Baseball Around the Horn: Featuring Head Coach Jeff Ryan’s 400th win

By Joe Peine
Posted 4/17/24

The Prescott Cardinals baseball team improved to 5-0 this week, winning three straight and securing Head Coach Jeff Ryan’s 400 th career victory.

It was a big week for Cardinals baseball …

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Baseball Around the Horn: Featuring Head Coach Jeff Ryan’s 400th win


The Prescott Cardinals baseball team improved to 5-0 this week, winning three straight and securing Head Coach Jeff Ryan’s 400th career victory.

It was a big week for Cardinals baseball but an even bigger week for the program as Ryan earned his 400th career win as skipper. Already a Wisconsin Coaches Hall of Fame alumni, Ryan says he’s had a lot of help along the way.

“I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a lot of great players in my 25 years as head coach - 26 if you count the no season Covid year - and have had very, very loyal and committed Assistant Coaches in Brad Matzek who has been with the program for 27 years and Duane Miller who has been here for 20 years,” Ryan said. “Also, I was extremely fortunate to work for nine years as an assistant under Hall of Fame Coach Steve Block. His knowledge and incredible attention to detail gave me an opportunity to learn from one of the best.” 

In total, there have only been 22 coaches in Wisconsin Baseball History that have won 400+ games, and now Ryan is one of them.

After defeating the Somerset Spartans in back-to-back games, once at home on Tuesday 3-2 and once on the road on Thursday 6-2, they moved on to defeating the St. Croix Falls Saints 13-6 in an away game on Saturday which became Ryan’s 400th win. This achievement came on the back of a monster statistical performance from the Cardinals against the Saints where they recorded 13 runs on 11 hits, eight walks and no errors.

Mason Schommer led the way with two doubles, three runs, two RBI, two walks and a stolen base. Barrett Temmers and Cole Platson also had multi-hit games and swiped a bag, while Cullen Huppert reached base four times on three walks, a single and two runs. Platson also helped the Cardinals on the mound, pitching five shutout innings, albeit with some control issues as he allowed five walks to go with five hits.

Other notable pitching performances this week include Drew Pechacek’s four innings of one-run ball and Max Monteith’s three innings of one-hit ball on Thursday. Additionally, Huppert threw a masterful game on Tuesday, only allowing two unearned runs on two hits and two walks to go along with a whopping 10 strikeouts over six innings of work.

Next up for the Cardinals is a three-game week beginning with back-to-back Middle Border Conference games against the St. Croix Central Panthers. The first of these comes on Tuesday at home in Prescott, and the second is on Thursday in Hammond, both at 5 p.m. The last game of the week is at Mondovi on Saturday at 1 p.m.


The Ellsworth Panthers went 2-2 last week, beating Alma-Pepin at home 8-0, losing to the Altoona Railroaders on Tuesday and Thursday 11-0 and 9-8, and then finally defeating the Otters in Luck on Friday 16-6.

It was a jam-packed week of baseball for the Panthers who won both of their non-conference games but lost both Middle Border tilts against the Railroaders.

Ellsworth’s week started well behind seven shutout innings from Jack Stoltenburg to go along with just five hits and one walk allowed and seven strikeouts. He also went 2-3 with a walk at the dish.

Riley Maher also had a big game going 3-3 with a pair of doubles paired with three RBI and a run scored. Gavin Kilos also made a solid contribution with an RBI single, a run scored, a walk and a stolen base.

Things got away from the Panthers early in their game against Altoona as they gave up five runs in the first inning and gave up two more in each of the next three innings as they got routed 11-0. Ellsworth bounced back in game two of the split double header though as they rallied late to score five runs in the sixth; however, even though they outhit the Railroaders 12-9, they just couldn’t get over the hump as they fell 9-8.

The last game of the week was the big one and it’s one that the Panthers hope will build momentum going into next week. Ellsworth tallied five multi-hit innings in this one including Kilos and Stoltenburg’s 3-4 outings and Derek Johnsons 4-6 day. Johnson also recorded the team’s only extra base hit with a double and also recorded a pair of steals.

In total, the Panthers had 32 batters reach base with 19 hits and 13 walks to only five strikeouts.

Next up for Ellsworth is a pair of Middle Border games against Amery, first at home on Tuesday and then on the road on Thursday. They then finish the week with a home game against Unity on Friday. All Panthers games this week are at 5 p.m.

Spring Valley

The Spring Valley Cardinals went 2-1 in their games this week, defeating Colfax 7-6 on Monday at home and Glenwood City on the road 11-5 on Thursday but losing to Somerset on Friday at home 19-9.

