Shawano Leader Sports Headlines

Subscribe to Shawano Leader Sports Headlines feed
Updated: 45 min 43 sec ago

Legion: Herb’s outing, Kerstner’s homer leads Wittenberg to victory

Sat, 07/20/2019 - 8:58pm
Storms push several games backBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Wittenberg’s Shane Herb fires a pitch in a Class A Marathon Regional game against Nekoosa on Friday.

Legion baseball tournaments were hampered by storms and rain on Friday and Saturday.

Wittenberg was the only local team to get its entire game in on Friday, knocking off Nekoosa 4-1 in the Class A Marathon Regional.

Wittenberg got a valiant effort from starting pitcher Shane Herb, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Herb surrendered a trio of hits with two outs in the seventh, but induced a weak groundout to end the game.

Herb got several outs on the first pitches of at-bats. He also struck out seven batters.

“I was just throwing strikes,” said Herb on why he was successful. “I threw a lot of two-seamers and they were dropping good so they were up on top of the ball and grounding out. My infield made a lot of good plays behind me.”

Wittenberg took the lead in the bottom of the second, when Simon Stewart and Kody Szews produced back-to-back RBI singles. Jacob Groshek and Stewart scored the runs.

Wittenberg got some insurance in the fifth inning when Casey Kerstner came through with a towering two-run homer down the right field line. Herb scored on the big fly.

“Well my first two at-bats I was out in front of everything so that third at-bat I was timing it up and trying to stay back. I did and it just happened,” said Kerstner of the clutch at-bat.

The final game of the Marathon Regional on Friday was halted because of weather before all of Saturday was wiped out.

Eagle River and Marathon will open a busy Sunday at the regional with a game at 8 a.m. Wittenberg will then battle the winner of the Eagle River/Marathon game at approximately 3:30 p.m.

A win would propel Wittenberg into the late game, which is slated for 8:30 p.m. A loss would force Wittenberg into an elimination game at 6 p.m.

Menominee is the only team that has been eliminated from the Class A Clintonville Regional.

Marion/Tigerton led Menominee 8-4 before play was halted on Friday night. Menominee forfeited the game that was set to be resumed Saturday morning, resulting in the team’s second loss and elimination from the tournament.

Waupaca defeated Oconto Falls 11-6 in Friday’s only completed game.

The only game that got in Saturday was a winner’s bracket contest between Bonduel and Clintonville. Bonduel cruised to a 9-1 victory.

Bonduel busted open a scoreless game with a six-run third inning. The Grizzlies tacked on two more runs in the fourth and another in the seventh.

Parker Bohm led Bonduel with a three-hit game, including two doubles. Garrett Engel and Isaac Boldt each added two hits, while Engel and Cole Letter each scored twice.

Noah Beilfuss hit a solo home run in the seventh inning before recording the final two outs in the game. Jordan Boldt earned the win after striking out eight batters over 6 1/3 innings.

Clintonville scored its lone run in the seventh.

Presley Rosenow and Colton Kluth each doubled for the Diamond Cats. Jared Cartwright pitched the first 2 1/3 innings before Kluth worked the next 1 2/3. Jacob Viergutz was on the hill the final three innings.

On Sunday, Bonduel is slated to to take on Waupaca in the battle of the regional’s final two unbeatens at 2 p.m. Marion/Tigerton will take on Northern Door at 9 a.m. in an elimination game. Clintonville is set to face Oconto Falls in another elimination game at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The Class AA Antigo Regional, where Shawano is playing, was unable to complete either of its scheduled contest on Friday night. All of Saturday’s games were also postponed.

Shawano is slated to take on Antigo at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Legion: Bonduel surges past Menominee in regional play

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:34pm
Clintonville holds off Marion/TigertonBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Menominee’s Anthony Corn takes a swing at a pitch during a Class A Clintonville Regional game against Bonduel on Thursday.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Marion/Tigerton’s Zach Fehrman delivers a pitch during a Class A Clintonville Regional game against Clintonville on Thursday.

The Bonduel and Clintonville Legion baseball teams each earned wins on the first day of the Class A Clintonville Regional on Thursday.

Bonduel overcame an early 2-0 deficit and knocked off Menominee 9-2. Clintonville held off Marion/Tigerton, claiming a 7-5 win in the final game of the first day. Oconto Falls eased to a 10-0 win in five innings over Northern Door in the third game played Thursday.

Menominee put the pressure on Bonduel in the opening innings of the playoff contest.

Menominee took advantage of a pair of Bonduel errors in the first inning, and Richard Wayka scored to put the team up 1-0. Connor Latender singled in Sequoia Schlicting in the second to give Menominee a 2-0 lead.

Bonduel cut into the deficit when Riddik Bohm singled in Parker Bohm in the bottom of the second.

Cole Letter relieved Bonduel starter Joey Wagester with two outs in the third inning and held Menominee in check the rest of the way.

As Letter kept Menominee’s bats quiet, Bonduel’s heated up.

Noah Beilfuss drove in Garrett Engel with a single in the third to tie the game before Isaac Boldt scored on an error to put Bonduel ahead 3-2.

Bonduel added two more runs in the fourth as Isaac Banker scored on a wild pitch and Letter crossed home plate on a sacrifice flyout by Aaron Margelofsky. Isaac Boldt doubled to lead off the fifth before scoring on a sac fly by Parker Bohm.

Bonduel tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth. Jordan Boldt drove in Dylan Burch on a sac fly, Letter scored on an error and Bryce Weier scored on a single by Isaac Boldt.

“Run support is always nice,” said Letter. “It takes a big stress off my back and makes me feel a lot better when I’m up on the mound, especially when I’m struggling with mentality. It was great to have some help from my teammates.”

Wayka started the game for Menominee and pitched the first five innings before Latender worked the sixth.

Serving as the road team, Clintonville got an early jolt as Colton Kluth belted a homer to lead off the game.

Marion/Tigerton tied it up in the bottom half of the first, as Logan Thiex singled home Cayden Schoen. Clintonville responded with two more runs in the second, as Kluth delivered a two-RBI single.

Clintonville extended its lead to three in the fourth when Klay Barkow singled in Klay Finger.

Marion/Tigerton cut the deficit back to one with a pair of runs in the fourth. Carter Goke and Connor Harris each scored on wild pitches.

Clintonville responded with two runs in the fifth. Barkow laid down a bunt to score Presley Rosenow before Brock Smejkal scored on an error.

Again, Marion/Tigerton answered, tallying two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Harris came through with the clutch hit, and Zach Fehrman and Goke scored on the play.

Clintonville tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Smejkal executed a sacrifice bunt to score Jared Cartwright.

“Whenever we seemed to get down, someone would do something good to pick us back up,” said Kluth. “We always seemed to find a way to get a couple runs tacked on, like with the suicide squeezes.”

Clintonville’s Sean Finger kept Marion/Tigerton off the scoreboard in the final two innings to seal the win. Trent Vollmer started for the Diamond Cats, while Logan Liesenfelder also pitched.

Fehrman started for Marion/Tigerton and pitched the first 4 2/3 innings. Thiex came on in relief before Austin Hoffmann worked the seventh.

Bonduel and Clintonville are scheduled to face off at 8:30 p.m on Friday. Menominee and Marion/Tigerton will play an elimination game at 6:15 p.m. Oconto Falls is scheduled to face Waupaca at 4 p.m. in the first game of the day.

Shawano and Wittenberg also will open regional play on Friday.

Wittenberg is scheduled to take on Nekoosa at 4 p.m. in the Class A Marathon Regional. Shawano will battle Antigo at 8 p.m. in the Class AA Antigo Regional.

Racing for a Reason back for ninth year

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:26pm
Event set for SaturdayBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Racing for a Reason donation items filled up the Shawano Speedway office area on Thursday.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode A replica of Shawano Speedway, created by Olson Designs, is one of the items that will be available during the speedway’s Racing for a Reason event on Saturday.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode A toy box, donated by Sawyer Haese, is one of the items that will be available during the speedway’s Racing for a Reason event on Saturday. Sawyer’s mother, Terri, once served as Reed Luepke’s nurse.

Shawano Speedway will hosts its ninth Racing for a Reason night on Saturday.

The event was started back in 2011 as the speedway’s marketing, promotions and operations manager Brad Luepke’s son, Reed, was battling leukemia.

Reed defeated cancer in 2012, but that didn’t stop Racing for a Reason. It has since grown into one of the speedway’s most anticipated events, with over $110,000 raised for cancer charities so far.

“To think that this event would have grown to what it is now I would have never guessed,” Brad Luepke said.

“This has probably passed the Outlaws show in terms of anticipation. I often will have people come up to me that say that they normally don’t come to the races but they have to come for this night,” he said. “Attendance-wise, it’s very good, but it’s unbelievable, it shows a lot about what the community is about because they all come together when something like this happens.”

