Nutz Deep U16 team sweeps U17 Legion tourney
For Hub City Times
OSHKOSH – The Nutz Deep “Pride” 16-year-old baseball team went 5-0, en route to win a 17-year-old Junior American Legion baseball tournament, June 21-23, held at Peppler Field and JJ Keller Field in Oshkosh.
The Pride team defeated Green Bay Post No. 11, made up mostly of WIAA Division 1 State Qualifier Green Bay Preble, 9-0, in a complete game two hitter thrown by Neillsville pitcher, Braden Trunkel.
Pride then downed a quality De Pere team, 6-2, behind another Neillsville hurler Carson Opelt, who held the opponent 17-year-olds to two earned runs. Pride then handed a previously unbeaten Hartland team a 9-3 defeat behind Marshfield Sophomore Simon Slade, who surrendered two earned runs over six innings.
Stratford’s Cam Daul finished the game for the Nutz Deep boys pitching a scoreless seventh. Athens Dayne Diethelm led his team into the championship round by throwing a complete-game shutout against a mixture of Junior and Senior legion players for the host team Oshkosh.
That win put Pride, the only undefeated team remaining, into the championship game against De Pere, who made its way back through the losers’ bracket. De Pere took the Pride boys to 10 innings, until Neillsville second baseman, Jonah Zoschke, laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Stratford’s Kale Weisenberger.
Weisenberger pitched the first the first seven innings, giving up all three runs in the first two before bearing down and shutting down the foe.
“This was a great challenge for us to open the season,” Coach Tim Kraus said. “When you play so many games in just three days, you need your pitchers to step up and perform at a high level. We only had 13 strikeouts in five games, which is good, but this group of kids are hitters, we just hit it hard where their defense was way too often. That’ll come.”
The Pride team is made up of players from Athens, Marshfield, Neillsville, Pittsville, Spencer, and Stratford.
“These guys are like brothers. Both on the field and off. There are good things ahead for these young men,” Kraus added.
Pride is off until July, when the team will play in the Wisconsin Rapids Junior Legion Tournament. They then travel to a Mid-West Invitational Tournament in Bettendorf, IA, the following weekend.
Pride, which is not an American Legion affiliated team, was invited to the tournament because of showings it has made last year in different “Prospect Level” competition.