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RIB LAKE BASEBALL - Bats return to life as Redmen clinch title, rally for a big win

Bats return to life as Redmen clinch title, rally for a big win
Rib Lake’s Dominic Quednow throws a fastball during the opening inning of his solid start against Stratford Friday. Quednow gave up no earned runs in five innings, but the Redmen fell to the Tigers 7-0. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS
Bats return to life as Redmen clinch title, rally for a big win
Rib Lake’s Dominic Quednow throws a fastball during the opening inning of his solid start against Stratford Friday. Quednow gave up no earned runs in five innings, but the Redmen fell to the Tigers 7-0. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS




A conference championship was there for the taking Thursday and the Rib Lake baseball team made sure it didn’t get away.

The Redmen dominated a Marawood North doubleheader with Chequamegon, sweeping the Screaming Eagles 16-1 and 10-0 to finish league play at 9-1. About 25 miles to the south, Abbotsford-Colby swept Phillips 10-0 and 13-1 to also finish 9-1 and share the North title with Rib Lake.

For Rib Lake, it’s the first Marawood North title since it shared the 2021 title with Abbotsford-Colby and Athens. Abbotsford-Colby has won or shared the last three conference titles.

“At the beginning of the year, everybody was pretty much handing the conference to Abby-Colby,” Rib Lake head coach Dick Iverson said. “But I knew the last couple years we had played pretty well against them. Along the way a bad inning or so would do us in. But I felt we had enough pitching depth to compete with them. We played pretty well in the first game against them (a 6-4 win) and the second game was good for awhile (an 11-3 loss). The kids were pretty happy.”

Game two of Thursday’s sweep featured a five-inning no-hitter thrown by Jackson Blomberg, who is 6-0 this season with a 0.77 earned run average. Chequamegon’s first batter, Corbyn Phelps, reached on an error, but two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice later, the Redmen were out of the inning and no Screaming Eagle reached base after that.

Offensively, Rib Lake scored twice in the first as singles by Andrew Wudi and Blomberg set up Ethan Cook’s two-run double. The Redmen broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth and four more in the bottom of the fifth to end it.

The fourth-inning damage came with two outs. Walks loaded the bases. Talon Scheithauer also drew a walk to force in a run, Wudi hit a two-run single and Blomberg’s base hit drove in another to make it 6-0.

In the fifth, Seth Borchardt and Donovan Sutherland had run-scoring singles, Scheithauer hit a sacrifice fly and Blomberg’s single capped a four-for-four outing on top of his no-hitter and drove in Tyler Matyka with the clinching 10th run.

Wudi and Borchardt both went two for three. Blomberg struck out five hitters.

Playing as the guests in game one, the Redmen fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but it could have been worse. The Screaming Eagles started the game with three straight hits, but Phelps got caught rounding too far past third base for the first out. After a walk loaded the bases, a fly ball hit by Isaiah Bourgard wasn’t deep enough to score a run. Antonio Poetzl’s hit did score a run, but Scheithauer struck out Jeffrey Bourgard to end the inning and Chequamegon did not threaten again.

Rib Lake, on the other hand, started hitting in the top of the second inning and did not stop while piling up its 16 runs.

“We hit the ball well all day,” Iverson said. “We pitched well and played great defense. The only error we had was in the first in game two. Once we got out of the jam (in game one) we calmed down and we were fine. We played really well the rest of the day. Jackson was pretty much unhittable (in game two).”

Wudi drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk and then Blomberg was hit by a pitch to cap a three-run top of the second. Scheithauer drew a bases-loaded walk in the third.

Blomberg reached on an error, stole second and scored on Cook’s single in the fourth. Matyka’s hit scored Cook to make it 6-1. Wudi singled to lead off the fifth, stole second and scored on Blomberg’s double. After Cook walked, Quednow laced a tworun triple and he scored on Brady Heiser’s hit to make it 10-1.

A six-run sixth closed it out. It included RBI singles from Cook and Quednow and an RBI double from Heiser.