Luepke said the goal of the event is to raise money for the charities, but also to allow fans to win some neat gear at an affordable price.

The event annually draws in people from across the state, along with people from other states.

Among the items that will be available on Saturday will be a model replica of the speedway, cornhole boards, a toy box, bikes, furniture, signed sports memorabilia and a quilt featuring several of the Shawano Speedway drivers.

Luepke said he sometimes thinks the previous year’s amount raised would be hard to surpass again, but is blown away with how the event keeps growing.

In the first year of the event, about $5,000 was raised. The 2018 event raised about $22,000.

The proceeds from this year’s event will go to Child Life Services of St. Vincent in Green Bay and Bryan’s Angel Classic in Green Bay.

Bryan’s Angel Classic puts together packages to afford families getaways for weekends. Luepke said Child Life Services was, “our lifeline for 3½ years. They pretty much make you forget you’re going through what you’re going through.”

“This event is so cool because you actually get to see where the money goes, and Child Life Services allows us the opportunity to sort of pick what we’d like to see up there,” Luepke said.

On the race track, all five of the speedway’s divisions are scheduled to be in action. There will be increased purses in the IMCA Stock Car, IMCA Modified and Mighty Four divisions. The Late Model and IMCA Sport Mod divisions have produced some incredible races so far this season.

Luepke said this year’s turnout could be the best for the Racing for a Reason event as Shawano Speedway will be the only racing taking place in the area that night.

Racing is set to begin at 6 p.m.

Shawano teams turn in strong finishes at youth tournaments

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:22pm

Contributed Photo The Shawano Red 10U softball team took first in its 12-team bracket last weekend. Forming the team was, from left, back row, Frances Awonohopay, Gracee Johnson, Leah Nordin, Anna Dreier, Morgan Evans, Kadence Meyers; front row, Ayanna Okimosh, Lauren Harkey, Ava Wachtel, Natalie Bystol, Maci Beyer and Jacey Cowden. Head coach Grant Bystol is not pictured.
Contributed Photo The Shawano Black 8U baseball team came in third in its eight-team bracket last weekend. Pictured are, from left, front row, Jack Koenig, Drayson Escalante, LeAnthony Pecore, Gabe Tonn, Trey Hopfensperger, Liam Silk and Matthew Silk; middle row, Brody Smith, Kobe Bistoff, Collin Olson, Jason Holstrom, TJ Johnson and CJ Pyawasay; back row, Brian Silk, Scott Olson, Shawn Tonn and Gary Pyawasay.

From July 12-14, Memorial Park was the home to a trio a youth tournaments hosted by Shawano.

A total of 32 youth teams participated between the 8-and-under boys baseball machine pitch and 10U and 12U girls softball tournaments.

The Shawano Red 10U girls softball team took first place in the 12-team bracket, defeating the Wisconsin Rebels 8-6 in the title game.

The Shawano Black 8U boys baseball team claimed third in its eight-team competition. Shawano cruised to a 17-2 win over Greenville in the third place game.

In the 12U girls softball bracket of 12 teams, Shawano finished with a 1-2 record. Winneconne took first, while De Pere came in second.

In the 10U bracket, Shawano Black also competed. The team made it to bracket play before falling to Waupun, the eventual third-place finishers.

Appleton won the 8U boys baseball title, with Freedom taking second. Shawano Red turned in a strong weekend on the diamond, but was unable to advance to the playoffs.

An 8U girls, 11U boys and 12U boys tournament will be hosted by Shawano from Friday through Sunday. Shawano will also host 9U and 10U boys tournaments from July 26-28.

Survival tips from an epic tour of national parks

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:18pm

Photo by Ross Bielema This cow elk and her fawn approached a dozen or more visitors at Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado, then promptly laid down for a nap.

Redwoods. Sequoias. A Bighorn ram in Glacier National Park. Bison and elk in Yellowstone National Park. Stellar’s jays and magpies begging for our lunch in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hot sulphur springs at Lassen National Volcanic Park. Gorgeous rock formations at Arches National Park. The five-note “tune” from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” playing in my head while staring in awe at Devil’s Tower National Monument.

After spending more than three weeks in a mini-van with my lovely wife and daughter on a multi-state tour of western national parks and monuments, it’s hard to figure out the best of the best.

The ram shot was a no-brainer: He took our breath away when he appeared out of a rocky ravine, scrambled across the road in front of our van, then leaped into the pines in a flash. The mountain goat calmly walking along a rock wall at Glacier was a close second.

Do I show you all of the wildlife we saw (I can’t) or lean more heavily toward the spectacular mountain scenery?

My rough estimate is that I took about 5,000 photos with my Canon SL1, a few hundred with my Canon point-and-shoot and some with my phone. I experimented with slow shutter speeds for waterfalls and streams (blurred water looks artsy), and dug out my 10-24 fisheye lens for some ultra-wide shots of the dazzling vistas at Glacier (this park is still probably my favorite because my wife and I got engaged there at Avalanche Creek in July 1997, then returned to the park the next fall on our honeymoon).

I brought along a monopod that I never used. I brought a small Go Pro clone that I used once or twice (the video function of the camera in your hand is faster and more versatile than a separate video camera).

The best thing we brought was a national parks pass, which got our family into every national park and monument for $80. Since we used the pass about 13 times, we probably saved $250 over the typical $25-$35 carload admission fees at each park.

Just don’t try to cram too much into each day (we did) and allow extra time for meals and relaxation when traveling 500 to 700 miles a day (we didn’t). Book motels near major parks months in advance (my wife planned everything and booked our motels in March). Mom-and-pops will save you a few bucks over the chain motels and offer some quaint charm, but can be quirky and frustrating at times (in Sundance, Wyoming, we had to go to a second motel in town to get the key to our room at the booked motel).

We used both. In some areas, your options are limited.

Whatever you do, try not to lose your cool at each other. If you travel 7,461 miles through 12 states together inside a mini-van, you will. This epic road trip will give you a lifetime of memories. Although I have no regrets, I do need another vacation to rest up from this one.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at [email protected]

BABA Highlights

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:14pm

East-West Division

Tigerton 13

Leopolis 5

Tigerton knocked off Leopolis in a makeup game on July 12.

Tigerton pounded out 16 hits in the contest, with Shawn Much, Brandon Sivertson, Paul Sellner, Conner Harris and Jayden Sivertson all posting three hits. Jayden Sivertson and Gunner Kopitzke each homered, while Sellner earned the win on the hill.

Tyler Dillenberg tallied three of Leopolis’ six hits. Kasey Kristof suffered the loss.

Neopit 12

Marion 6

Neopit doubled up Marion in another makeup game on July 12. Neopit blew open a tight game with a six-run eighth inning.

Nick Grignon finished with four hits to lead Neopit, while Bob Peters, Anthony Leeman and Lowell Chevalier all added two hits. Leeman was also the winning pitcher.

Ricky Nettles finished with two hits for Marion. Ryan Mortensen took the loss.

Clintonville 1

Caroline 0

Clintonville escaped with a tight win over Caroline in the division’s final makeup game on July 12.

Kolin Kubitz and Jordan Koeppen each had two hits for Clintonville. John Dunlavy earned the win on the mound.

Eric Kroening was dealt the tough loss. Caroline had seven players record hits.

Little Falls 16

Bowler 2

Little Falls kept its lead in the West Division after cruising past Bowler. Little Falls bumped its record to 8-1, while Bowler fell to 1-9.

Kasey Morgan, Hunter Grunewald, Chris Dunn and Seth Korb all had two hits for Little Falls. Dunn picked up the win.

Logan Thiex took the loss for Bowler, but finished with two hits at the plate. Eli Bierman also had two hits.

Gresham 13

Shawano 2

Gresham eased past Shawano to improve to 8-1 and stay tied for first in the East Division.

Gresham recorded 20 hits, led by a four-hit game from Pete Carroll. Coby Wolffe and Jordan Stichman added three hits each. Stichman was also the winning pitcher.

Coby Urban suffered the loss for Shawano, which slipped to 4-4. Kurt Boldig led the offense with two hits.

Clintonville 22

Menominee 1

Clintonville remained tied atop the East Division with a lopsided win over Menominee in seven innings. Clintonville improved to 8-1, while Menominee fell to 0-9.

Kenny Casper, Ryan Ebert, Kyle Finger, Jaden Doornink and Hunter Vollmer all had two hits for Clintonville. Vollmer was also the winning pitcher.

Mariano Lyons suffered the loss on the mound for Menominee.

Tigerton 18

Leopolis 0

Tigerton blanked Leopolis in a seven-inning contest. Tigerton moved to 8-2, while Leopolis slipped to 3-7.

