Time to write off unwritten rules of baseball

It would be inaccurate to trace baseball’s lagging popularity solely to the kind of drivel on display after a game last week.

There’s no doubting that the postgame whining — in some cases, a full, 140-character hissy fit — was a turnoff to the casual fan. It’s also proof that some of those bickering about unwritten rules may want to bring that gray, inner-cranial thinking device to customer service and see if they can get their 49 cents back.

In the ninth inning of a game between Baltimore and Minnesota, the Twins put on an infield shift to defend against Orioles hitter Chance Sisco.

Overloading one side of the infield is not an uncommon move these days against a pull hitter. It leaves only one player to cover an entire side of the infield, but puts three in place to defend the area where the batter is likely to hit the ball.


Hawks ready to ‘surprise a lot of teams’

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Sam Tourtillott will be looked at to catch this season after the Hawks lost starting catcher Kasey Kristof to graduation.

After two years falling short of expectations, the senior-heavy Shawano baseball team is ready to turn the program around.

The Hawks finished at the bottom of the Bay Conference the previous two seasons with a 6-17 overall record last year. Understandably, head coach Rob Wolff expects his team to be underestimated this spring.

“I think we’re really going to surprise a lot of teams,” Wolff said. “Of course seeing how we struggled the past couple years, nobody’s going to pick us to be a top team. Well, I’m around these guys all the time. I know what they can do. We’re going to open some eyes this year.”

For the eight seniors on varsity, the difference maker this season will be leadership. Five seniors return as three-year starters — Cole Nelson, Alex Hoffman, Jacob Lacy, Casey Baumann and Joey Tadych — and are eager to take on the mentor role. Having played together since tee-ball, the five guys have a natural rhythm on the field.


Bears top Crivitz 12-5 in season opener

With its core group returning and young talent ready to assume larger roles, Bonduel has high expectations at the start of the season, as evidenced by a 12-5 victory at Crivitz in its season opener.

Bonduel pulled ahead to a 6-0 lead in the first four innings Thursday before Crivitz scored three in the fifth. The Bears added five more in the sixth inning and the Wolverines couldn’t catch up.

Senior Wyatt Erb started for Bonduel and pitched three innings. Erb gave up no hits or runs while striking out eight. Jordan Boldt and Isaac Boldt each threw two innings.

The Bears were led at the plate by Cole Letter with three hits and Bryce Weier with two hits and three RBIs. Dalton Cairns added three hits, including two doubles and three RBIs.

The successful start plays into the Bears’ plans to make a run for the conference title this year.


Bonduel softball looks to fill big holes in lineup

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School senior Althea Berry will help lead the team as one of two returning starters. Berry is a center fielder but will likely be utilized as a pitcher and infielder as needed.

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School junior Mackenzie Moore is one of five returning varsity players this season. Primarily a left fielder, Moore may also be utilized to help fill other holes on the field.

After losing six starters to graduation, the Bonduel High School softball team is left questioning who will fill the key roles in the lineup.

“I just don’t know what to expect. I really don’t,” head coach Chris Reinke said.

The Bears return just five players who have varsity experience. Seniors Brynn Reinke and Althea Berry will be the team’s leaders as the only returning starters, but even their roles are up in the air.

Reinke played shortstop last year but will be relied on to pitch this season after the Bears lost their two top pitchers, Cameri Gehm and Kaylee Pedersen. Berry, a center fielder, could be moved to the infield or split time on the mound depending on where the needs are.

Senior Dallas Zernicke is the only player whose position is solidified at catcher.

Juniors McKenzie Wollenberg and Mackenzie Moore round out the varsity returners.


NFL still ironing out pass reception rules

Two- and three-year-olds at day care centers this week will hone their hand-eye motor skills and, among other things, learn the fundamental concepts behind catching a ball …

Whoops, wrong page.

National Football League owners met this week in Florida to discuss, among other things, the fundamental concepts behind catching a ball. Eight years after tinkering with the interpretation of a legal pass reception, the league is still grappling with its convoluted definition.

Specifically, what is a football move? How does it differ from an Andy Frain usher move, or a fan who has to run to the washroom move? Has a football player on a football field ever made a baseball move?

They will get to the bottom of such mysteries yet. In the meantime, the league is increasing penalties for lowering the head to initiate contact, which will no doubt be a clear and easy infraction to enforce with no gray areas or inconsistencies whatsoever.


