Sports

Sat
28
Jul

Copper, agate hunting in Michigan’s UP fun

California’s Silicon Valley may rule the 21st century with its computer chips and internet giants like Google, but in the 1840s to mid-1900s, Michigan’s Keweenaw Copper District dominated the world’s production of copper.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has always meant one thing to me: Da Yoopers, that wacky, offbeat band that made a modest living off its musical tales of crazy deer hunters and backwoods adventures. On a family vacation to the UP this week, I learned much about the history of the area and its geological importance as the king of copper.

Thanks to my own computerized metal detector, a Garrett AH Pro, I even managed to find and bring home some native copper samples scrounged from the tailings of a few abandoned mines in the Houghton and Hancock areas.

Fri
27
Jul

Ski Sharks win 2nd straight title


Contributed photo The Ski Sharks pyramid team finished with the fifth-best score at Lake Wazeecha in Wisconsin Rapids last weekend during the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships.

Winning the Division 3 Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships in 2017 moved the Shawano Ski Sharks up a division for this year’s state competition.

Just competing in the D2 field was an accomplishment for Shawano, which was going up against teams with much larger rosters, so you can imagine the Ski Sharks athletes’ surprise when they found out they claimed the Division 2 State Championship last weekend while competing at Lake Wazeecha in Wisconsin Rapids.

“We have a small team compared to everyone else, but we skied a very clean and fast paced show with minimal falls,” said Cody Siolka, the team’s show director. “What really helped us was that we weren’t focused on winning or beating other teams or rivals. Despite our size and early season struggles, we proved to everyone that we’re a force to be reckoned with and ready to play with the big dogs.”

Thu
26
Jul

High school fall sports right around the corner


Leader file photo Shawano’s Roman Purull and other local schools open football practice on Aug. 1.

Although the start of the 2018-19 school year is still more than a month off, high school fall sports are about ready to get started.

The first day of August marks the start of the fall’s earliest sports practices, when local football teams will step on the gridiron to prepare for the regular season. Teams will have just over two weeks to ready for the openers, which can be played on Aug. 17.

The final day for a playoff-bound team to play a regular season game is Oct. 12 before the first round of playoffs open on Oct. 19-20. The state championship games will be played on Nov. 15-16 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

Last year, Bonduel and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, both Division 5 programs, were the only local schools to make the postseason.

Thu
26
Jul

NFL moves goal posts in anthem gridlock

Reasonably satisfied with its most recent defining of what constitutes a caught ball, the National Football League last week demonstrated there is also some ambiguity in a national anthem policy.

The league put on hold, until the peripheral issues are sorted out, its new rule that players stand during the playing of the national anthem.

The sorting-out could include, among other things, the collusion lawsuit filed by the NFL Players Union against the league involving safety Eric Reid and quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Both players were active in the anthem sit-downs and kneel-downs — which protesters said was done to draw awareness to unfair treatment of minorities by police — and both are free agent veterans unable to get hired. Their prospects for latching on somewhere aren’t great, either. Barring some tangible evidence, collusion cases are highly subjective and tough to prove in court.

Wed
25
Jul

Shawano cannot get past Antigo pitching at Rhinelander


Photo courtesy of Robert Mainhardt Shawano catcher Brad Bartz attempts to tag out Antigo’s Matt Winter (11) at home plate in Sunday’s contest.

Despite having only three other teams to compete against in the Class AA Rhinelander Regional, the Shawano Legion baseball team knew it had a tough road out of the regional pod.

The regional was headlined by Antigo, which had made it to state in each of the last three seasons, and Rhinelander, which lost just once during the regular season. Northwoods filled out the regional.

Shawano handily took care of Northwoods to pick up two wins, but dropped a pair of contests to Antigo. Despite not scoring in either game against Antigo, the Patriots were competitive until the very last out.

“Going into regionals, we knew that we were going to be a very competitive team and that we had a shot at being the best at that tournament,” Casey Baumann said. “We knew that Antigo is probably one of the best teams we have played all year, which really got us fired up because we wanted to beat them so bad.”