Shawn Much picked up the win after striking out five batters over seven strong innings. Paul Sellner finished with three hits, while Pat Provoast, Austin Hoffmann, Justin Sivertson and Gunner Kopitske all had two hits.

Tommy Stueck took the loss for Leopolis.

Caroline sweeps Tilleda

Caroline earned a pair of wins over Tilleda, winning game one 16-3 and game two by a 9-4 score. Caroline improved to 6-4, while Tilleda dropped to 1-9.

Conner Senzig homered among his five hits to lead Caroline in game one. Eric Kroening had three hits, while Dylan Loveland, Brandon Bernarde, Aaron Hoffman and Austin Hoffman all had two hits. Aaron Hoffman also picked up the win.

Aaron Hoffman also earned the win in game two after pitching three innings. Kroening and Bernarde each had three hits. Loveland had two hits, while Neil Hoffman homered twice.

Teagan Lehman had three hits for Tilleda, while Joel Brei took the loss on the hill in game one. Steve Flanagan had two hits to lead the team in game two. Zach Fehrman took the loss.

Northern Division

Birnamwood 7

Antigo/Polar 5

Birnamwood downed Antigo/Polar in a makeup game on July 12.

Austin Reed earned the win for Birnamwood, while Eric Steigerwald and Jason Rieck each had two hits.

Jed Weix and Nick Marshall had two hits each, while AJ Kirsch homered for Antigo/Polar. Ben Sobczak was the losing pitcher.

Elderon 5

Hatley 3

Elderon held off Hatley in a makeup game.

Matt Meronk, Brandon Groshek, Mike Lehman and Casey Kerstner all had two hits for Elderon. MacLean Alwes earned the win.

Sam Nielson led Hatley with a pair of hits. John Breske was the losing pitcher.

Birnamwood 6

Hatley 3

Birnamwood doubled up Hatley to remain atop the Northern Division with a 9-1 record. Hatley fell to 6-3.

Brandon Resch finished with three hits for Birnamwood, while Gus Turner-Zick, Timmy Rew and Zach Bembenek all had two hits. Bembenek also earned the win.

Josh Matushak homered and had three hits for Hatley, while Conner Langbehn added a pair of hits. Sam Nielson took the loss.

Elderon 11

Wittenberg 1

Elderon cruised past Wittenberg to move to 5-4 overall. Wittenberg dropped to 1-8.

Justin Meronk homered twice among his three hits to lead Elderon. Dalton Zeinert added two hits, while Casey Kerstner earned the win.

Tommy Froom was the losing pitcher. Dominik Anderson had two hits for Wittenberg.

South Central Division

Plover 10

New London 0

Plover blanked New London in a makeup game on July 11 that lasted seven innings.

Zach Hintz earned the win for Plover. Derek Lemmens had three hits and drove in two runs, while Jason Jones added a pair of hits.

Trevor Bryant and Andy Brooker had hits for New London.

Waupaca 15

Green Lake 3

Waupaca kept its commanding lead in the division with a lopsided win over Green Lake. Waupaca improved to 8-0, while Green Lake slipped to 1-7.

Jon Popham had three hits for Waupaca. Shawn Peskie and Wes Austin each scored twice, while Jim Nighbor earned the win.

Carter Rhode suffered the loss for Green Lake. Cody Behm hit a home run.

Scandinavia 4

Plover 0

Scandinavia shut down Plover to improve to 5-2. Plover fell to 4-3.

Jeremy Dunihoo picked up the win on the mound. Willie Rosenthal homered and drove in two runs for Scandinavia.

Jake Dreves took the loss for Plover.

New London 3

Weymont 2

New London edged Weymont to pick up its first win.

New London is now 1-5, while Weymont is 2-4.

Dustin Beyer named new Shawano baseball coach

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 7:44pm
New coach a fixture in Shawano athletics over the yearsBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Dustin Beyer was named the new varsity baseball coach at Shawano Community High School on Monday.

Dustin Beyer was hired as the next Shawano varsity baseball coach.

The hiring was announced in a press release sent out Monday.

“I’ve always wanted to be the head coach and I’m just glad I got the opportunity,” Beyer said. “It’s special for me being from here and having the opportunity to coach the young kids coming through the program.”

With an extensive background in the sport, Beyer has a clear vision of what he’d like the program to function on.

“It’s built on a lot of hard work. Nothing is given to you, it’s got to be earned,” Beyer said. “Just being disciplined, fundamentally sound and playing the game the right way. That’s what I want out of the kids and having a great coaching staff to help me do that.”

Beyer replaces Rob Wolff as the team’s coach. Wolff helped the Hawks to several successful seasons over his tenure with the program, including a third-place Bay Conference finish in 2017.

Details on Wolff’s departure from the team were not available by the Leader’s press time.

Returning just one starter from that team, Shawano finished with a 2-16 conference record this past spring.

For some, the record might indicate a rebuilding period as the program restructures with the hiring of a new coach. Beyer believes the program has the players in place to be competitive and is excited to work with the players that return to the program next spring.

“I think it all starts by building a positive culture and helping these kids understand what Shawano baseball is and what it should be. That’s my first and biggest step taking over as head coach,” Beyer said.

“I want to help teach these boys what a winning program is and how we should act and play and instilling that in their heads. Then having it carry over, not only on the field, but in the classroom, at home and in the community. Making sure the boys understand the hard work and discipline this is going to take. If we take care of those little details, I think the wins will come.”

Beyer is a proud supporter of Shawano Community High School and can often be found taking in athletic events around the area.

Beyer has helped run the Shawano Youth Baseball League over the past few years and served as the president from 2015-18.

Since 2005, Beyer has also been involved with the Shawano Lobos, which are members of the Dairyland Baseball League.

Beyer has served as an assistant to the Shawano varsity girls basketball team the past two seasons and previously worked as an assistant varsity baseball coach from 2005-09. He also worked with the Legion baseball program from 2015-16.

Beyer said he will continue to help coach the girls basketball team going forward but that he would have to make decisions on some of his other responsibilities.

The new coach still has several months to fill out his staff but already has some names in mind. He noted that, “There’s a lot of good baseball minds in town here,” and that he plans to try and fill out the coaching staff over the next couple of weeks.

Legion: Shawano, Wittenberg set to make runs at regionals

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 7:41pm
Games scheduled to start FridayBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Nick Grignon, right, swings at a pitch during the team’s matchup with Seymour on Monday. Grignon has had a hot bat for the Patriots all summer and will be looking to help the team as it plays in the Antigo Regional over the next few days.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Wittenberg’s Shane Herb delivers a pitch during the team’s road clash with Bonduel in the middle of June. Herb will be one of the pitchers counted on as the team tries to work its way through the Marathon Regional.

The Shawano and Wittenberg Legion baseball teams open regional tournament play on Friday.

Shawano is part of the four-team Class AA Antigo Regional, while Wittenberg will try and navigate its way through the six-team Class A Marathon Regional. Both tournaments follow double elimination format.

Shawano is scheduled to open up taking on Antigo at 8 p.m. Pulaski and Rhinelander will open the tournament at 5:30 p.m.

Despite failing to record a win to this point of the season, Shawano coach Kobey Pues has reason for optimism as the team has played its most competitive baseball over the past couple of weeks.

“Well, without a win, we are probably in the best place we can be,” Pues said. “I mean, we’ve played pretty good the last three games. We’ve had some good at-bats and are making some good plays defensively…”

The Patriots have a tough opening round clash with Antigo, who made it to state last summer.

Another factor working against Shawano is that the team is thin on guys to use on the mound, especially with Joey Tadych not being able to attend the tournament.

Pues said the team would use several pitchers to try and get through games. Zach Erdmann, Steve Hoffmann, Karson Rades, Ian Reinders and Kaleb Lowney have all spent time on the hill this summer and will likely be asked to step on the bump and get some outs.

At the plate, Parker Pues will try and set the table for Hoffmann, Nick Grignon and company.

The biggest key to the Patriots success in the regional might be limiting opposing team’s big innings. Several big innings have turned close games into lopsided ones for Shawano this summer.

Coach Pues will continue to preach that baseball is just a game and to have fun playing it, no matter what the scoreboard might say.

The winner of the Antigo Regional will advance to state, which will be held in Mauston from July 26-30.

Wittenberg is set to take on Nekoosa at 4 p.m. to open regional play Friday. Medford and Mosinee square off at 1 p.m., and Eagle River takes on Marathon at 7 p.m.

Wittenberg experienced an up-and-down season on the diamond, but coach Dan Kapitz has appreciated the team’s work ethic all summer.

“I feel that our team has been consistent in that players have been willing to show up and play hard,” Kapitz said. “Consistency is an important part of baseball, especially with your middle infield and pitcher, catcher combinations.”

