Rapids baseball moves to sectional finals, falls short of state bid
By John Kemmeter/Rapids City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The top-seeded SPASH Panthers (20-5) fell behind fourth-seeded Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 5-1 in the third inning and were unable to come all the way back, as they lost 6-4 in a WIAA Division 1 Sectional Semifinal at Carson Park in Eau Claire on June 4.
Needing a pair of wins Tuesday to advance to state for the first time since 2014, SPASH opened against Rapids in the Sectional Semifinals, after the Panthers beat Rapids 10-6 April 16 and 7-0 April 26 during the regular season.
Rapids led off the game with back-to-back singles off SPASH senior pitcher J.D. Schultz, and followed with a RBI single and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead.
Senior second baseman Justin Morton had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning off Rapids senior pitcher and Wisconsin Valley Conference Player of the Year Donovan Brandl to score senior right fielder Mason King and make it 2-1, but Rapids scored on an error, a RBI triple and a passed ball in the top of the third to extend its lead to 5-1.
The Panthers battled back in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring them within 5-4.
Rapids led off the top of the seventh with a walk and a RBI triple to go up 6-4.
SPASH was unable to answer and the Red Raiders moved on to the sectional final.
Lincoln moved on to face Eau Claire North that same day, in a game delayed by rain and resumed June 5. There, Rapids lost a bid for state, 9-3.