Consider this week’s WIAA schedule: baseball regionals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; softball regionals on Tuesday & Thursday, golf sectionals on Tuesday, girls soccer regionals on Thursday & Saturday, State Individual Boys Tennis on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday…and, oh by the way, State Track and Field Friday & Saturday.
With that being the case, I’m left with no choice than to jam all of my picks for the team sports tournaments into one blog. Deal with it…disagree with it….whatever. I’ve been gazing at a serene lake landscape for the better part of the last two days, and nothing is going to bother me at this point.
Talk to me later in the week, however, as I’m racking up the mileage scrambling between one event to the next, and I may be screaming, “Serenity Now!” But don’t let that stop you from commenting or disagreeing with my picks. They are merely one man’s opinion…
No team in the Marshfield Sectional has a hitting lineup as stacked as North. The Huskies are also very solid defensively, but beyond the gritty Gregory Button, the pitching staff is a bit of a concern, especially if North needs to throw Button in a sectional semi. Still, I can see the Huskies simply outslugging everyone on their way to Fox Cities Stadium. However, no team in the bracket can throw Tyler Sparger and Jake Peterson in back-to-back games like Memorial can, so don’t be surprised if the Old Abes are the team advancing to state. 5th-seeded Chippewa Falls could be a party-crasher, and so could River Falls, the #9 seed, or Merrill, the #3 seed.
Regional semifinals: River Falls over Superior, Chippewa Falls over Menomonie, Rapids over Hudson, New Richmond over Marshfield.
Regional finals: North over River Falls, Chippewa Falls over Stevens Point, Merrill over Rapids, Memorial over New Richmond.
Sectional semifinals: North over Chippewa Falls, Memorial over Merrill.
Sectional final: North over Memorial.
Other sectional winners: Bay Port, Middleton, Kimberly, Wisconsin Lutheran, Wilmot Union, Oregon, Sun Prairie.
Defending sectional champ Bloomer is the #1 seed, but this is not the same team that advanced to the Division 2 state championship game last season. For that matter, Altoona is not the same team that went unbeaten in ’09 prior to a regional final loss to Bloomer. Still, the Railroaders can slug it out with anyone in this field, which is why I think they’ll take down the Blackhawks this time around. Altoona’s my pick to win the sectional as well, although Ellsworth could be a tough out…same story with Spooner.
Regional semifinals: Spooner over Northwestern, Hayward over Ashland, Unity over Chetek/Weyerhaeuser, Cumberland over Amery, Ellsworth over Prescott, Somerset over St. Croix Falls, Bloomer over Black River Falls, Altoona over Sparta.
Regional finals: Hayward over Spooner, Cumberland over Unity, Ellsworth over Somerset, Altoona over Bloomer.
Sectional semifinals: Hayward over Cumberland, Altoona over Ellsworth.
Sectional final: Altoona over Hayward
Other sectional winners: West De Pere, Beloit Turner, Waupun.
Elk Mound made a semi-miraculous comeback to beat Osseo-Fairchild on the Chieftains’ home field in last year’s sectional final. This season, the two clubs are on collision course to meet again, but this time around, in a regional final. It’s unfortunate, since these are two of the strongest teams in the entire sectional, but that’s how the baseball bounces. I also see it bouncing O-F’s way in that game…and with the Chieftains back on their home turf in the sectional, I see them bouncing every other opponent on their way to state.
Regional semifinals: Clayton/Turtle Lake over Grantsburg, Boyceville over St. Croix Central, Hurley over Washburn/South Shore, Chequamegon over Phillips, Osseo-Fairchild over EC Regis, Elk Mound over Colfax, Stanley-Boyd over Cadott, Neillsville over Colby.
Regional finals: Boyceville over Clayton/Turtle Lake, Hurley over Chequamegon, O-F over Elk Mound, Stanley-Boyd over Neillsville.
Sectional semifinals: Boyceville over Hurley, O-F over Stanley-Boyd
Sectional final: O-F over Boyceville
Other sectional winners: Stevens Point Pacelli, La Crosse Aquinas, Winnebago Lutheran.
Bruce has played a very tough schedule this season, to get the Red Raiders ready for what awaits in the postseason. Beyond that, Bruce gets home field advantage in the sectional. Still, as long as Andy Davis is healthy (i.e., healthy enough to swing a bat), McDonell is the team to beat in the sectional. Unfortunately, the Macks and Red Raiders will likely meet in a regional final. If you seeded all the teams in the sectional, you’d probably have McDonell #1, with Bruce #2.
Regional semifinals: Northwood over Birchwood, Shell Lake over Luck, Drummond over Bayfield, Mellen over Solon Springs, Spring Valley over Pepin, Plum City over Elmwood, McDonell over Prairie Farm, Bruce over Cornell.
Regional finals: Shell Lake over Northwood, Mellen over Drummond, Spring Valley over Plum City, McDonell over Bruce.