The team has rolled out several pitchers this season, which gives the coach some more positivity heading into regional play.

“Success in baseball relies on pitching. In the Legion tournament, we have enough pitching to be successful but I also stress the importance of being around the plate and pitching for contact,” Kapitz said. “Second, you have to have a defense that is able to step up and make plays to prevent extended innings. I feel that our squad has enough pitching to make it through our regional tournament.”

Shane Herb, Simon Stewart, Kody Szews, Austin Worzalla, Will Urquhart and Matt Kapitz are among the options Wittenberg could send to the mound during the tournament.

At the plate, Wittenberg has gotten production from throughout its lineup and been able to put up runs in bunches.

A couple big innings paired with some solid pitching could help Wittenberg work through the bracket and eventually punch a ticket to state. The Class A State Tournament will be held in Westby from July 26-30.

Ski Sharks eager for another strong showing at championships

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 6:51pm
Team coming off back-to-back titlesBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Contributed Photo Brad Keuschel, bottom, and Kylie Wallace will compete in the doubles competition at the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Shawano Ski Sharks will compete at the Wisconsin State Show Ski Championships in Wisconsin Rapids over the next several days in front of massive crowds.

It’s an annual event for the Ski Sharks but will have a much different feel this year after Shawano won a Division 3 title in 2017 and Division 2 title in 2018.

When a team wins a title, they move up a division the following year, meaning the Ski Sharks will be competing against Division 1 teams with roster sizes two to three times larger.

Shawano made history last year by becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles in separate divisions. Winning a third straight title would be an incredible feat to achieve, but that’s not what the team has been focused on this summer.

“Our mindset, at least from a leadership point of view, is to put on the absolute best and most entertaining ski show at our home site. Entertain our home crowd, provide recognition to our sponsors and just do a great job here. Then take that same ski show to the tournament in an effort to put on a respectable show, even against teams at least twice as big as us,” said Dave Passehl, the Ski Sharks president.

“If we win, great; however, if we take last place and did the best we can, we have to be happy with that as well. So our expectations are to go down there, ski a respectable show, showcase the skills of the kids we work with and come home holding our heads high regardless of the position we take.”

Passehl said the team has tried to increase the difficulty of some of its acts after the back-to-back titles, but that at this point of the season, the team “is polishing what we’ve got and we’re going to bring it down there (the championships) and see how it does against the big guys.”

Show director Brad Keuschel says the team will have a barefoot pyramid on display for the first times in a few years at the championships.

He also believes the Ski Sharks will be only competing team to have a pair of skiers — Nick Siolka and Sam Strachan — attempting a backwards 360 around the boat.

Sam will also compete with his brothers Jack and Ryan and try win the Most Original Act Award for a third consecutive year.

Faith Passehl will compete in the individual swivel competition after taking 10th a year ago.

Keuschel and Kylie Wallace will compete in the doubles competition.

“The good thing about our competition and show skiing in general is the whole mentality at state is that we’re all friends. We all have a love for the sport, we all encourage each other to do better,” Keuschel said.

“So it’s almost not really a competitive mindset, it’s more let’s go out there and see what everybody can do kind of thing. So even with the teams we are more competitive with, we’re still trying to win against them, but we are still there to watch their shows and they are there to watch ours and everybody cheers each other on. It’s a pretty cool experience.”

The championships will take place Thursday through Sunday at Red Beach at South Wood County Park.

Legion: Four local teams hoping to emerge from Clintonville Regional

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 6:48pm
Games scheduled to start ThursdayBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Clintonville’s Colton Kluth delivers a pitch during the Diamond Cat Tournament in Clintonville in late June. Kluth and the Diamond Cats will take on Marion/Tigerton on Thursday to open regional play.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Riddik Bohm scores a run during the Diamond Cat Tournament in Clintonville in late June. Bohm and the Grizzlies will face Menominee to open the Clintonville Regional on Thursday.

The Bonduel, Clintonville, Marion/Tigerton and Menominee Legion baseball teams are ready to battle in the Class A Region 3 Clintonville Regional this week after a summer of duking it out in the Central Wisconsin Legion Baseball Association.

The teams will be joined by CWLBA counterpart Oconto Falls along with Northern Door and Waupaca in the seven-team, double elimination tournament. All games will be played at Olen Park, 10 Memorial Circle, Clintonville.

Bonduel and Menominee are scheduled to open the regional on Thursday with a contest at 4 p.m. After Oconto Falls and Northern Door face off at 6:15 p.m, Marion/Tigerton will take on Clintonville at 8:30 p.m. for the day’s final game. Waupaca drew the bye and is scheduled to play its first game at 4 p.m. Friday.

As with any tournament that features several games in a short amount of time, pitching will be key.

Bonduel coach Jason Boldt is confident in his team, which features a pitching staff that includes Noah Beilfuss, Isaac Boldt, Joey Wagester, Jordan Boldt and Parker Bohm.

“I’m comfortable starting any of our guys against any team,” coach Boldt said. “They all throw strikes and mix up location and speeds.”

“Our pitching has been solid all summer and lately our bats have gotten hot. I’m hoping both carry over to the tournament along with solid defense.”

Menominee hasn’t had as strong a summer on the diamond as Bonduel, but coach Karl Peters believes his team is in a good place heading into regionals.

Peters knows his team does not have the same amount of pitching options as some other teams in the regional bracket, but believes the team’s bats can make up the difference.

“All the boys have to do is attack good pitches and hit the ball hard and force the other team to make plays. If we do that we’ll be in every game,” Peters said.

Richard Wayka, Mequan Corn, Riley Uttecht and Wendell Waukau lead the charge from the top of Menominee’s lineup.

As Clintonville prepares to host, the team on the field believes its peaking at the right time.

“We’re playing the best ball we have all year right now,” said Clintonville coach Randy Finger. “We lost 2-1 to New London the other night, so even some of our losses have been quality ones. We’re playing our best ball and meshing as a team at the right time.”

Several Clintonville batters have come through with big hits this summer. Matt Morse, Logan Liesenfelder, Jared Cartwright, Colton Kluth and Brock Smejkal have often formed the top of the Diamond Cats lineup.

Finger has relied on the team’s pitching depth this summer instead of using one standout arm again and again. He believes the team’s period of rest it will have going into the tournament will help the pitchers, who have been hitting their spots and using the defense behind them of late.

Clintonville’s Thursday opponent is still looking to start clicking on all cylinders.

Marion/Tigerton coach Aaron Schoen thinks his team has improved over the course of the summer, but is still not playing its best.

“My message has been and will continue to be play to your potential. We have way to much talent on this team, in terms of all-conference players, to have the record that we have,” Schoen said. “If we can get everyone to click at the same time, we have a shot to go deep in the tournament.”

Schoen also believes the team possesses the arms to navigate a tournament and that the key to success for the pitchers will be pitch location.

Conner Harris, Austin Hoffmann and Cayden Schoen have led the team at the plate from the top of the lineup.

The team that emerges as the Clintonville Regional champion will advance to the state tournament, which will be held in Westby from July 26-30.

Legion: Shawano falters late in loss to Seymour

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 6:39pm
Mistakes prove costly in final inningBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Karson Rades throws a pitch during the team’s loss to Seymour on Monday in Shawano.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Parker Pues looks on after taking a swing during the team’s loss to Seymour on Monday in Shawano.

The Shawano Legion baseball team turned in one of its best games Monday. But much like the rest of the summer season, one big inning proved costly in a 15-6 setback to Seymour in nine innings at Veterans Memorial Park.

Seymour scored nine times in the top of the ninth inning to blow open what was a back-and-forth contest until that point. Seymour had 14 batters come to the plate.

The first batter singled before a hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases. Shawano pitcher Kaleb Lowney induced a grounder, but an error allowed each runner to move up a base.

Seymour finished with five hits in the inning, but a pair of walks, two errors and several wild pitches allowed the visitors to keep tacking on the runs.

“It seems like every game, there’s one big inning against us where we can’t make a play defensively, can’t get a bounce to go our way, the pitcher can’t make the pitch to get the next guy out. We’ve struggled with that this summer,” said Shawano coach Kobey Pues.

The opening innings of the contest — Shawano’s last game before regionals — had the coach thinking the team had finally turned the corner.

After starting pitcher Joey Tadych worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, Shawano grabbed the lead in the bottom half by playing small ball.

Parker Pues led off the inning with a single before stealing second base. Pues then moved to third on a groundout before scoring on a Tadych infield single that was rocketed off the pitcher’s glove.

Seymour responded by scoring twice in the second to take the lead and then once in the third to go up 3-1.

Shawano battled back and tied the game in the fifth when Nick Grignon delivered a two-RBI double to score Wylee Springborn and Steve Hoffmann.

