June 10, 2024 at 12:40 p.m.

Eagles get past Vikings, lose in finals

There were no strangers on field in the opening game of the Johnson Creek Sectionals Tuesday.

Two of the biggest rivals in Southwest Wisconsin and Six Rivers East baseball history were engaged in a game where one would advance to the championships while the other would head home.

During the regular season it was Pecatonica who had the corner on wins and that helped them to their ninth straight conference championship. This was also their third straight trip to the Division 4 Sectionals.  All signs pointed toward this being “their” day.

But Barneveld had other ideas and the Golden Eagles were able to take advantage of some glitches by the Vikings  along with a lights out pitching performance from Kasey Helgeson. Helgeson turned in 5 2/3 solid innings before reaching his pitch count limit with a line of three hits, one unearned run, eight strikeouts and four walks.

Hunter Schmid got the ball the final 1 1/3 and gave up two runs and three hits.

Barneveld put six runs on the board in the sixth which swung in their favor early after starter Tyler McKeon walked a batter and retired one on a come backer. Lukas Rue came on and ran into some problems that went in Barneveld’s favor.  Five walks and a hit batter did a good share of the damage.

In the end the six runs helped the Eagles to an 8-3 win in the elimination game that moved the Eagles to the championship game where they would lose to Johnson Creek 14-2.

Barneveld had seven hits, two by Gavin Fishnik and Ty Thousand while Trenton Owens, Hunter Larson and Landon Beicher each had one.

For the Vikings Jameson Johnson had a pair of doubles in four trips while McKeon, Elijah Knutson, Carson Kurschner and Max Steele all had one hit.

Vikings coach Jim Strommen credited Barneveld with making the most of their opportunities.

“Barneveld had timely hits in the two innings they scored,” said Strommen. “We issued eight walks and one HBP, which provided them with baserunners and opportunistic hits drove in the runs.”

Strommen also commented on Helgeson’s work on the hill.

 “Kasey Helgeson was very good on the mound for Barneveld and made big pitches in a couple of early innings when we had runners on base,” Strommen said.

He also reflected on the overall season. 

“Our guys had a very good season with another Conference Championship-nine in a row with a third straight trip to the sectionals. The team should be very proud of their season and the seniors of their excellent high school careers.”