Sports

North’s baseball magic runs out

Golden Raiders’ string of upsets comes to end in sectional final

HUNTER STEGER

Tenth-seeded teams are not expected to make state tournaments.

The Sheboygan North baseball squad gave it its best shot, however, by upsetting the No. 2, 3 and 7th-seeded schools in the Division 1 playoffs, only to fall short in its attempt to reach state for just the third time.

No. 8 Fond du Lac gets to go as a result of a 7-3 victory over the No. 10 Golden Raiders in a sectional final Tuesday in Oshkosh.

“I just think we worked super well as a team at the end of the year,” said North sophomore Hunter Steger, who had a total of five hits in two games Tuesday. “We couldn’t get things to fall our way in the beginning. We finally did starting at the beginning of the playoffs. We just carried that momentum with us. Just getting this far as a team is great being a 10 seed, but we would’ve loved to get our seniors into the state tournament.”

North hasn’t been to state since 2001 but did reach the sectional semifinals for the first time since 2003.

They were the lowest seed of any Division 1 team remaining entering its semifinal game against No. 3 West Bend West Tuesday afternoon and trailed, 3-1, before rallying for three runs in the top of the sixth inning for a 4-3 win.

“I thought we were going to state after watching the first (sectional) game (earlier in the day),” Goes said. “I wasn’t over-confident, I liked our chances. It’s not like we were running into somebody throwing 90 mph or anything like that. I thought we had a very good chance.”

North might have if it capitalized on its chances.

The score was tied, 1-1, in the sectional final when Fond du Lac got the next six runs.

The Golden Raiders scored a run in the sixth but left runners on first and third. They got another run in the seventh to pull within 7-3 but stranded two more runners on base. And in the first, North’s first run had already scored and it had the bases loaded with one out but failed to get another across the plate.

“We had our chances,” Goes said.

North finishes with a 12-15 record, and to prove how hard it is to reach state, the Cardinals are the only Division 1 team in the eight-school tournament seeded lower than third.

“We have a bunch of gamers on our team,” Goes said. “We were young in a couple of spots, but those kids grew up and they learned the game. We just made play after play after play. And I said it at our banquet, at our seeding meeting, to anybody that would listen, we were a lot better than our record indicated. You saw that here. We beat three teams that were supposedly better than we were. Fond du Lac beat us (Tuesday), but if we played them (Wednesday), I’d like our chances. I don’t think we got out-classed by anybody in the playoffs.”

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