Seymour retook the lead with three runs in the sixth, but Shawano didn’t quit.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kris Krause came on as a pinch-hitter and hit a sacrifice fly to score Karson Rades to cut the deficit to two.

Shawano then tied it in the seventh as five of its six batters reached base. Pues walked before Hoffmann blooped in a single. Grignon then drove in Pues with another double, but Hoffmann was cut down at home plate on the relay.

After a Tadych walked, Grignon was caught stealing at third for the second out. On the play, Tadych moved to second.

Zach Erdmann clutched up and drove in Tadych with a double to tie the game at six. A strikeout ended the rally and sent the game to extras.

“This should give us a lot of hope. Actually, our last three games we’ve played have been pretty good ballgames for us,” said coach Pues. “We’ve been playing some decent ball the last few games. I don’t know if it’s going to go with us to Antigo, but I sure hope it does.”

Each team went down in order in the eighth before Seymour’s nine-run outburst in the ninth. Shawano got runners to second and third in the bottom half, but were unable to cash in.

Tadych worked the first five innings before Rades worked the sixth. Lowney worked 2⅔ innings before Ian Reinders got the last out of the ninth.

Racing: Anvelink, VanStraten each win third in a row

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 1:08pm
Wilinski, Bartz and Bice also score winsBy: 

Scott Owen Special to the Leader

Contributed Photo Konnor Wilinski wins his first IMCA Modified feature of the season Saturday at Shawano Speedway. The first-place finish moved him into a tie atop the standings.

Halloween at the Half Mile had no tricks, just treats for Nick Anvelink, Konnor Wilinski, Travis VanStraten, Jordan Bartz and Kevin Bice.

Anvelink won his third Late Model feature in a row and sixth overall on the year. Wilinski scored his first feature of the season and moved into a tie atop the IMCA Modified standings. VanStraten outdueled Dan Michonski for his third straight IMCA Stock Car feature win. Bartz got IMCA Sport Mod win number three, while Bice won his second Mighty Four feature.

Joe Reuter led the early stages of the Late Model feature before Troy Springborn pulled to the outside of Reuter on lap three to take the lead. While Springborn led, Anvelink steadily worked his way through the field from his eighth-place starting position.

On lap 10, Reuter, Anvelink and Tom Naeyaert went three-wide for the second spot. On lap 11, Anvelink finally worked his way to second and set his sights on Springborn.

Anvelink pulled to the outside of Springborn on lap 13 to storm to the lead. Anvelink led the rest of the way en route to victory lane. Springborn finished in second. Ron Berna, Brett Swedberg and Naeyaert rounded out the top five.

Cautions plagued the start of the IMCA Modified feature before Mark Weisnicht eventually led lap one. By lap three, Wilinski had worked his way to second and went to work on Weisnicht.

Wilinski moved to the inside of Weisnicht on lap four and took the lead. Due to the early cautions, the race was shortened as it reached the time limit. In the end, it was Wilinski followed by Weisnicht, Matt Oreskovich, Jason Czarapata and Rob Charapata.

The IMCA Stock Car feature saw Kurt Olson leading the opening two laps before Michonski sneaked past on lap three. On lap five, VanStraten got around Olson to move to second.

As has been the case in recent weeks, Michonski and VanStraten began a duel for the lead. VanStraten took the lead on lap seven, working the lowest line on the track. Michonski took the lead back on lap eight, running the highest line on the track.

They continued to battle door-to-door on lap nine, with VanStraten holding the lead on the lap. Over the next 11 laps of the race, VanStraten had his hands full as Michonski worked high and low trying to a find a way back to the front.

VanStraten was flawless though and held off Michonski for the win. As the lead pair battled, Bert Moede Jr. raced to a third-place finish. Kurt Olson and Dylan Stedjee completed the top five.

Sawyer Haese looked to have the car to beat early on in the IMCA Sport Mod feature, until Jason Jach stormed past on lap four to grab the lead. Haese would fall victim to mechanical gremlins on lap five, ending his night.

Bartz moved to second on the grid at this time and set her sights on Jach. Bartz and Jach swapped the lead back and forth for the next few laps.

On lap nine, Bartz took over for good and did not look back on her way to victory lane. Teagan Wudstrack passed Jach for second late in the race. Jach, Kevin Bethke and Bryce Clements completed the top five.

In Mighty Four action, it was Bice going wire to wire for the win. Jason Cornelius, Brad Nelson, Calvin Stueck and Jason Stueck finished second through fifth.

Racing continues Saturday with a 6 p.m. start time. It is the annual Racing for a Reason night at the track, as money will be raised for childhood cancer charities. All five divisions will be in action with extra money on the line for IMCA Stock Cars, IMCA Modifieds and Mighty Fours. Information can be found online at

Legion: Bonduel hangs on late for thrilling win over Shawano

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 7:29pm
Four Grizzlies pitchers combine for shutoutBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Parker Bohm, left, slides safely into home as Shawano’s Zach Erdmann applies the tag during the fourth inning of the team’s annual Fourth of July contest in Bonduel.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Fans and coaches look on as Shawano’s Nick Grignon flies out to deep center field for the final out of a Fourth of July Legion contest in Bonduel.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Zach Erdmann delivers a pitch during a Fourth of July Legion contest at Bonduel.

A deep flyball by Shawano’s Nick Grignon nearly left the park for a grand slam home run. Instead, Bonduel center fielder Jordan Boldt made the catch up against the fence to preserve the team’s 1-0 Legion home win over Shawano in a Fourth of July thriller.

“When he first hit it, I was like, oh no. It just kept going and going. I knew Jordan was going to give it his best shot out there and luckily it went 349 (feet), not 350,” said Bonduel coach Jason Boldt.

“A little bit, but I wasn’t sure,” said Shawano coach Kobey Pues on if he thought the ball would leave the park. “I was watching (Jordan) Boldt and he was reading it and I just wasn’t sure. I was kind of hoping the wind would pick up a little bit.”

Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Bonduel brought on Aaron Margelofsky to try and shut the door in the seventh. But Shawano’s Elliott Lowney drew a walk before Kaleb Lowney was hit by a pitch.

Bonduel then turned the ball over to Parker Bohm.

Shawano’s Wylee Springborn tried to sacrifice bunt the Lowneys up a base, but Elliott was forced out at third. Bonduel tried to throw to first for a double play, but Springborn beat the throw and Kaleb Lowney ended up moving to third on the throw across the diamond.

A wild pitch moved Springborn to second base before Parker Pues reached on an infield single that did not advance either runner.

Bohm induced a foul popup for the second out, setting up the matchup with Grignon, the Patriots No. 3 hitter.

“I was a little nervous,” said Bohm of Grignon’s deep flyout. “Honestly, I didn’t think he got all of it but then I noticed Jordan kept going back. But then he was up against the fence and made the catch. It was a great catch by Jordan and hats off to him.”

The early innings of the annual rivalry game saw Bonduel’s Noah Beilfuss and Shawano’s Zach Erdmann locked in a pitcher’s duel. Beilfuss worked the first three innings before giving way to Isaac Boldt in the fourth.

Beilfuss struck out five batters in his three innings of work before Isaac Boldt struck out six in three innings.

Bonduel tallied the game’s lone run in the bottom of the fourth.

Beilfuss walked with one out before being replaced by Bohm on a fielder’s choice. Bohm then stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Isaac Boldt drew a walk and stole second to put a pair of runners on for the hosts.

A clutch hit wasn’t needed though, as a wild pitch allowed both runners to move up. Bohm just beat the throw to the plate.

“In our pregame meeting, I’m always telling our guys to be aggressive on the bases. We’ve got a lot of fast guys on our team that always look to move up that extra base and that is always huge because you never know if that one run or that one passed ball might be the difference in the game,” said coach Boldt.

It was the lone blemish on a strong start for Erdmann, who asked coach Pues if he could pitch the game. Erdmann came through for his team, working all six innings and striking out six along the way.

While the first Legion win just eluded Shawano, the team believes it’s moving in the right direction and can build off the tight loss to Bonduel.

“This game should boost us. I think we have a good ball club, I think we can pull out wins. We just have to come together and play as a team and have the right mindset going into each game,” said Erdmann.

Bonduel’s next scheduled game is set for Sunday, when it hosts Oconto Falls. Shawano is off until Wednesday, when its slated to host Kimberly.

Competitors enjoy 34th annual Leopolis Triathlon

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 7:25pm
Event draws athletes from around stateBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Competitors swam across the Leopolis Pond to kick off the Leopolis Triathlon on the Fourth of July.

Participants from around the state opened their Fourth of July by competing in the 34th annual Leopolis Triathlon.

