|6/21/2019 1:00:00 PM|
Pointers feel the (Wash)burn and finish second at D4 state
There were some who watched Webster's 11-1 win over Mineral Point in the WIAA Division 4 state title game Thursday who shared the thought that the Tigers may have been the best team in the entire four division tournament.
At least Webster may have had the edge when it came to pitching. Having arms that can pump the ball close to an over 90 miles per hour can do that for a team.
If anyone questioned the over .400 team batting average the Tigers came into the tournament touting it would no doubt have been answered by the 12 hits that resulted in eight RBI in the win.
After beating the reigning D4 state champion Athens the day before combined with Mineral Point's 6-2 win over Belmont the question left was which undefeated team would end the season without a loss.
Oregon State recruit Jack Washburn, son of former Major Leaguer and Webster coach Jarrod Washburn, got the call for the championship game. He shared number one duties with Hunter Rosenbaum who had earned the win 24 hours earlier. Jack Washburn proved he was more than up to the task with a 12 strikeout, one run, two hit performance.
Pointer coach Jordan Tibbits countered with senior Curtis Cox who will be playing football at UM-Duluth next season as a kicker. He had gone with power pitcher Liam Stumpf against Belmont, figuring he would give the Braves trouble. He did with 11 strikeouts in five innings of work and got the win.
That gave Tibbits both Cox and lefty Grady Gorgen for the championship match-up.
Cox held the Tigers scoreless in the top of the first.
The Pointers came out swinging in the bottom of the inning. Liam Stumpf singled and tried to score on a double to right field by Justin Baehler but was thrown out at the plate on a 9-4-2 relay. Baehler took third on the play then scored the first and only Pointer run when a pitch from Washburn got past the catcher for a wild pitch. As it turned out those would be Mineral Point's only two hits of the game.
The Tigers took their turn to score in a big way, plating five runs in the top of the second. Trevor Gustafson doubled down the left field line to start the frame and scored on a single to center by Brad Sigfrids that tied the game.
But the Tigers were not done yet.
Coleton Peterson singled to center and Pointer hurler Curtis Cox hit Matt Buffington to load the bases. Tanner Pardun sent a grounder to first that scored Sigfrids then Carson Stenberg singled to left to plate Peterson. Buffington scored on a wild pitch and Jack Washburn singled home Stenberg to make it 5-1.
When he returned to the mound Jack Washburn struck out the side.
Gustafson opened the third with a single which caused Tibbits to call in Grady Gorgen from centerfield. He got out of the frame with a fly ball and two strikeouts.
With two outs in the bottom of the third Webster's two errors they recorded for the game put Gorgen and Stumpf on base but a pick off play at second got Gorgen and ended the inning.
Webster added a pair of runs in the fourth. Pardun singled to lead off the inning and Stenberg coaxed a walk. Owen Washburn singled to right to drive in Pardun and moved Stenberg to third. A double steal saw Owen Washburn swipe second and Stenberg come home.
The Pointers came up dry in the fourth when Jack Washburn fanned the side.
The Tigers iced it with a four run seventh. Sigfrids was hit by a pitch to start it and Peterson singled to right. An error put Pardun on base and a second hit by pitch with the bases loaded bases gave Stenberg an rbi. A passed ball allowed Peterson to come home. Jack Washburn and Rosenbaum walked for another run.
Tibbits then went to the mound and returned Cox to the rubber. He hit Gustafson to send in a run then struck out Sigfrids for the third out.
Jack Washburn induced two grounders and finished the 11-1 win with a strikeout.
Washburn went through the Pointer batting order striking out everyone at least once except for Stumpf. He faced only 23 batters--two over the minimum--with impressive control. He did not walk a batter and threw only one wild pitch.
Webster cracked the 30 win mark with the victory. The Pointers finish 27-1. The Pointers lose Cox, Uriah Ottoway and designated hitter Jaron Walrack from their starting line-up along with fellow seniors Ethan Mensen and Grant Lineberger.
Ottoway, who was the starting right fielder all season and batted .364, was on active duty with the military and missed the state tournament. The Pointers were also without starting first baseman Nolan Springer for the final game as he had qualified for a national wrestling tournament and was out of state.
After the regular season Grady Gorgen was named to the SWAL first team and was chosen conference Player of the Year. He was asked to sum up the tourney experience.
"We battled, just as we have all year," Gorgen said after the game. "We did something Mineral Point baseball has never done before, bring home a state trophy."
Gorgen plans to continue working on his game in the off season at the Kyle Spurley baseball facility in Cuba City. He won't be alone as his younger brother, Gunnar, a sophomore reserve infielder, will be going with him.
"Hopefully he can work his way into a starting role next season," Grady Gorgen said. "A lot of us will be heading to Cuba City to work on our game."
Tibbits came away with the game with feelings of both respect and pride.
The respect went to Webster as he called the Tigers, "The best team we've seen. They would give any team here problems."
He said the difference in the game was Webster got hits and the Pointers did not.
"(Jack) Washburn worked fast and threw hard," Tibbits added. "He was a handful for us to try and handle."
But pride was the greatest emotion he felt.
"I am very proud of this team. They have come a long way in four years and we are bringing home the first State Tournament trophy in baseball in the history of the program," Tibbits said. "I am extremely proud."
Article Comment Submission Form