Area youth wrestlers land on podium at state tournament

Six Shawano and Bonduel youth wrestlers landed on the podium at last weekend’s Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Kids Folkstyle State Championships at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Alisha Berg and Madalyn Sokolski led Bonduel with first place finishes in their respective weight classes.

Berg won the 75-pound division for girls born in 2009-2010. Berg picked up a quick pin and two decisions en route to the championship match, where she pinned Leylani Rivera, of West Allis Wrestling Club, in 23 seconds.

Sokolski took the 85-pound title for girls born in 2006-08 in a 6-0 win over Mukwonago’s Gabby Gutman. She recorded two pins and a 10-0 major decision leading to the title match.

Also landing in the top-six for Bonduel was Hailey Berg, who placed third in the 77-pound weight class for girls born in 2006-08. Berg defeated X-Factor Elite’s Emjay Neumann by an 11-0 major decision in the third place match.


Buck ties Hawks’ pole vault record with win at Ripon

Photo by Dave Hanssen Shawano Community High School freshman Lydia Beyer competes in the 3,200-meter run at the Ripon Showcase Meet on Saturday. Beyer finished fourth overall in the girls 3,200 with a time of 12 minutes, 42.18 seconds.

Just two meets into the season, Shawano is showing early success with several athletes setting personal bests and six Hawks finishing in the top-five overall at the Ripon Showcase Meet on Saturday at Ripon College.

Senior Payden Buck not only hit a PR, but tied the school record in the boys pole vault at 14 feet, 6 inches, originally set by Daniel Boivin in 2015. Buck earned first place overall amongst 36 jumpers in both the large and small school divisions.

Junior Tori DePerry placed second overall and second in the small school division in the girls high jump at 4-10. She finished behind Ashlyn Oren, of Edgerton, at 5-0.

Senior Atty Wagner finished third in the small school division and tied for third overall in the boys high jump at 6-02. Wagner also finished seventh in the small school division 60-meter dash in 7.59 seconds.


Athlete of the Week: Trevor Groshek

Contributed Photo Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Trevor Groshek was selected to the Central Wisconsin Conference-East first-team after leading the Chargers in scoring with 15.9 points per game.

Athlete: Trevor Groshek

Sport: Basketball

Position: Guard

School: Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School

Year: Senior

Trevor Groshek earned a spot on the Central Wisconsin Conference-East first team. The senior led the Chargers in scoring with an average 15.9 points per game and hit a team-high 55 3-pointers over the season. Groshek surpassed 1,000 points this season, ending his high school career with 1,234 total points. He started his first high school game on varsity and hasn’t missed a game over his four years.

Q Where did your interest in playing basketball begin?

A My interest in basketball began in third grade when a lot of the kids in my grade got together and started a youth program. Once we started playing together we all loved it and have been like a family ever since.

Q What’s your favorite part about playing the game?


Shorter crossbow season contradicts DNR promises

As I looked through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spring public hearings questionnaire that will come to a vote across the state on April 9, I was more than a little surprised to read a very biased question that did not seem to come from the emotionless, generally logical DNR that I’ve come to know and occasionally love the past 18 years.

The folks who brought us Earn A Buck and deer management by county also have helped bring us some of the best deer hunting on earth, according to the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young clubs. Biologists pride themselves on facts and graphs and carrying capacity and forest regeneration statistics.


Hawks confident in seasoned lineup

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Brandi Gueths will be a leader for the Hawks this season. The catcher landed on the Bay Conference’s first team last year and is a top hitter for the Hawks.

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Brianna Zook is one of three seniors leading the Hawks this season. Zook earned a Bay Conference honorable mention last year.

With most starters returning and experienced underclassmen, the Shawano softball team is confident heading into the season.

The team lost three starters to graduation, including first baseman Tatum DePerry, and all-Bay Conference first team honorees Sarah Petry at third base and Saige Henning at left field. The Hawks will also be without starting pitcher Erin Cerveny, which will be the main challenge this season according to head coach Brian Johnson.

Junior Emilee Bastar, who served as a relief pitcher last year, will take over on the mound and freshman Taylor Johnson will serve as a reliever.

“Our pitching’s young, so that’ll be a focus for us,” Johnson said, “and specifically just working on consistency. We had a little problem last year where we had a few too many walks, so we just really need to avoid those.


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