Rookies, youngsters making mark in 2017

In 1986, the band Timbuk 3 made the phrase “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades” famous. This phrase is also be suitable for the local dirt-track racing scene.

Last Saturday night, 14-year-old Jayden Schmidt scored his first feature win at the Shawano Speedway in the IMCA Sport Mods feature. In doing so, Schmidt joined Max Oreskovich, who scored a Mighty Four feature win July 8, as 14-year-old feature winners.

Arguably, not since 2006 when Marcus Yarie, Joe Reuter and Jason Jach, among others, made their debut were so many promising young racers a part of the show. Even though Schmidt and Oreskovich are only 14, they have each shown poise beyond their years. Not so coincidentally, each has a father who also races. In fact, Jamie Schmidt and Matt Oreskovich race against each other in the IMCA Modifieds class.

Jayden Schmidt and Max Oreskovich are certainly not the only rookies making names for themselves.


Jeranek dominates Clintonville on the mound and at the plate

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Clintonville Legion right fielder Colton Kluth dives for a ball during Thursday’s 6-1 home loss to West Salem in the Class A state tournament.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Clintonville Legion pitcher Nate Krueger gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in Thursday’s 6-1 loss to West Salem in the Class A state tournament.

West Salem’s Alex Jeranek had Clintonville Legion’s number all day Thursday in a dominating performance.

He scattered four hits over seven innings and added four hits at the plate in a 6-1 victory over the Diamondcats in the Class A Legion State Tournament in Clintonville.

“That’s a nice ball club, Clintonville, in their home stadium, and he absolutely showed up and dominated,” West Salem head coach Sean Gavaghan said.

After Jeranek singled in the second inning, a hit batter and walk loaded the bases before Braxton Ghelfi cleared them with a three-RBI double into the right-center gap.

Back-to-back singles in the fourth inning off Clintonville pitcher Nathan Krueger put runners on first and second. Ghelfi advanced them on a sacrifice. Nick Schultz drove in Alec Gorski on a single, and then Ryan Beirne got an RBI on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-0.

Jeranek also opened the third, fifth and seventh innings with singles.


Jirschele honored at Legion tourney opening ceremony

Photo by Grace Kirchner Don Jirschele, left, was saluted Wednesday by Waupaca County Board Chairman Richard Koeppen at the American Legion Class A state baseball tournament in Clintonville.

For the first time in 22 years, the American Legion Baseball Class A state tournament is being held in Clintonville.

The tournament opened Wednesday and continues through Sunday at Don Jirschele Stadium in the W.A. Olen Athletic Field.

During the opening ceremony Wednesday, Waupaca County Board Chairman and former Clintonville Mayor Richard Koeppen paid special tribute to Don Jirschele.

“Don Jirschele is a legend in this community. He has helped others all of his life,” Koeppen said.

Mayor Lois Bressette threw out the first pitch.

Koeppen thanked Mark Doornink, the tournament director, and his family for all of the work they had done to prepare for the tournament.

“I always wanted a place for children to play ball and what better place to stay out of trouble,” Koeppen said.

This year marks Clintonville’s 14th appearance in the state tournament. The Diamondcats won the championship in 1988.


Olsen latest in Bonduel’s line of all-star participants

For the third time in as many seasons, Bonduel will have a representative at the American Legion State All-Star Game at Miller Park.

Brandon Olsen, the team’s right fielder, was selected by coach Jason Boldt and then by the Wisconsin Legion State Board to play in the game Aug. 13 in the home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Forty-eight players were selected statewide to fill the North and South rosters for the all-star game.

Connor Rosin was on the team in 2015, and pitcher Trevor Pedersen followed last summer. Olsen watched both of them enough to understand what it takes to get to this level.

“It actually means a lot to me because, Connor and Trevor, I looked up to them a lot when I was younger,” Olsen said.

Anyone who has seen Olsen at the plate knows exactly where the majority of his hits go.


Allison’s home opener with Packers gone to pot

Everyone’s favorite star is taking a short break next month.

The sun is scheduled to duck out for a few hours on Aug. 21 in the United States’ first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. People will drive for hours to watch it get a little dark in the daytime for a few minutes because it’s an event that occurs so infrequently. The next one, which will hit only parts of the U.S., will occur in about seven years and after that, in another 20 years.

By that time, maybe the National Football League will have relaxed its position on marijuana as a banned substance. Or maybe more of the players will have worked out a better way to not get caught.

The latest casualty for the Green Bay Packers was wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who will miss the Sept. 10 opener against Seattle for violating the league’s drug policy.


Ski Sharks take D3 state championship

Photo by Tina Lechner The Shawano Ski Sharks show off their pyramid during a pass at the 2017 Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday. The team posted 1,129 points to win the Division 3 title.

For the third time in team history, the Shawano Ski Sharks are state champions.

The Ski Sharks beat out five other teams for the Division 3 title at the 51st annual Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships in Wisconsin Rapids last week.

“You always hope to do that well,” Shawano Ski Sharks director Dave Passehl said. “When they call your name off a number of times during the awards ceremony, you know things are looking up.”