Sectional semifinals: Shell Lake over Mellen, McDonell over Spring Valley.
Sectional final: McDonell over Shell Lake
Other sectional winners: Rosholt (Hornets will beat Greenwood in a sectional final, after the Indians dispatch Immanuel Lutheran in a regional semi, Loyal in a regional final, and Athens in a sectional semi), Barneveld, Gibraltar
Chippewa Falls has an ace in Kendra Bowe, and a solid defense anchored by shortstop Jordyn Hubin, who is also one of the area’s better hitters. As long as Chi-Hi doesn’t have to play Stevens Point, I see the Cardinals continuing to win. That matchup wouldn’t happen until the state semi’s…
Regional semifinals: Menomonie over Memorial, North over Superior, Hudson over River Falls, Antigo over Merrill, Wausau West over Rhinelander, D.C. Everest over Wausau East.
Regional finals: Chippewa Falls over Menomonie, North over Hudson, Wausau West over Antigo, DCE over Wausau West.
Sectional semifinals: Chippewa Falls over North, DCE over Wausau West.
Sectional final: Chippewa Falls over DCE.
Other sectional winners: Verona, Ashwaubenon, Stevens Point, Kettle Moraine, Muskego, Kenosha Bradford, Homestead.
All signs point to yet another Altoona vs. Rice Lake meeting in the sectional final. I haven’t seen the Warriors in person this season, but I’ve seen the Railroaders on multiple occasions. What I see is a typical Jim Turner-coached team: very good pitching, a lineup full of contact hitters, speed on the basepaths, and excellent defense. I’ll say that defense is the deciding factor, as Altoona gets to make tracks for state once again.
Regional semifinals: Altoona over West Salem, BRF over G-E-T, Ellsworth over Durand, B-W over Amery, Rice Lake over Barron, Northwestern over Ashland, Medford over Witt-Birn, Mosinee over Medford.
Regional finals: Altoona over BRF, Ellsworth over B-W, Rice Lake over Northwestern, Medford over Mosinee.
Sectional semifinals: Altoona over Ellsworth, Rice Lake over Medford.
Sectional final: Altoona over Rice Lake.
Other sectional winners: Waupun, Freedom, Sauk Prairie.
A team with state tournament aspirations needs a quality pitcher. Bloomer has two: Sabra Meinen and K’trina Ruff. There’s only one thing standing between the Blackhawks and a trip to state: the industrial-sized roadblock that is Grantsburg. The Pirates could play up a division or two and it wouldn’t matter–they’d still be one of western Wisconsin’s best programs.
Regional semifinals: Bloomer over Fall Creek, Cadott over Elk Mound, Prescott over Spring Valley/Plum City, Arcadia over Osseo-Fairchild, Chetek over Cameron, Flambeau over Chequamegon, Grantsburg over Cumberland, St. Croix Central over Boyceville.
Regional finals: Bloomer over Cadott, Prescott over Arcadia, Chetek over Flambeau, Grantsburg over St. Croix Central.
Sectional semifinals: Bloomer over Prescott, Grantsburg over Chetek.
Sectional final: Grantsburg over Bloomer.
Other sectional winners: Horicon, Stratford, Waterloo.
I have a very selfish reason for wanting Immanuel Lutheran to make a long postseason run: the high school career of Katherine Kazemba is coming to a close, which means I’m running out of opportunities to say, “Katherine Kazemba — ay caramba!”, during Lancers highlights. The good news: younger sister Christine Kazemba has two more years of eligibility at Immanuel Lutheran. Can I modify the line and still get a chuckle out of my co-anchors for the next two years? While I ponder that, here are the picks:
Regional semifinals: Frederic over New Auburn, Shell Lake over Bruce, Hurley over Drummond, Butternut over Northwood, McDonell over Glenwood City, Immanuel Lutheran over Elmwood, Thorp over Cornell, Gilman over Prentice.
Regional finals: Frederic over Shell Lake, Hurley over Butternut (Midgets defeat Midgets, thus ending one of the longer postseason runs for any Butternut team in recent memory), McDonell over Immanuel Lutheran, Thorp over Gilman.
Sectional semifinals: Frederic over Hurley, Thorp over McDonell.
Sectional final: Thorp over Frederic.
Other sectional winners: Oakfield, Rosholt, Belmont.
Memorial will upset River Falls in a sectional semi, but for a second straight season, the Old Abes will come up short against Wausau East in the sectional final.
Rice Lake will make a nice run through the bracket, including an upset of Ashland in a sectional semi, but the Warriors will not be able to take down powerful Xavier in a sectional final.
Spooner kicks its way past Somerset in a sectional semi, but the Rails’ route to Uihlein Soccer Park is derailed by Wrightstown in a sectional final.
Your thoughts? Post them in the comment section below.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on May 31, 2010