Wed
25
Jul

Medford spoils Wittenberg’s state hopes


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Wittenberg Legion’s Dalton Zeinert, right, rips the game-winning hit to left-center against Marathon on Saturday.

The Wittenberg Legion baseball team, after posting a 12-2 regular-season record, headed into the Class A Marathon Regional with aspirations of making the state tournament in Osseo.

Wittenberg earned wins over Marathon and Nekoosa at the regional but dropped a pair of tight contests in the double-elimination tourney to Medford, the eventual champs.

Despite falling short of state, Wittenberg’s players did not hang their heads.

“We did what we wanted to. We won the games we knew we could but lost some games that we thought we could win as well,” Kody Szews said. “That’s how baseball works. You’re not on every day, and sometimes you just get lucky.”

Wittenberg wrapped up the summer with a record of 14-4.

“I’m really proud of them,” Wittenberg coach Dan Kapitz said. “I know we lost this game, but these are games they won’t ever forget.”

Wed
25
Jul

Freedom tops Bonduel to win Clintonville Regional


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Isaac Boldt (3) and Brandon Olsen (17) crossed home plate at nearly the same time during Sunday’s game against Freedom.

Coming off strong regular seasons, the Bonduel and Clintonville Legion baseball teams each had high aspirations going into the Class A Clintonville Regional.

The teams got off to opposite starts when play started, however. Bonduel claimed a thrilling 1-0 victory over Oconto Falls while Clintonville dropped a 14-5 game to Freedom.

Bonduel’s Wyatt Erb dazzled on the mound in the team’s win over Oconto Falls, striking out 11 batters while allowing just five batters to reach base on Friday. The Grizzlies mounted a two-out rally in the sixth, with Cole Letter’s game-winning single plating the only run.

Clintonville and Freedom were deadlocked at two in the bottom of the sixth when rain postponed the remainder of the game to Saturday morning. After play resumed, Clintonville grabbed a one-run lead and appeared to be on its way to a win. Instead, an error with two outs in the seventh allowed Freedom to score 12 unearned runs in the frame and come away with a win.

Wed
25
Jul

World of Outlaws returns to Shawano Speedway

Rick Eckert is still searching for his first victory this season in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series.

With Eckert’s recent success at the Shawano Speedway, the longtime driver could nab that elusive win on one of his favorite tracks at the end of this month.

Eckert, the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series champion in 2011, won the feature event in Shawano last year, marking his sixth top-five finish at the speedway in the last seven years. Eckert has also placed in the top-five of the LMS in every season dating back to 2009.

He leads a star-studded field of drivers making their way back to the Shawano Speedway for the Sun Drop Shootout.

Sat
21
Jul

Bonduel wins thriller over Oconto Falls to open regional play


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Wyatt Erb pitched a gem to help Bonduel to a 1-0 win over Oconto Falls in a Class A Clintonville Regional clash.

It didn’t take very long to realize the Class A Clintonville Regional matchup between Bonduel and Oconto Falls was going to be a pitcher’s duel. The only question was was which team was going to scratch across a run first.

The Bonduel Legion team scored the contest’s first and only run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Cole Letter bloop single to right. Pitcher Wyatt Erb worked 6 2/3 stellar innings before Riley Allen got the final out to preserve the Grizzlies 1-0 win on Friday night in Clintonville.

After two quick outs in the sixth frame, Bonduel put together a rally. Bryce Weier and Riddik Bohm each came through with singles before Letter delivered a clutch two-strike single, plating Weier to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.

Sat
21
Jul

Legion Roundup

Regional games postponed

Weather has moved the start of the Class AA Rhinelander Regional to Saturday.

Shawano will battle Northwoods at 11:30 a.m. in the first game of the day before Antigo faces Rhinelander at 2 p.m. The rest of the regional games will be determined based on the results of those two games. The final is now scheduled to be played on Monday.

The Class A Marathon Regional was rained out on Friday evening.

The regional will now open on Saturday, with Nekoosa and Mosinee battling at 8 a.m., Tomahawk facing off at 10:30 a.m. and Wittenberg against Marathon at 1 p.m. After the first round of games, three more contest will take place Saturday.

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