Colfax got off to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Monday, but Spring Valley came back to score one in the bottom of the frame, two more in the next one and another one in the third to make it 4-2. The Vikings would rally late, taking the lead in the top of the seventh, but the bottom of the inning will be one to remember.

Trailing by a run, the Cardinals struck out and flew out to start the final frame. Down to their last out, Diego Schmitt answered the call for the red birds, delivering a two out double on a line drive to right field. Caleb Bartko then drew a walk to put two on and two out for Trevor Forster. Schmitt and Bartko then successfully completed the double-steal, and Colfax decided it was in their best interest to intentionally walk Forster.

Thus, with the bases loaded, two outs and the game on the line, starting pitcher JT Bauer stepped up to the plate. Schmitt proceeded to score on a passed ball, and Bartko and Forster each advanced. Bauer then worked the count to 3-0 and took the first strike looking but not the second one, delivering a single on a line drive to center field to score Bartko and take the walk-off win in dramatic fashion.

Riding that high, they made easy work out of the Hilltoppers on Thursday, beating them 11-5. Thus, with two good wins, including one definitive Dunn-St. Croix victory, under their belt earlier in the week, Friday’s 19-9 non-conference loss to Somerset can be more easily forgotten.

On deck for the Cardinals is a home game against Elk Mound on Thursday and an away game against Mondovi on Monday. First pitch for both games is at 5 p.m.


The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves went 1-2 in their games last week, first losing to Durand-Arkansaw on Monday 3-1 and then beating Cadott on Tuesday 6-5, both at home, and then finally falling to Mondovi on the road on Thursday 8-0.

Brett Lifto was given the loss on Monday, but he pitched a solid game, earning a quality start by pitching six innings of three-run ball while racking up 10 strikeouts. He only allowed five baserunners on three hits and two walks while throwing 94 pitches, and his ERA now sits at a very respectable 3.50. He also helped his own cause at the dish as he knocked in the Wolves’ lone run on the day.

Blake Allen and Lucas Glaus also had good games for the Wolves in that tight loss, with Glaus going 3-4 and Allen going 2-3 with a walk.

The Wolves secured their first win of the season on Tuesday in Cadott, winning the one-run game. In every season, the success of a team is closely tied to winning those tight games, and if the Wolves can continue to punch in runs when they need them the most, the random 8-0 losses won’t matter as much.

Looking ahead, Elmwood-Plum City has three games on deck for this week, all of which will come at home. First up is Colfax on Monday and then Boyceville on Thursday, both at 5 p.m, and this will wrap up their Dunn-St. Croix play for the week. The Wolves’ final game of the week will come when they host Washburn on Saturday at 11 a.m.

River Falls

The River Falls Wildcats went 2-1 this week, beating Chippewa Falls at home on Tuesday 8-7 then losing to them on the road on Thursday 5-4 before returning to First National Bank of River Falls Field for a 12-5 route of Saint Croix Central.

It was a pair of tight games against Chip this week, with both being decided by one run, eventually.

Tuesday’s game looked like it was over with Chippewa Falls leading the Wildcats 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning. In fact, that frame started with two straight strikeouts leaving River Falls down to their final out.

Ty Manninen then managed to work himself into a 3-0 count and got the green light and reached base by legging out an infield single. Bryce Bevan then took the first pitch, putting the ball on the ground and almost to the exact same place, and the Cardinals’ shortstop again couldn’t make the play. This became the theme as Ben Johnson became the third straight batter to single on a ground ball towards the shortstop and loading the bases.

McQuade broke the streak by taking a 0-1 pitch to center fields, driving in two runs. Cayden Mueller then stepped up to the plate for the Wildcats and did exactly what they needed him to by homering on a pop fly to deep left field, scoring three, tying the game at 7-all and sending the game into extras.

Manninen got the call to pitch the eighth inning, allowing just one hit and striking out two.

The bottom of the frame started with perhaps the rarest hit in baseball when Olson tripled to right field. A ground out and a hit by pitch followed, putting two on, one out and a man in scoring position for Manninen. He took the first pitch for a ball, and then the game ended in sudden and dramatic fashion when the Cardinals’ pitcher balked, advancing all runners one base including Olson, who scored from third ending the game on what can only be called a “balk-off win.”

Next up for the Wildcats is a two-game slate against Eau Claire Memorial. River Falls goes on the road for the first game on Tuesday and then returns home to host them on Thursday. Both of those games are at 4:30 p.m.

Prescott Cardinals, Jeff Ryan, 400th win, Ellsworth Panthers, Spring Valley Cardinals, EPC Wolves, River Falls Wildcats, boys baseball