Rib Lake had 16 hits. Quednow was four for five with three runs driven in and three runs scored. Heiser was three for four with two runs scored and two driven in. Cook, Borchardt and Matyka had two hits each.

Scheithauer got the win. In five innings, he allowed five hits, struck out three. He walked a batter and hit one. Wudi pitched a scoreless sixth with a strikeout.

“We played a pretty good schedule,” Iverson said of Rib Lake’s title run. The Redmen stand at 14-4 overall after Monday’s win at Marathon. “We played Marathon twice, Stratford, De Soto had a good team at the start of the year, Auburndale and we saw Northland Pines’ number-one pitcher. We played a pretty tough non-conference schedule, that’s for sure. Our kids played pretty well. We stayed consistent with our pitching and defense. Offensively it’s going to come down to putting the ball in play.”

Rib Lake 8, Marathon 7

The Redmen got one of their most thrilling wins of the season Monday, rallying from a 7-1 deficit to beat host Marathon 8-7 in non-conference play.

Rib Lake struggled at times earlier this month hitting with runners in scoring position, but the Redmen made things happen late in Monday’s game, scoring three in the sixth and four in the seventh.

The sixth-inning rally started with Wudi’s infield single off new pitcher Blake Underwood. Blomberg and Cook blooped singles to load the bases. Quednow’s sacrifice fly was followed by a walk to Heiser to re-load the bases and Borchardt’s bouncer found its way through the right side to score two.

Facing another new pitcher, Cody Radtke, in the seventh, Aiden Stapleton led off by getting plunked and Scheithauer and Wudi singled to drive in the first run of the inning. Blomberg’s double to left-center made it a one-run game. With one out, Quednow pulled a single to right, getting it by Marathon’s 6-10 first baseman Grant Warren to tie the game. With Marathon playing its middle infield at double-play depth, Heiser’s bouncer to short was hit too slowly to turn two and it drove in the go-ahead run.

Blomberg came on for the save in the bottom half and got into some trouble with a single, a walk and an error loading the bases with one out. But he got Blake Underwood to fly out to very shallow right and struck out Evan DeBroux to end it.

Scheithauer singled, stole second and scored on Blomberg’s single to start the game, but Marathon starter Tyler Underwood held Rib Lake scoreless after that, while getting through five innings.

Scheithauer went five innings, but it was an off night for him as he walked five and allowed seven hits and seven runs, five of which were earned. Wudi allowed two hits and a walk in the sixth, but got an infield fly and a fly out to Quednow in center to escape that bases-loaded jam.

Blomberg was three for four, while Borchardt, Wudi and Scheithauer had two hits apiece.

Stratford 7, Rib Lake 0

On Friday, Stratford scored two unearned runs in the first inning and then scored five runs late in the sixth to secure a 7-0 win at Rib Lake.

Stratford, who tied Marathon for the Marawood South championship, got a combined four-hit shutout from Drew Gage and Brady Berg. Rib Lake had some opportunities but couldn’t cash in.

Quednow took an undeserved loss for Rib Lake. Stratford got the two unearned runs against him in the first, which was interrupted by about a 40-minute rain delay, but then he shut the Tigers down. He went five innings, striking out three and walking one. He allowed five hits.

The game’s big momentum turn took place in the fifth and sixth innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Rib Lake loaded the bases with one out and didn’t score. That seemed to deflate the Redmen, Iverson said, as Stratford greeted Borchardt with three hits after three walks in the top of the sixth.

Rib Lake also had runners on second and third in the second and didn’t score. Cook hit a leadoff double in the sixth and didn’t score.

Scheithauer, Cook, Heiser and Sutherland had Rib Lake’s hits.

“Overall it was a pretty good high school game,” Iverson said. “The score probably doesn’t really indicate how close of a game it was. It should have been 0-0 going into the sixth or we probably should have actually been in the lead.”

Rib Lake first baseman Brady Heiser puts a late tag on a Stratford Tiger Friday. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS