Burlington plays Arrowhead Tuesday, June 13 at 8 a.m. in Appleton

Burlington players celebrate after winning a trip to state Tuesday night. The Demons beat Waterford, 11-0, in five innings. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

BURLINGTON – The Waterford baseball team picked the absolute worst time to have a bad game.

In Tuesday night’s WIAA Division 1 sectional final at Burlington, starting pitcher Ryan Jungbauer had difficulty finding the strike zone, walking five batters through 2-1/3 innings. And the Wolverines’ first inning summed up the game.

They couldn’t buy a break.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Burlington senior Zach Campbell forced a groundout for the force at home plate followed by two strikeouts, and that was really all it took.

Burlington got an RBI double from Trey Krause, but also benefitted from runs on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 after one. Campbell settled down, and by the third inning, the wheels fell off the Waterford upset train.

Burlington capitalized on everything Waterford did wrong, highlighted by a 13-batter, eight-run third inning, and the Demons experienced little resistance in an 11-0, five-inning affair.

It was the second win of the day for the Demons (21-4), the defending WIAA Division 1 state champions who advance to their second consecutive state tournament for the first time in school history.

Burlington will play Arrowhead at 8 a.m. next Tuesday morning in a WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinal.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Campbell said. “We thought it would be a close game, but we put them down after the first inning, and they didn’t get back up. We kept throwing punches and didn’t let them get back up.”

“It’s great to go back to state my senior year. We’re not done yet.”

Waterford coach Lance Bestland said his team made too many mistakes against a good team.

“They pitch well and hit well,” he said. “You can’t walk guys against them. It’s tradition. They carry it from one year to another. They’re strong one through nine. Every single player hits the ball and makes great plays when they need to.”

“It’s hard to look at the scoreboard and say we lost 11-0. It’s not how we usually play. We score runs. We always have, but that’s the frustrating part.”

Waterford walked six batters total and hit two, and Jacob Lindemann went 2-for-3 with a bases-clearing double to push the Demons past the 10-run rule in the third.

Whereas the Wolverines were able to score against the Demons in two games this season, they couldn’t figure out Campbell Tuesday.

In 4-2/3 innings, Campbell only allowed three hits and struck out six with two walks.

After a season of hard outs hitting balls right at people, Burlington scored 18 runs on Tuesday, highlighted by big innings of four and eight runs.

Campbell, Dale Damon, Tully and Derek Koenen all added hits against Waterford.

 

Seniors hungry for another title

For senior Derek Morrow, who scored a run as a pinch runner, it’s sweet to return to state and defend the title.

“Oh my God, it feels fantastic,” Morrow said. “I feel like we can do really well at state, so I’m excited. I can’t even think, I’m so excited. We got our bats going, and you can’t stop us when our bats are going.”

Zach Stiewe relieved Jungbauer in the third, but the bleeding was far from done.

Stiewe hit the first batter to load the bases before Campbell drove in a run to extend the lead to 6-0. Then, an errant throw reached the backstop, and Koenen hustled home.

Damon crushed an inside pitch past first base to score Riley Palmquist, and the rout was on at 8-0.

Lindemann’s towering double, which took a few hops to the left-center fence, finished off the reeling Wolverines.

“It feels great, and it means more as a senior,” Lindemann said. “A little better feeling than last year.”

“Coach told us to relax, loosen up and have fun at the plate. That’s pretty much all I did. Our goal is to keep winning, and it will take hard work and team chemistry. I believe we can win again.”

For Staude, winning two games by a combined score of 18-0 was an emotional rush, but the day began at 8 a.m. with preparation. As he exclaimed in the post-game photo shoot, “This never gets old.”

“It was an exhausting, long day,” Staude said. “You play, then you wait, and then you have to get charged up again. It’s great, it’s gratifying, it’s exciting, but we’re emotionally spent.”

“It all starts with pitching. Trey set the tone today by out-pitching a great pitcher from Indian Trail. You throw back-to-back shutouts in a sectional, that’s pretty impressive. These guys love to compete. We are playing our best ball right now and peaking defensively.”

In two games, everything seemed to be clicking for the Demons. Burlington didn’t commit an error and totaled 17 hits in two dominant shutouts.

Things won’t get easier against Arrowhead, a team Burlington beat in the state championship last season, 6-4. But Staude is confident this bunch will be ready, especially thanks to pitching coach Bob Lee, who is a master of the mental game.

“You get there, and you want to win it,” Staude said. “It’s really about who can win three games. Every team is really good up there. I’m sure they want another shot at us. We’re ready to go. Let’s go right now.”

After a successful day of baseball, the Burlington players have final exams Wednesday.

“We’re going to give them a couple days off and get ready to go up to Appleton sometime Monday,” Staude said.

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