All three classes, jock, beer belly and youth, started by swimming across the Leopolis Pond. The next portion of the triathlon saw the beer belly and youth classes each bike five miles, while the jock class biked 12 miles. The final leg saw the beer belly and youth classes run two miles, while the jock class ran five miles.

Most participants swam and biked under sunny conditions before light rain fell during the running portion of the day.

Some individuals came to compete on their own, while others were joined by several other family members.

“Including cousins, there were 16 of us (family members) in the running,” said Christine Schuessler of Green Bay, who was competing in the Leopolis Triathlon for the first time and enjoyed the running portion of the triathlon most.

Many competitors were back after taking part in the triathlon in previous years.

“This was my second time doing this triathlon specifically. I did it last year too when I was 13,” said Samuel Totzke of Stevens Point, who also competed last year.

“I did improve a lot. I’m actually in cross-country and track so I think that helped me shave a couple minutes off my time,” added Totzke. “It was definitely cooler this year. Last year, it was very hot, so I was thankful for some of those clouds today…”

“I used to do it, in like 2013 and 2014 and then I stopped for a little bit before coming back for this year,” said Mackenzie Bessette of Schofield.”I just really like this triathlon. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Leopolis Triathlon started in 1986. The event is sponsored by the Leopolis Booster Club.

Results from the triathlon were not available by the Leader’s press time.

BABA Highlights

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 7:23pm

East-West Division

Bowler 9

Little Falls 2

Bowler knocked off Little Falls in a make-up game June 29. Little Falls, which did not play its scheduled Sunday game, fell to 6-1 on the season.

Paul Murphy pitched all nine innings to earn the win, striking out seven batters to work around 12 walks. He allowed just one hit. Murphy and Ezra Spencer each doubled for Bowler, which took advantage of 11 walks.

Seth Korb suffered the loss for Little Falls, pitching 6⅓ innings. Brock Gullixon had the team’s lone hit.

Leopolis 10

Bowler 4

Leopolis took down Bowler in the division’s only Sunday game. Leopolis improved to 3-4, while Bowler fell to 1-7.

Kasey Kristof pitched all nine innings to earn the win for Leopolis. Wylee Springborn and Nick Schoen each finished with two hits.

Logan Thiex was dealt the loss for Bowler, which had six players record a hit in the contest.

Northern Division

Antigo/Polar 5

Eland 3

Antigo/Polar topped Eland in a make-up game June 28.

Antigo/Polar made the most of its six hits in the game. Kyle Wagoner and Neil Bretl each had two hits, while Nick Marshall picked up the win on the mound.

Derek Kawalski took the loss for Eland. Shane Larson posted two of the team’s seven hits.

Birnamwood 4

Eland 2

Birnamwood doubled up Eland to improve to 6-1 on the summer. Eland is 4-4 overall.

Brady Erickson led Birnamwood with a trio of hits, while Timmy Rew had two. Zach Bembenek earned the win on the hill, allowing two runs over seven innings.

Shane Larson again led Eland with a pair of hits. Jacob Ligenza took the loss after working two innings.

Hatley 16

Wittenberg 1

Hatley eased past Wittenberg to jump to 4-1 overall, while Wittenberg fell to 1-7.

Josh Nielson, John Breske, John Matushak and Sam Nielson all tallied three hits for Hatley. Breske struck out nine batters over eight innings to earn the win.

Dom Anderson took the loss for Wittenberg. Will Urquhart doubled for one of Wittenberg’s three hits.

South Central Division

Waupaca 4

Scandinavia 2

Waupaca doubled up Scandinavia in a make-up game June 29. Waupaca moved to 6-0, while Scandinavia fell to 5-2.

Jake Pankratz picked up the win for Waupaca after pitching seven innings and not allowing a run. Jake Popham had two hits, while Tyler Goggins belted a three-run homer. Luke Behm homered among his two hits.

Jeremy Dunnihoo took the tough loss for Scandinavia. R.J. Rosenthal led the offense with two hits, while Jesse Dickert reached base three times.

None of the scheduled Sunday division games were played.

Western states are ideal for do-it-yourself varmint hunts

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 7:20pm

Traveling with family is a mixed bag. Sharing adventures with wife and daughter while we explore the far corners of America or even the world is an experience not to be missed. But let’s be honest. Wives and daughters have their own agendas, and mine would rather explore a mall or thrift store than hike a wilderness trail or hunt for anything other than a clearance sale.

But my wife truly loves to travel, and she outdid herself this time. She elected to leave her well-paying job as a chemical engineer behind last June, growing tired of a clueless boss and endless on-call hours. She decided to cash in some long-held savings bonds, spend a few months as a stay-at-home mom to our 13-year-old daughter and find a new career.

That was 13 months ago. Although she won Appvion’s highest employee honor as an engineer, she didn’t even get a courtesy call or email from her two non-engineering job applications (she has background in logistics and Six Sigma). But she did manage to plan a three-week family vacation that makes the Griswolds’ trips look like lazy weekend road trips.

I’ve never taken a three-week vacation in my life, but this would be a major adventure. We would make a vast sweep of the west that would include Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Minnesota! We’d focus on national parks, including Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone and many others. As I type this on my laptop, I’m in a cozy motel room in Chester, California, having just finished an afternoon exploring the snow-choked Lassen Volcanic National Park, featuring steaming hot sulphur springs and a huge section of recovered forest since Lassen Peak last erupted in 1921.

If you ever decide to try something this crazy, or perhaps visit just three or four national parks in one trip, get a National Parks Pass for $80 and save yourself some dough on admission fees. We have nine national parks or monuments on our agenda and with admission at $25-$35 each, your annual pass will save you enough for a few fast-food meals or maybe a night in a mom-and-pop motel.

At a Colorado rest stop, we stocked up on brochures. I’m a sucker for the printed word, maybe because of my love for newspapers, magazines and books, so I always go nuts on these colorful little memories of places I’ll probably not even get to. I bring them home with the intention of giving them to people who are heading where I just went, but my wife normally recycles them before I ever look at them again.

Several brochures on Colorado hunting and outfitters caught my eye, and the bubbly woman working there was only too eager to load me up.

I learned that Colorado requires a small game license for coyotes, prairie dogs, ground squirrels and other small furry critters that are so fun to chase in spring, summer and early fall. Some states, like Montana, do not.

Now I’m in the middle of a family vacation, but my mind’s already planning the Woodstock of varmint hunts with a good buddy or two.

I asked (begged, really) my lovely wife if I could toss a varmint rifle in the minivan with our mounds of blankets and coolers and rappelling gear and snakebite kits, but there just wasn’t room. I knew I could try a few shots at prairie dogs with my Glacier National Park bear medicine (Taurus 7-shot .357 Magnum with Hornady Critical Defense ammo), but the noise alone would attract too much attention.

However, I could jot a few notes if I saw a prairie dog town (say Mile 85 on I-25 South near Brantzell, Colorado, exit 83) and perhaps return. I got hooked on prairie dog hunting during two trips to eastern Wyoming in the 1990s, but sadly have not had any serious return trips since. (We did shoot a few during two antelope hunts on the same ranch a few years later.)

Since my wife doesn’t trust my driving (I think speed limits are just a government suggestion), she prefers to drive. This gives me time to shoot photos of the scenery and of course the wildlife. Halfway through our trip, I’ve seen four coyotes, and that’s mostly at highway speeds. Two were in national parks, but the other two were on public or reservation lands.

Most landowners are more than happy to get rid of coyotes, prairie dogs and other varmints. State fish and game or departments of natural resources will provide regulations and suggest hunting spots. Bureau of Land Management and National Grasslands acres are also open to hunting in most cases. If you want to be sure of success, spend the money and pay a few hundred bucks a day to have a guide point the way. The web is full of forums and tips on where to go, too.

A do-it-yourself varmint hunt is fun to plan and easier than you think. Calculate your food, fuel, lodging and incidental expenses, get a buddy or two to commit and make this adventure happen! Nobody’s getting any younger and “someday” could be never if you keep putting it off.

Send me an email if you want some more ideas on places to go.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at [email protected]

Bucks retooling roster after near Finals miss

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 3:33pm

The Associated Press Bucks’ Khris Middleton, right, shoots against Pistons’ Ish Smith during Game 2 of the team’s first-round playoff series April 17. Middleton agreed to a new five-year deal with the Bucks at the start of the free agency period.
The Associated Press Bucks’ Brook Lopez makes a 3-point basket against the Pistons during a regular season game Jan. 1. Lopez will return to Milwaukee on a new four-year deal.

The Milwaukee Bucks recently embarked upon one of their most important offseasons in recent memory, trying to find the missing pieces to help the team reach the NBA Finals after just falling short this past season.

The team’s most important piece, MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, is under contract with the Bucks until 2021 and has said he enjoys playing in Milwaukee. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t change his mind if the team isn’t making positive strides — which would be reaching, and hopefully winning, the Finals before his contract is up.

