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Pirates’ upset bid crumbles in the 5th


Gilman had a major upset within its grasp late in Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 regional opener, but a five-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning dashed those thoughts and sent sixth-seeded Mc-Donell Central to a 6-3 victory over the 11th-seeded Pirates at Casper Park in Chippewa Falls.

Thanks to a pair of run-scoring doubles early in the game, Gilman held a 2-1 lead behind a solid outing from lefthanded starter Dawson Grunseth. After allowing a tying run in the bottom of the first, he and the Gilman defense kept McDonell off the board in the next three frames, including a three-up, three-down fourth.

But with one out in the fifth, the game turned in McDonell’s favor. A base hit by the number-nine hitter David Anderson and two stolen bases led to Eddie Mittermeyer’s game-tying single. Mittermeyer stole two bases and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Cael Holm and Aidan Misfelt walked, setting up an RBI single by Carter Stelter and a sacrifice fly by Keagan Galvez made it 6-2.

The Pirates put up one last threat in the seventh. Grady Kroeplin and Dalton Wisocky led off the inning with singles and Brayden Olynick drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Kroeplin scored on a passed ball, but Gilman wasn’t able to get the key hit to move the rest of the runners around.

The Pirates did get a couple of key hits early. Kroeplin singled with one out in the first and scored on Joey Syryczuk’s two-out double off Misfeldt, who threw 6.1 innings for the Macks. Mittermeyer doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on an error to tie it.

But Gilman came right back in the top of the second. Alex Copenhaver walked with one out, Grunseth singled with two outs and leadoff hitter Anthony Syryczuk doubled to left to drive in a run and make it 2-1. Misfeldt got Kroeplin to ground out to third, preventing even more damage.

Gilman outhit the Macks 10-7. Anthony Syryczuk, Kroeplin and Joey Syryczuk were all two for four and Grunseth was two for three. Misfeldt, however, got 10 strikeouts to help minimize the damage Gilman did with those hits. He walked three. Stelter got the last two outs to end the game, including a strikeout.

Grunseth threw all six innings for Gilman. He struck out three and walked two.

Gilman ended its first stand-alone varsity season since 2019 at 3-11 under head coach Dave Kroeplin. McDonell improved to 5-10 at the time and advanced to a Tuesday regional semifinal at thirdseeded Owen-Withee, which it won 8-4.