Stratford sends a fourth team to state this year
By Hub City Times staff
CRANDON – The Stratford Tigers baseball team is going back to the state baseball tournament for the first time in 30 years, making it the fourth Stratford sports team to make state competition this school year.
The Tigers won their Division 3 sectional at Crandon on June 4 to qualify for the WIAA State Baseball Tournament June 11-13 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton. The Tigers last qualified for the state tournament when they lost a Class C contest in 1989, their only other state tournament appearance until now.
The Tigers won their sectional semi-final contest, defeating Iola-Scandinavia 3-2. The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings, before the Thunderbirds scored twice in the top of the fourth inning. Stratford starting pitcher Lance Heidmann kept the Thunderbirds in check after surrendering those two runs, before Chandler Schmidt picked up the save in the seventh inning. Heidmann got the win in six innings of work, giving up two runs on just four hits while walking only one batter and striking out four. Dawson Moen led the Tiger offense with two singles and an RBI.
In the sectional final, Stratford beat Menasha-St. Mary 4-3. After three scoreless innings, both teams put a run on the board in the fourth, before the Tigers took a 3-1 lead with two runs in their half of the fifth inning. The Zephyrs tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, before the Tigers put another run on the board in their half of that inning.
Heidmann pitched a scoreless seventh to secure the win and pick up the save. Moen got the win by getting the Tiger defense through the sixth inning, after Schmidt started the game and gave up three runs over five-plus innings of work. Devyn Palmer led the Stratford offense with two doubles and an RBI. Eli Drexler and Riley Bauman drove in runs as well.
The Tigers improved their record to 20-2, and earned the right to face Boyceville in a Division 3 semifinal at 1 p.m. on June 12.
The Tiger baseball team became the fourth Stratford sports program to qualify for state competition during the 2018-19 school year. The Tiger volleyball team lost its D-3 title match to Lake Country Lutheran on Nov. 3, after defeating Living Word Lutheran in the state semifinal round on Nov. 2. The Tiger football team lost a D-5 championship game to Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs 20-17 on Nov. 15 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. On March 2, the Stratford wrestling team lost its state championship match to Fennimore 31-24, after defeating Random Lake 41-24 in the state semifinal round. Later that month, the Stratford boys basketball team narrowly missed qualifying for the state tournament by losing a D-3 sectional semifinal game to Wisconsin Dells on March 7 in Stevens Point, in what was their only loss of the season.