The Ski Sharks took first place for best comedy act, most creative act, high-scoring barefoot act, high-scoring jump act, best dock crew and best boat crew, which culminated in 1,129 points and the team title.

As each award was announced, it became more and more clear that Shawano was closing in on its first state title since 2010. The Ski Sharks won their first championship in 1993.

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Passehl said. “I was so pumped.”


Shawano 9U dominates home tourney for title

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano 10U’s Pete Burette, right, slides into home plate for his third inside-the-park home run as Bonduel catcher Levi Rausch awaits the throw during this weekend’s Shawano Youth League tournament at Memorial Park. Shawano defeated Bonduel, 11-1, in the third-place game.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano 9U right fielder Logan Sipple extends in an attempt to corral a fly ball during a 9-5 victory over Wausau in the championship game on Sunday.

The Shawano 9U baseball team gave up just seven runs over five games en route to winning its home tournament at Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon.

Shawano made it through its pool outscoring opponents 48-0. It finally gave up a run in the semifinal contest, a 9-2 victory over Marinette.

The team extended its dominance, facing a Wausau team it had beaten in pool play, with a 9-5 victory to finish atop the eight-team competition.

Marinette used a 14-4 victory over Winneconne for third place.

In 10U play, the Shawano Red team also won its pool in dominating fashion, but dropped a close semifinal game to Oconto Falls, 5-4. The loss sent Shawano into the third-place game against Bonduel, which it won 11-1.

The Shawano Black team went winless in pool play, ending the tournament with an 0-3 record.

Kimberly defeated Oconto Falls in the championship game 11-5 for the 10U title.

Shawano Youth League

July 21-23


Errors add up for Clintonville in regional title loss

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Clintonville pitcher Nick Schoen and catcher Kyle Finger collide while converging for a catch during a 4-3 victory over Oconto Falls on Saturday. The Diamondcats then lost to Niagara 10-0 in six innings for the regional championship.

Clintonville simply ran out of pitching and the defense didn’t back up starter Kyle Finger, ending its regional run two wins short of the title.

Niagara used three errors in an eight-run second inning before finishing the Diamondcats off in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 10-0 Class A regional championship victory in Bonduel.

Finger, who had not pitched in three years, took the mound against the hitting-heavy Niagara offense.

“We’ve just been pounding the ball, so I hoped the momentum would carry onto this weekend, and it did,” Niagara head coach Dale Blagec said.

Nine of the first 10 batters of the inning reached base, three via errors. Micah Wilson, Joe Murvich, Hunter Kaldor and Ben Snyder each had RBI singles in the inning. Seth Polfus had a sac fly, and a stolen base added another run. Errors were responsible for scoring the remainder of the runs in the frame.


14-year-old Jayden Schmidt wins 1st feature at Shawano

Photo by A&H Photos Fourteen-year-old Jayden Schmidt won his first feature at the Shawano Speedway by taking the IMCA Sport Mods race Saturday night.

Photo by A&H Photos Ron Berna won for the second time this summer in the Late Model feature at the Shawano Speedway on Saturday.

A great crowd turned out in support of the seventh-annual Racing For a Reason at the Shawano Speedway. The event raises money for local childhood cancer charities.

On the track 14-year-old Jayden Schmidt stole the show, battling with some of the best around to win his first IMCA Sport Mod feature at Shawano. IMCA Modified rookie JJ Anderson also looked like a seasoned veteran en route to his first win in the class. Former track champion Josh Slewinski won his first Mighty Four feature of the season in a rain-shortened race, while Ron Berna (Late Model) and Dan Michonski (IMCA Stock Car) each notched their second wins of the year.

IMCA Sport Mods

Schmidt, at the young age of 14, took the lead at the drop of the green flag in the IMCA Sport Mod feature. Wyatt Block got to the inside of Schmidt on lap four and took the lead away. Block quickly began to separate himself from the rest of the field as Schmidt came under fire from Kevin Bethke and Lucas Lamberies.


BABA Roundup



WP — John Dunlavy; LP — Nick Desrochers

Clintonville: Parker Mindel went 2 for 5 with a double. John Dunlavy was 2 for 4, including a double. Kolin Kubitz batted 2 for 6 with a double. Jeremy Schoenike went 2 for 5, including a home run. Zac Riemer batted 2 for 3.

Caroline: Mike Weatherwax went 2 for 4 with a double. Conner Senzig had a double.


WP — Paul Sellner; LP — Stephen Reinke

Tigerton: Pat Provoast hit two home runs. Eric Kroening went 3 for 4 with a double and home run. Jayden Siverston batted 2 for 4 with a double. Conner Harris was 3 for 3 with a double. Hayden Harris went 2 for 5.


WP — Derrick Bowman; LP — Jared Sonnenberg

Gresham: Tom Neitzer and Nate Ejnik each went 3 for 5. Joe Ejnik and Zach Schutt each had two hits.

Marion: Ryan Mortensen was 2 for 4.



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