As one might expect, the Bucks decided to bring back most of their core players, doing so in the first few hours after the free agency period started Sunday.

All-Star Khris Middleton and the Bucks agreed to a five-year, $178 million deal, while Brook Lopez signed a four-year, $52 million deal. Both deals were reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Bucks also brought back George Hill on a three-year, $29 million deal.

Those three all served big roles for the Bucks during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals and will now be a part of the team’s foreseeable future.

A player who also played big minutes for Milwaukee but was not brought back was Malcolm Brogdon, who will instead play for the division rival Indiana Pacers next year.

Milwaukee had the ability to match the four-year, $85 million contract offered by the Pacers as Brogdon was a restricted free agent, but instead chose to trade him away for one first-round and two second-round draft picks. This deal was also reported by Wojnarowski.

The Bucks also lost Nikola Mirotic, who chose to take his talents overseas, and guard Tim Frazier, who signed with the Detroit Pistons, but Brogdon is clearly the biggest loss for the team.

The move didn’t make a ton of sense at the time, especially to the fans who prefer Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe, whom the team re-signed during the regular season.

The move to let Brogdon go was made much clearer when Wojnarowski announced that Milwaukee had signed former Marquette standout Wesley Matthews on Monday. The contract was for the veteran’s minimum.

Fans tend to latch on to the players who stick around for awhile, making Brogdon’s removal from the team heartbreaking.

But when you compare the stats between Brogdon and Matthews, you’ll quickly realize the Bucks got a player who does pretty much the exact same thing for a fraction of the price.

Over his three, injury-riddled seasons with the Bucks, Brogdon averaged 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 0.9 steals. In his 10 seasons in the league, Matthews has averaged 13.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals.

Brogdon is a slightly better 3-point shooter, connecting on 40.8 percent of those shots to Matthews’ 38.2.

Matthews, who could be in line to start or be the first guy off the bench, could turn into one of the NBA’s best free agency acquisitions by the end of the upcoming season.

In retaining Middleton and Lopez, the Bucks get back about 31 points per game and a pair of strong defenders.

If it seems like Middleton’s contract is for a good chunk of change, you’re right.

In fact, at the time his deal was reported, Middleton’s $178 million total was the third-largest ever, trailing only Russell Westbrook (five years, $206.8 million) and Stephen Curry (five years, $201.2 million). It was also the largest contract for a second-round pick in NBA history — both numbers were according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Middleton has been a solid source of scoring for the Bucks since joining the team in 2013. He expressed his interest in winning a title with Antetokounmpo and now he will have that opportunity.

Lopez turned into one of the biggest free agent additions from last summer’s crop of players. He set a record for most 3-pointers hit in a season by a center and quickly became a fan favorite.

He will now get the chance to reunite with his twin brother, Robin, after the Bucks reached an agreement with the big man late Sunday. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported the two-year deal.

While Robin won’t stretch the defense with his 3-point shooting ability like Brook does, the brothers, known as the Twin Towers during their time at Stanford, are both solid bigs who can help defend the paint.

While the free agency period is still young and the Bucks still could make a few moves to improve the roster, fans of the team should be excited for what is to come in Milwaukee. General manager Jon Horst won Executive of the Year for a reason, so leave the roster moves to him and don’t be too quick to judge a transaction like so many fans were with the sign-and-trade of Brogdon.

This column reflects roster moves through Tuesday.

Morgan Rode is the sports editor for the Leader. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Legion: Bonduel knocks off Marion/Tigerton

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 3:12pm
Boldt, Margelofsky provide big hitsBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Parker Bohm delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of Monday’s Legion game against Marion/Tigerton in Bonduel. Bohm struck out all three batters he faced in the inning.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Marion/Tigerton’s Zach Fehrman throws a pitch in the later innings of Monday’s Legion game at Bonduel. Fehrman pitched all six innings for the visitors.

A pair of two-RBI hits and a strong start on the mound from Jordan Boldt led Bonduel to a 5-1 victory over Marion/Tigerton in Bonduel on Monday.

Marion/Tigerton jumped out to an early lead by scoring once in the first, but Bonduel took the lead for good with a four-run second.

Bonduel’s Noah Beilfuss led off the inning with a single before moving to second when Isaac Boldt reached on an error.

Cole Letter reached on a fielder’s choice that forced out Isaac Boldt at second for the inning’s second out, but Dylan Burch followed with a walk to load the bases.

Aaron Margelofsky came through with the first of two big Bonduel hits in the inning, driving in Beilfuss and Letter with a single.

“I knew we had two outs and that we were still behind in the game, so ultimately I just tried to put the ball in play and create something for my team,” said Margelofsky. “I didn’t hit it all that well, but I hustled it out and thankfully we got a couple runs as a result, and it made a big difference in the game overall.”

Jordan Boldt followed with another clutch two-out hit, plating Burch and Margelofsky with a single.

“That (two-out hitting) seems to our calling card right now,” said Bonduel coach Jason Boldt. “These guys never get down, even with two outs. They are always up there battling at the plate, and it’s fun to watch.”

After allowing the first-inning run, Jordan Boldt held Marion/Tigerton in check until he was relieved in the seventh inning. He struck out 12 batters to work around several baserunners.

“I felt like I threw a lot harder tonight, which was big because I’m not much for throwing hard and getting strikeouts. I think just working ahead and then having an off-speed pitch to work in too,” said Jordan Boldt, on what led to his successful night on the mound.

Parker Bohm came on in the seventh and picked up where Jordan Boldt left off, striking out all three batters he faced to seal up the victory for the Grizzlies.

Bonduel had a couple chances to add to its lead, finally tacking on a run in the sixth when Bryce Weier singled home Letter.

Marion/Tigerton left a total of nine runners on, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.

Conner Harris, Cayden Schoen and Izaiah Hidde all singled to load the bases for the visitors in the top of the first before Koy Brei singled to scored Harris. The next batter struck out to end the threat without another run scoring. All three of Marion/Tigerton’s outs in the first were strikeouts.

“We just couldn’t string hits together when we needed them,” said Marion/Tigerton coach Aaron Schoen. “We got the one in the first inning but left three guys on.”

“I don’t know why our offense isn’t clicking yet, but I think it’s the one game, off week, one game, off week schedule,” coach Schoen added. “Hopefully with our next week when we got Monday, Tuesday and Thursday games, we can get some consistent playing.”

Outside of the second inning, Marion/Tigerton starting pitcher Zach Fehrman held Bonduel to just five other baserunners.

Fehrman struck out five batters along the way.

“Listening to my catcher (Austin Hoffmann) really helped. He basically called the game for me, and it really helped me out,” said Fehrman on his start. “Placement helped a little bit. I had pretty good accuracy tonight. They still did some damage against me, but accuracy helped.”

Legion: Bonduel wins tournament on tiebreaker

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 3:57pm
Clintonville takes thirdBy: 

Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Aaron Margelofsky, right, swings at a pitch against New London at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Joey Wagester delivers a pitch against New London at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Clintonville’s Logan Liesenfelder heads to first base against Freedom at the Diamond Cat Tournament on Saturday in Clintonville.

The Diamond Cat Tournament in Clintonville had it all, from pitching duels and clutch hits to three-hour marathons and everything in between.

But in the end of the eight team, double elimination tournament, it was a tiebreaker that was used to declare Bonduel the champions over New London.

Championship games were supposed to be played Saturday, but with Bonduel set to play its third game and New London its fourth on a day the temperature was around 90, the decision was made to put the winner-take-all game off to Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, for a second time since the start of tournament, the weather had other plans. Early morning rain and thunderstorms cancelled the game, which led to the tiebreaker of head-to-head runs being used.

Bonduel outscored New London 10-7 between the two games the teams played to win the tiebreaker.

“We have a group of young men that are very passionate about baseball,” said Bonduel coach Jason Boldt. “They come to play every game. It’s fun to coach because they are not only talented but they have strong baseball IQ.”

The first game between the teams took place Saturday morning, with Bonduel earning a 6-2 win behind a strong pitching outing from Isaac Boldt.

The Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead with a two-run first. New London responded with a run in its half of the first before Bonduel got the run back in the fourth on an Aaron Margelofsky RBI single.

New London again had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, but Bonduel bounced back with a two-run fifth before adding an insurance run in the seventh.

Isaac Boldt handled things from the mound, working out of trouble in a few innings to finish the game and earn the win.

“My defense helped me out a lot today,” Isaac Boldt said. I was able to hit my spots and when they hit the ball somewhere on the field, our players were making the plays to get the outs. Big props to them today.”

After New London eliminated Clintonville, it set up a rematch with Bonduel.

Despite coming up short in a 5-4 final, Bonduel’s rally in the later innings proved to be the difference with the tiebreaker eventually being used.

