka went three innings, allowing two runs on one hit and striking out two. Brady Russell came on in relief.

Nate Mueller was on the hill for St. Mary’s Springs. The pitcher surrendered six runs on five hits over two and two-thirds innings, striking out three. Wagner threw three and a third innings in relief.

Mara led Prairie du Chien Hoppers with two hits in two at bats.

Bartlet went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead St. Mary’s Springs in hits. 

St. Mary’s Springs didn’t commit a single error in the field. Ian Stoffel had seven chances in the field, the most on the team.

PDC - Pitching

Maddox Cejka - 3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 2 runs, 2 Ks, 6 BB; Brady Russell - 4 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 Ks, 3 BB.

PDC Hitting

Aden McCluskey - 1 x 2; Ty Wagner with a home run and two RBIs; Tommy Mara - 2 x 2 with a double; Brady Russell 1 x 2; Owen Oldenburg with a double.

Championship Game

The Viroqua 138ers scored 9 runs on 7 hits in the top of the third inning to propel them to the Class A American Legion state championship 10-0 in five innings Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 2.

Prairie’s Aden McCluskey and Jon Nicholson hit singles with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning. A wild pitch advanced both runners, but then two strikeouts kept the Hoppers off the scoreboard. 

The 138ers got their 10th run in the top of the fifth inning.

Prairie du Chien’s Colton Thompson singled in the bottom of the fifth, but that was all for the Hoppers as the 138ers got the third out to earn the victory.

Prairie du Chien finished second at the state tournament with a 3-2 record. The Hoppers had an excellent run in the regionals to get to state, and then won three straight games at state after dropping their opener to reach the championship round.

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