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MCDONALD'S CO-GAME OF THE WEEK (WIAA Baseball): Southwestern 4, Bangor 2
Wildcats beat Barneveld, then Bangor to earn first state berth since 2010
The Southwestern Wildcats celebrate their sectional championship and first berth in the WIAA Baseball State Tournament since 2010 following Tuesday's 4–2 WIAA D4 sectional final victory over Bangor.


WIAA BASEBALL D4 SECTIONAL FINAL: Southwestern 4, Bangor 2

By Jason Nihles

BLANCHARDVILLE — The Southwestern baseball team is going to state.

The Wildcats, who entered the WIAA Division 4 playoffs with a 6–10 record, kept their improbable postseason alive with a pair of thrilling sectional victories over Barneveld and Bangor Tuesday afternoon to earn the program's first trip to state since 2010.

Southwestern scored a thrilling 1–0 walk-off victory over #10-ranked Barneveld (10–4). Jordan Stanton reached on a dropped third strike with two outs, stole second and scored on Peyton Edmonds', the team's only senior, RBI bloop single over second base. It was just the Wildcats second hit of the game.

But it was just enough. Junior Peerson Kephart and Stanton combined to throw a two-hit shutout for the Wildcats. Kephart started and struck out seven without allowing a hit through 4 1/3 innings before giving way to Stanton, who finished the game, allowing two this and two walks, while striking out three in 2 2/3 to earn the win.

Edmonds' walk-off hit was the most exciting moment of Southwestern's season for roughly two hours. That is until the Wildcats defeated Bangor 4–2, scoring three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to advance to state.

Southwestern (11–10) will face top-seeded Boyceville (19–1) at 11:05 a.m. at Neuroscience Group Fiedl at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute. #2 Rosholt (20–3) will face #3 Greenwood (17–6) in the other Division 4 semifinal at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Bangor (14–4) scored a run in the top of the third, but the Wildcats answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Jace Mess.

Southwestern added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth when a fly ball by Colson Splinter was dropped by the Bangor right fielder with two outs in the inning clearing the bases. Cooper Allen walked, Tyler Brotzman singled and Kephart reached on a two-out walk to load the bases.

Stanton started Game 2, after earning the win in relief in the win over Barneveld, and went three innings, allowing one run on two hits before reaching his 100-pitch limit for the day. Kephart pitched the next 2 1/3 innings, allowing a one-out walk in the sixth before reaching his pitch limit.

Splinter came on in relief of Kephart and allowed one run to score before getting out of a bases loaded jam by striking out Samuel Cropp.

"Pinch me, I think we are going to state," Southwestern head coach Issac Stanton told the Telegraph Herald. "I couldn't be any prouder of these guys. We had kids step up and make big plays to beat two really good baseball teams."

WIAA Division 4 Sectional Semifinal 
#3 Southwestern 1, #2 Barneveld 0
(from Tuesday, June 22 @ Blanchardville)
Barneveld..........000 000 0 —  0  2  0
Southwestern...000 000 1 —  1   2  1
Leading hitters — B: Blake Hazen 13, Aiden Fishnick 1x3; S: Peerson Kephart 1x3, Peyton Edmonds 1x3 (RBI). 
W — Jordan Stanton (2.2IP, 2H, 0R, 3K, 2BB). L — Aiden Fishnick (1.2IP, 1H, 1ER, 4K, 0BB).

WIAA Division 4 Sectional Final 
#3 Southwestern 4, #3 Bangor 2
(from Tuesday, June 22 @ Blanchardville)
Bangor...............001 001 0  —  2 12  1
Southwestern..000 130 x  —  4  4  0
Leading hitters — B: Ashton Michek 3x3 (RBI), Sam Wittmerhaus 2x3, Dawson Daines 2x3, David Hartley 1x3 (RBI); S: Colson Splinter 1x3, Jordan Stanton 1x3, Peyton Edmonds 1x3, Tyler Brotzman 1x2. 2B – S: Stanton. 
W — Peerson Kephart (2.1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0K, 2BB). L — Hank Reader (6IP, 4H, 4R, 1ER, 5K, 3BB). SV — Colson Splinter (1.2IP, 2H, 0R, 2K, 2BB).