Defense necessary as Shawano seeks step forward

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School senior Kien Moorman works on fielding during practice this week. Moorman, the team’s starting left fielder last season, will be one of three returning outfielders for the Hawks.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School senior Kasey Kristof works at catcher during practice this week. Kristof, who played shortstop last year, is taking over behind the plate while Jack Hanauer recovers from a torn ACL.

With no physically dominant pitcher or big hitting threat, playing sound defense is a focus this spring for the Shawano baseball team under the direction of Rob Wolff.

It could be what helps the Hawks bust through to the top half of the Bay Conference.

“When your defense breaks down, then everything falls apart,” Wolff said, reflecting on the Hawks’ tourney run last year. “We beat Xavier, and they had a couple players going to UW-Milwaukee. And then we lose to Oconto Falls on a suicide squeeze in the sixth inning and they lose in the sectional final to go to state. So I mean, we’re close.”

Losing Jack Hanauer, a three-year starter at catcher, to an ACL injury will hurt the Hawks. Wolff plans to move senior Kasey Kristof, who started the past two years at shortstop, behind the plate.

Hanauer will remain with the team as he continues his post-operation recovery to help Kristof and the younger Hawks.


Eagles looking for depth on mound

Coming up with error-free defense will be critical for the Menominee Indian baseball team this spring.

With just two pitchers with game experience — junior Dayton LaTender and sophomore Mequan Corn, the Eagles need to do everything they can to keep pitch counts to a minimum.

“It’s going to be even more key with the new pitching limit that’s going to be enforced, so there may be some high-scoring games, and if you pair that with some bad defense, it might be even higher scoring,” Menominee Indian head coach Mike Waupoose said. “So just finding the time to get these guys reps outside and get used to it and get used to playing at multiple positions, so that will be key for us.”

Waupoose is still looking for more athletes to take over innings on the mound.

If weather turns bad and games start to pile up late in the season, the Eagles will need more depth.


Bohr coming up to speed for Bears

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior shortstop Kailee Pedersen is one of six returning starters for the Bears, who hope to finish in the top four in the Central Wisconsin Conference-8.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior third baseman Brittany Wudtke works on fielding a ground ball at practice this week. The Bears return the entire infield but lost catcher Kaylee Rynish and two outfielders to graduation.

Senior Kaitlyn Bohr spent all summer learning how to be a catcher out of necessity for the Bonduel softball program.

After Kaylee Rynish, a four-year starter behind the plate, graduated, the Bears had no one readily available to take over the position.

“I’m hoping that she’ll be able to replace her,” Bonduel head coach Chris Reinke said.

As Bohr learns the position, she will have a strong infield in front of her.

All four infielders, along with pitcher Cameri Gehm, return for the spring season. Seniors Becca Carpenter (first base), Kailee Pedersen (shortstop) and Brittany Wudtke (third base) are joined by junior Brynn Reinke (second base).

The team’s seven seniors, along with Reinke, have been playing together for nearly a decade, which Pedersen hopes can help alleviate any issues of going through slumps.


Wildcats chasing CWC-10, state hopes

Capturing a WIAA Division 4 regional championship was a big confidence boost for the Gresham baseball team last spring.

The Wildcats, who dominated Sevastopol for an 8-3 win, went on to defeat Niagara in the sectional semifinal 6-2 before falling to Rib Lake in the sectional final, 11-1, in six innings.

“Getting into sectionals for baseball was huge, and I think that competition level, and the desire to want to compete at that level, was huge for these kids,” Gresham head coach Scott Cerveny said.

Starting pitcher Derek Bowman worked his way through the Niagara contest, walking two batters and hitting another before settling down. He threw four scoreless innings in the four-run victory.


McFarlane stepping forward this spring

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School freshman Haley Williams, left, fights Colleen McFarlane for a 50-50 ball during practice Wednesday. McFarlane, the team’s top defender, will move up the field this year to help the Hawks keep possession and advance the ball.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School junior Sydney Steinbach chases down the ball during practice on Wednesday. Steinbach is one of three players who each scored two goals last year, the most for any returning athlete.

Four graduated seniors — Megan Klitzke, Morgan Klitzke, Sarah Dickmann and Teagan Monfils — combined for 66 of Shawano’s 75 goals in 2016.

Losing that core group means the team’s top defender for the past two seasons, Colleen McFarlane, will move up the field for the Hawks this year.

“A lot of the names you just mentioned controlled the field pretty well, so I’ve got to get somebody else to step up,” Shawano head coach Bob Croschere said. “Hopefully three or four more of them to step up and actually take those command positions on the field.”

