Union Grove pitcher Luke Hansel prepares to launch a pitch during the Broncos’ 6-1 victory against McFarland Thursday morning at Nienhaus Field near Appleton West High School (Jason Arndt/Westine Report).

Early surge, Hansel’s arm paves the way

The Union Grove High School baseball team is one win away from capturing a WIAA Division 2 state championship after the Broncos defeated McFarland 6-1 Thursday morning at Neinhaus Field near Appleton West High School.

With the state semifinal victory, Union Grove plays Antigo in the championship tentatively scheduled no earlier than 3 p.m. Thursday at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

Against McFarland, the Broncos rode the arm of senior pitcher Luke Hansel, who walked none and struck out eight, allowing just two hits and an unearned run through seven innings.

The Spartans lone run came in the bottom of the fourth inning on an Xavier Schreiber sacrifice fly to score Carson Wienke.

Offensively, the Broncos jumped ahead early, posting five runs in the first two innings, including four in the opening frame.

Shortstop T.J. Manteufel led the Broncos offensive outbursts, batting 3-for-4 with two doubles, and a run knocked in.

Catcher Jack Clark (2-for-4, RBI), designated hitter Michael Jocius (2-for-4, RBI), Hansel (1-for-2, double, RBI, run) and Owen Erickson (1-for-2, two runs) also contributed for the Union Grove (27-3).

McFarland concluded its season 20-10.

As for the state title contest, the Broncos will face 20-5 Antigo, which ousted West De Pere 3-0 Thursday morning at Fox Cities Stadium.

For complete coverage of the Broncos state run, see next week’s edition of the Westine Report.