Posted on

View from the cheap seats

View from the cheap seats View from the cheap seats

A weekly perspective on sports

Casey Krautkramer Reporter The Record-Review

I had an opportunity to meet high school varsity basketball referee Al Ashbeck of Marshfield, following the Pittsville versus Athens WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal game on Friday. I still remember him refereeing my Marathon High School varsity boys basketball games in the mid 1990s.

The previous night, I saw Al refereeing the WIAA Division 5 girls basketball game between Edgar and Wausau Newman in the Mosinee High School gym. He was a member of the referee crew on Thursday that included my uncle, Andy Krautkramer, and Randy Rasmussen, both of Marathon.

Al told me the WIAA has him listed as being a basketball referee for the past 42 years, but he thinks it missed a few years along the way. He told me he started refereeing basketball games in 1974, but he first began refereeing high school varsity games in 1977 which is one year before I was born.

He told me he’s refereed at six girls and three boys state tournaments over the years. Al just returned home from a trip to Arizona to watch his son, Elliot Ashbeck, pitch for the MLB’s San Diego Padres in spring training camp. Elliott received an invite to the big league spring training camp this year, but he’ll return to pitching in the San Diego Padres’ minor league system after spring training ends.

Elliott, 26, played baseball for Marshfi eld High School and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. The Padres drafted him in the 16th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft. He is a righthanded relief and starting pitcher in the minor leagues, and he bats left.

Al told me his son could effectively throw all four major pitches including the fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Elliott split time during the 2019 baseball season pitching for the double A Amarillo Sod Poodles in the Texas League, A plus Lake Elsinore Storm in the California League and fall ball for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.

I met Tom Stewart and his son, Jordan Stewart, while on my Saturday morning walk from the South Union parking ramp in Madison to the UW Fieldhouse to cover the Stratford wrestling team’s WIAA state semifinal match against Fennimore.

Tom told me he now lives in Reedsburg, but he used to live in Abbotsford. He was the Abby/Colby varsity head wrestling coach in the WIAA, before he coached the Marshfield Columbus wrestling team in the WISAA. Marshfi eld Columbus of course no longer has football and wrestling teams; the private school today co-ops with Spencer High School for these sports.