Wausaukee coach Paul Moser and the rest of Division 4 sectional champion players celebrate after beating Rib Lake to advance to the state tournament, to begin June 12 at Fox Cities Stadium.  EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Wausaukee coach Paul Moser and the rest of Division 4 sectional champion players celebrate after beating Rib Lake to advance to the state tournament, to begin June 12 at Fox Cities Stadium.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts
TIGERTON, WI - A sea of red and white infiltrated the grandstands and the baseball field in Tigerton on Tuesday.

In what can only be described as a dream come true with no script that can be written, the Wausaukee Ranger baseball team, guided by pitching and grit, ripped the hearts out of Three Lakes and Rib Lake to earn a trip to the WIAA Division 4 State Tournament next Wednesday.

Wausaukee's victories, which were 2-0 over Three Lakes and 10-0 in five innings over Rib Lake in the sectional final, continued a postseason to remember.

In four postseason games, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 34-0 while only committing one error.

"Pitching and our defense have been the key to our success," Ranger first-basemen Dillon Meyers said. "This is a hard-working group that never gives up. I'm so proud of this team right now."

After Rib Lake upset Rosholt at 11 a.m., the Rangers played a familiar Three Lakes team that had beaten them earlier in the season.

In the bottom of the first, Eddy Self propelled the Wausaukee attack, leading off the inning with an inside-the-park home run to put the Rangers up 1-0.

That was more than enough of a cushion for pitcher Beau DeLaet.

After DeLaet allowed the first two runners to reach base, though each was thrown out trying to steal second, he settled in and mowed through the Blue Jays lineup, allowing only three hits over the next six innings while punching out nine batters and not allowing anyone to reach past second base.

"Beau threw strikes and made good pitches," Wausaukee coach Paul Moser said. "Our defense was solid behind him. A very good game all-around."

The Ranger bats added an insurance run in the six inning as Aaron Schlies roped a two-out single, stole second and was driven home on a single up the middle by Cole Lewandowski.

In the second game, Wausaukee faced the Redmen, who were riding high after upsetting heavily favored Rosholt.

After scoring just two runs in the first game, Wausaukee's bats would be silenced no more.

Self led off the game with an infield single, DeLaet placed a perfect bunt between the pitcher and third and beat out the throw and Schlies drew a walk to load the bases.

A groundout to the pitcher caused the first out, but Brennan Gabriel came through with a suicide squeeze to bring in DeLaet for the first run. Russell Smith followed with a two-run double to left-center and Zach Struve added an RBI single to right to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.

"In our last four games, we've scored in the first inning and it really has put the pressure on our opponents," Meyers said.

In the second inning, three more Ranger runs crossed the plate on RBI singles by Schlies and Gabriel and a laser run-scoring double by Smith.

With the wind and rain bearing down on the players, Wausaukee found itself in its first jam of the day in the bottom of the second.

After a walk and a 6-4-3 double play, Schlies, who started on the mound for the Rangers, loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batsmen.

On a 2-0 count, Schlies overthrew DeLaet behind the backstop. Jerry Reinhardt of Rib Lake tried advancing to home on the play, but was thrown out.

The Rangers found themselves in another jam the following inning. Schlies loaded the bases once again, this time with one out before Moser put in Cole Lewandowski to get out of the jam.

Lewandowski's first pitch was as good as it gets, forcing a grounder right back to the mound which started a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.

"That was big for us," Lewandowski said. "It was such a good feeling to throw one pitch and get out of the inning."

Lewandowski added one final blow in the fourth. With DeLaet on first, Lewandowski sent a towering drive to dead-center over the fence to extend Wausaukee's lead to 9-0.

After another run scored, Lewandowski worked nearly flawless fourth and fifth innings to send Wausaukee to its first state tournament since 1999.

"Words don't describe how good this feels," Lewandowski said. "We've been working so hard to get here and we've finally achieved it. The season is still far from over."

The Rangers' stellar arsenal of pitching and hitting will face off against Greenwood next Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton in a Division 4 state semifinal.

"This team just wants to win and motivates everyone to be better," Moser said. "I might be a little biased saying this, but I don't think there is a team out there that works harder than this group."

Game One:
WP - Beau DeLaet 7IP, 0R, 4H, 9K, 2W
LP - Michael LaGaldo 6IP, 2R, 4H, 5K, 1W
Leading Hitters (Wausaukee): Eddy Self 1x2, HR; Zach Struve 1x2; (Three Lakes): Riley Liebscher 2x3
Wausaukee 100 001 x - 2
Three Lakes 000 000 0 - 0

Game Two:
WP - Aaron Schlies 2 1/3IP, 0R, 2H, 1K, 2W
LP - Brian Solic 2IP, 7R, 8H, 0K, 0W
Leading Hitters (Wausaukee): Russel Smith 2x3, 2 2B, 3RBI; Schlies 2x3, 2B; Beau DeLaet 2x3, 2B; Cole Lewandowski 1x3, HR; (Rib Lake): Zack Butera 1x2
Wausaukee 430 30 - 10
Rib Lake 000 00 - 0