McFarlane, who roamed the field as a defender and defensive midfielder last year, has become a vocal leader for Shawano, which finished last year 8-10-2 overall, 4-5-2 in the Bay Conference, and advanced to sectional play for the first time in program history.


Shawano CDAC recommends 3 free antlerless tags for 2017

Shawano County’s Deer Advisory Council recommended three free tags and an anterless quota of 8,000 for the 2017 deer season during a meeting Tuesday at Shawano Community Middle School.

The most discussion centered on how many free tags hunters should receive with the purchase of their license.

Last year, for the first time, Shawano County hunters who purchased either a gun license or a bow license received three free antlerless tags.

Hunters, who had an 8 percent success rate with the free tags, harvested 11,308 deer, including 6,560 anterless in Shawano County last year.

John Stezenski, with the Hunt/Conservation Club, called for the tags to remain the same, as did Deer Management Assistance Program representative Jim Weinmann.

“The ones who will use them, will use them, will shoot more than one,” Stezenski said. “And it seems to have worked. Our antlerless deer killed went up 1,000 deer.”


Clintonville agrees to fund girls swim team

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the Clintonville School District will fund the high school girls swimming program.

The school board approved the request on March 13.

Superintendent Tom O’Toole told the board that it will cost the district about $8,000 to fund the program. It will increase to $9,500 if a second coach is added.

A girls team has competed in the Bay Conference for the past 10 years, but it has been a club sport, meaning the district did not provide financial support. The team relied entirely on the Clintonville Area Swim Team.

“This will ease the burden on the Clintonville Area Swim Team,” Clintonville head coach Lee Wetzel told the board.

Since there were 25 participants last fall and the young program is strong, O’Toole told the board the team numbers justify the funding.

According to Wetzel, CAST still plans to hold fundraisers to help offset some of the costs.


Upset win over defending champs nets Badgers 4th straight Sweet 16

As an estimated $10 billion was being bet on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there was the usual throng of experts on hand providing valuable insight to help the wagering masses navigate their bracket sheets.

Before last weekend’s games, the experts were wise. After the games, they were wise. In between, they were otherwise.

Among the intellectual titans breaking down the pregame analyses was ESPN, which assured the sports world that not a single team from the Big Ten would advance beyond the first weekend.

Sure enough, no Big Ten team did – except for Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan. Those three pushed through, which was three times as many as the vaunted Atlantic Coast Conference, and as many teams as any other conference has still playing. Hold the eulogies for the downtrodden Big Ten.


Cleaning up defense key to Shawano’s success

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School third baseman Sarah Petry works on putting down a bunt during practice last week.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School senior Courtney Rouse works on her catching during a practice last week. Rouse is working to become a starter for the Hawks after mostly being an extra base runner last season.

With the majority of the roster returning, the Shawano softball team is ready to compete at the top of the Bay Conference.

The Hawks, who finished second last year behind New London and advanced to the regional final, hope to improve on defense this season.

“We’ve got to be more fundamentally sound,” Shawano head coach Brian Johnson said. “We were a little sloppy at the end of last year. If we can clean up some of the defensive mistakes, we hit the ball well, we’ve just got to clean up the defense and make sure our pitching comes through.”

The added year of playing time could prove beneficial for all the returning players. The Hawks get back six of the nine positions in the field.

Alli Raddant, at second base, and Lauren Roloff, in right field, graduated. Designated player Julia Beck also graduated, and Hannah Hein, the team’s center fielder and No. 2 pitcher, suffered a knee injury and will be out for the year.


Eagles starting anew after large senior losses

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Menominee Indian High School senior Autumn Chevalier is one of many Eagles expected to take on a larger role after three seniors graduated in 2016.

For two consecutive years, a Menominee Indian softball player has earned Player of the Year honors in the Central Wisconsin Conference-10.

Now, after losing pitcher Kelsey Corn, last season’s honoree, along with Ania Smith and Taylor Mahkimetas, new head coach Roberta Ponfil has key positions to fill.

What she wants to do in the preseason remains pretty simple.

“Get them better at what they need to get better at, use their strengths and confident that maybe they can get as far as they did last year,” Ponfil said. “Just kind of build them up.”

With Corn, the workhorse in the circle last year for the Eagles, gone, Jalen Corn, an honorable-mention all-conference selection a season ago, will have to spend more time at catcher to help the new pitchers be successful.

Corn caught just over half of the contests last season, splitting time with Smith.


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