New London grabbed a 5-0 through three innings, but Bonduel clawed its way back as Grizzlies pitcher Joey Wagester found a groove on the mound.

Dylan Burch’s double cleared the bases to bring Bonduel within two runs in the sixth. Noah Beilfuss then came through with a RBI single in the seventh to cut Bonduel’s deficit to one, but New London was able to strand runners at first and second to end the game.

Bonduel opened the tournament with a back-and-forth 14-8 victory over Shawano on June 26. The Grizzlies then knocked off Clintonville 2-0 behind a gem from Beilfuss on Friday.

After running into some trouble in the sixth and seventh innings, Beilfuss induced two double-play groundballs to thwart the rallies and eventually finish off the shutout.

“They were huge. I left the ball down the middle a little bit and they ended up hitting it but I got a great defense behind me, so once I knew the ball was on the ground, I knew they were going to turn it,” Beilfuss said. “It gets the crowd pumped, it gets me pumped and it gets our team pumped and creates a really good atmosphere to play ball in. It was just awesome when they made those plays.”

“Our pitching staff is tremendous,” said coach Boldt after the tournament. “We have three guys that are legitimate No. 1s on most teams. I’m very confident in whatever pitcher I have toeing the slab that they will keep us in the ballgame.”


Clintonville learned plenty about itself while coming in third. The Diamond Cats came from behind in a pair of wins over Oconto Falls and ended up going 3-2.

“I learned a lot about the team because we had some guys gone on vacation and working,” said coach Randy Finger. “We saw some things out of guys who maybe don’t get as much playing time, a lot of guys really stood up this week. It shows the character of these guys after being down five or six and being able to battle back. Even in our losses, I saw a lot of good things.”

Clintonville opened tournament play by scoring six unanswered runs to overcome a three-run deficit and pick up a 7-4 victory over Oconto Falls on June 26. Brock Smejkal came through with a two-RBI triple and two-run double in the win.

After being shutout by Bonduel, Clintonville faced Oconto Falls again, but this time with the loser being eliminated.

Oconto Falls led 6-1 before Clintonville began its comeback.

After scoring twice in the sixth, the hosts scored three more times in the seventh to tie the game. The seventh-inning rally included a RBI single from Colton Kluth and a two-RBI single by Jacob Viergutz.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 10th inning. Clintonville’s first three batters reached before Presley Rosenow came through with the clutch hit, singling to right field to score the game-winning run.

“I was just looking for contact,” Rosenow said after the win. “This was a win or go home situation and we just want to keep this streak going for playoffs.”

In a Saturday morning elimination game against Freedom, Clintonville scored five runs between the first and second innings and coasted to a 5-0 win. Kluth earned the win on the mound after pitching five innings. Viergutz covered the final two.

Clintonville finally ran out of pitching options in a 14-6 elimination loss to New London.

New London jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two innings before Clintonville scored four in times in the third, including a two-RBI double by Smejkal and solo homer from Klay Finger. New London took control for good by scoring the next five runs.


Despite an 0-2 record in the tournament, coach Kobey Pues liked what he saw from his team.

“Winning is a lot more fun but the kids are having some fun right now and they loose in the dugout and not all uptight,” he said. “There’s some promise we can get from here, the game is fun again.”

In the June 26 loss to Bonduel, Shawano rallied from a four-run deficit and briefly held a 6-5 lead before Bonduel pulled away for good.

Shawano was eliminated in a 7-2 loss to Oconto Falls on Friday.

After Oconto Falls grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Shawano came right back with a run of its own to tie the game. Kris Krause scored on a groundout by Wylee Springborn.

Shawano then pulled ahead when Krause singled home Nick Grignon in the third inning. Oconto Falls answered with five runs in the fourth and another in the sixth to pull away for the win.

Leader intern Molly Gretzlock contributed to this story.

Stock Car Division puts on a show for the ages

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 3:51pm
Anvelink wins again, Wudstrack claims first winBy: 

Scott Owen Special to the Leader

Photos courtesy of Turn 2 Photos and Design Travis VanStraten won his first IMCA Stock Car feature of the season on Saturday at Shawano Speedway.

Sometimes it all just comes together. That was the case on Saturday night at the Shawano Speedway as fans were treated to some unbelievable action.

Nick Anvelink came from seventh to win his fourth Late Model feature of the year. Former dirt and pavement Late Model feature winner, Tim Rothe, scored his first career IMCA Modified feature win. Travis VanStraten came from 10th to win a caution-free IMCA Stock Car feature that had more passing than an indoor football game. It was VanStraten’s first feature win of the year.

Teagan Wudstrack was on cloud nine after coming from 11th to win his first ever IMCA Sport Mod feature. Jason Cornelius put his early season woes behind him with his first Mighty Four win of the year.

Anvelink took the lead with just three laps to go as he worked to the inside of Troy Springborn as the leaders worked through the tail of the field. As the traffic in front of them raced three-wide, Anvelink overtook Springborn and went on to win his 10th Dirt Kings Late Model Tour race, his second win at Shawano Speedway.

Springborn led the first 22 laps of the 25-lap Gehm’s Club 117 Kings Classic after starting from the pole. Springborn took the lead going into turn one and battled with Justin Ritchie going down the backstretch, but Springborn prevailed on the high side.

Just past the halfway point, Anvelink charged to third position, passing Ron Berna on the inside. One lap later, Anvelink took second position away from Ritchie and set his sights on Springborn, who was half a straightaway ahead.

With five laps remaining, Anvelink closed the gap on Springborn, who was working around lapped traffic. Anvelink passed six cars en route to his win. Springborn finished second, followed by Ritchie, Berna and Brett Swedberg.

Pole-sitter Shawn Frelich took the lead on lap one of the IMCA Modified feature before a caution flag slowed the pace and reset the field after the opening lap. On lap two, Rothe went to the outside of Frelich and took the lead away. Rothe then dropped the hammer and began to pull away.

Behind Rothe, Matt Oreskovich ran second as Lucas Lamberies began working through the field after starting in 12th. On lap eight, Lamberies went to the inside of Oreskovich and tried to put the slide job on him for second. Lamberies was not able to clear Oreskovich though and the two cars made contact, with Lamberies getting a flat tire and pulling pitside.

Oreskovich was then challenged by Wyatt Block for second. The pair swapped the runner-up position multiple times as the leader, Rothe, continued to run away. At the end, it was Rothe with the dominant win followed by Block, Oreskovich, Kevin Feck and Rob Charapata.

Kurt Olson set the early pace in the IMCA Stock Car feature. Nate Michonski quickly challenged for the lead and led lap two by a nose. Olson went right back out front on lap three.

Behind the lead duo, Dan Michonski, Trent Nolan, Jeremy Christians and VanStraten began working forward from deep in the field. Business really picked up just past the halfway point of the race.

On lap 13, Christian cracked the whip and pulled alongside Olson to challenge for the lead. Christians led by the slimmest of margins at the finish line, but the race was far from over.

Christians and Olson continued to battle door to door on lap 14. VanStraten then moved to second on lap 15. On lap 16, Christians, Olson, VanStraten, Nolan and the Michonski brothers looked like rush hour traffic with three rows of door to door, bumper to bumper racing.

On lap 17, VanStraten put his car in the lead with an inside pass on Christians. In the end it was VanStraten fending off Christians, Nate Michonki, Dan Michonski and Trent Nolan for the win.

Last week’s feature winner Sawyer Haese took the lead on lap one of the IMCA Sport Mod feature. As Haese led, Matthew Radtke ran second, while Wudstrack moved to third.

On lap 11, Wudstrack made an inside pass on Radtke to move to second. Jordan Bartz went to the outside to pass Wudstrack for second on lap 12, but Wudstrack would take it right back on lap 13.

On lap 14, Haese, Wudstrack, Bartz, and Radtke were four-wide for the lead exiting turn two. Wudstrack pulled ahead down the backstretch to take the lead. Wudstrack would not look back. Haese, Bartz and Bryce Clements battled behind Wudstrack.

At the end it was Wudstrack leading the field to the checkered flag chased by Haese, Clements, Bartz and Radtke.

In Mighty Four action, Cornelius led lap one before giving way to Josh Slewinski on lap two. Slewinski continued to lead as Cornelius pulled alongside on lap seven. The two drivers ran side by side until lap 10 when Cornelius snuck underneath Slewinski for the lead.

Cornelius would stay out front and claim the win. Tanner Westphal passed Slewinski late in the race for second. Slewinski would take third, Kevin Bice fourth and Lucas Hacker was fifth.

Racing continues Saturday with a 6 p.m. start time. It is kids’ bike giveaway night at the track. More information can be found online at

Dirt Kings Tour contributed to this story.