Baseball Around the Horn

Prescott crushes Panthers in 2-game series

RF goes 3-0 on the week; SV, EPC tally 2 losses

By Joe Peine
Posted 5/22/24

The Prescott Cardinals and the Ellsworth Panthers played a split series this week with Prescott winning game one 8-0 on Tuesday and winning game two 13-3.

It was a tough pair of conference …

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Baseball Around the Horn

Prescott crushes Panthers in 2-game series

RF goes 3-0 on the week; SV, EPC tally 2 losses


The Prescott Cardinals and the Ellsworth Panthers played a split series this week with Prescott winning game one 8-0 on Tuesday and winning game two 13-3.

It was a tough pair of conference losses for the Panthers but two that Prescott needed to maintain an outside chance at splitting a Middle Border Conference Championship with Saint Croix Central.

While the Cardinals scored eight runs off Jack Stoltenburg in game one, only four of them were earned as the Panther defense committed five errors on the day.

As the home team’s starting pitcher, Cardinal Dain Pechacek got the ball first, and he made quick work of the top of the first, inducing two pop outs and finishing things off with a four-pitch strikeout. Stoltenburg likewise sat Prescott down in order to end a scoreless frame.

The second inning saw Pechacek retiring the side 1, 2, 3 once again, but the bottom is when the parade of errors began for Ellsworth.

Cullen Huppert reached on an infield grounder that wasn’t fielded cleanly, Pechacek singled and then another infield error allowed Cole Platson to reach and Huppert to score, making it 1-0. Monteith singled two pitches later, making it 2-0. Barrett Temmers reached two batters later on a pop fly error to the outfield, scoring a third run, and Nolan Thomley singled to make it a four-run advantage going into the third inning.

Two more errors in the third inning resulted in two more Cardinal runs, making it 6-0, but the Panthers’ defense tightened up after that, playing clean ball and allowing just two more runs the rest of the way.

Ellsworth just couldn’t get anything going in this one, recording just three total baserunners in the loss. Stoltenburg’s final line was 4.2 innings pitched, nine hits, one walk, four earned runs and one strikeout.

For Prescott, Pechacek pitched a complete game, earning the victory while allowing just two hits and one walk to go with eight strikeouts. He was aided in his effort in large part by himself as he also went 3-4 on the day with a pair of doubles and scoring three runs in the process. Thomley and Monteith each had multi-hit performances, and Temmers reached base three times as well, although two of them were of the inauspicious hit-by-pitch variety.

Even though the Cardinals won all three of their games this week and advanced to 10-3 in the Middle Border on the season, just two games back of the Saint Croix Central Panthers, they needed Ellsworth to beat SCC to close the gap on Saturday. Unfortunately for both teams, Ellsworth fell to those Panthers 2-0, thus eliminating Prescott from contention and ceding the title to Saint Croix Central.

With regionals on deck, Prescott earned the #2 seed going into the playoffs, earning a first-round bye. Thus, they will get a break from competition this week as they wait for the winners of round one to be determined. Their postseason will begin next Tuesday when they host the winner of Somerset and West Salem at 5 p.m. at Firehall Field.

Ellsworth, on the other hand, has a normal week of play ahead with one non-conference game on Tuesday when they travel to Cadott. They begin the postseason when they return home on Thursday to host Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in round one of the regional tournament. If they win, they will travel to Hammond to play St. Croix Central on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

River Falls

The River Falls Wildcats defeated the Eau Claire North Huskies twice this week in a split series, 5-3 on Tuesday and 4-0 on Thursday, and they also beat Altoona in a non-conference home game on Friday, 11-4. The Wildcats played excellent baseball this week, going 3-0 as they look to finish the Big Rivers Conference season on roll.

River Falls got the lead early in game one, putting up three in the bottom of the second.

Cayden Mueller led off the frame getting plunked on a 2-2 ball, but two quick outs later, he was still standing at first base. The Wildcats were down to their last strike as Chase Rudolph worked the count full and eventually singled to keep the line moving. This brought Henry Zimmerman to the plate who homered on the very next pitch, scoring three and putting River Falls firmly in the driver’s seat.

Eau Claire would get two of those runs back in the top of the fourth, but River Falls answered with one in the fifth and another in the sixth, eventually winning by two at 5-3.

Auden Pankonin struggled with control in this one, issuing five walks, but he ultimately limited the damage to just two runs over five innings and struck out seven.

With only six total baserunners on the day, the Wildcats efficiently put up five runs and took home the victory. Zimmerman only got two ABs while batting out of the #8 spot in the lineup, but he did much of the heavy lifting, going 1-1 with a homerun, two runs scored, three RBIs and a walk. Mueller also had a productive day, going 1-2 with two runs scored and a stolen base.

Mueller spun a gem in River Falls’ second game against the Huskies, pitching a seven-inning shutout while only allowing four hits, two walks and striking out six. The bats weren’t exactly lively in this performance with just four hits on the day; they did enough to score the runs they needed to take home the victory. Chase McQuade’s two-hit day including an RBI double and a walk led the way at the plate.

Looking ahead, the Wildcats will play a pair of games against the Menomonie Mustangs this week, first going on the road on Tuesday and then returning home on Thursday. They will also get a non-conference game in on Friday night when they host Holmen at First National Bank of River Falls Field. All River Falls’ games will begin at 5 p.m. this week.

Spring Valley

The Spring Valley Cardinals lost two games this week, first to the Colfax Vikings on Tuesday 6-4 and to the Mondovi Buffalos on Thursday 11-2.

Game one started off well for the Cardinals, as they put up two runs right away in the top of the first as the away team.

Cade Stasiek drew a walk to start the game, batting out of the leadoff position, and then proceeded to steal both second and third base. Diego Schmitt would get aboard on an error two batters later, scoring Stasiek in the process. Schmitt then stole second and advanced to home with some opportunistic base running after the Vikings’ starter threw a pair of wild pitches.

Trevor Forster and Wyatt Goveronski would each single, but the Cardinals wouldn’t get anymore, taking a two-run lead into the bottom of the frame. Stasiek would get on base again in the second, this time on a single, and he would steal his third base of the game one pitch later. Kaden Robelia knocked him in with a single, and they led 3-0 after one and a half.

Will Biggs got the nod in this one, and he pitched a pair of clean innings to start the game. Unfortunately, the Vikings got to him on a two-out rally in the third, plating four and taking the lead.

The Cardinals got one back in the fifth to tie it up after Caleb Bartko got things started with a double and eventually scored on a Goveronski RBI, but the Vikings added on two more of their own in the bottom of the frame, bringing the final score to 6-4.

Robelia, Forster and Goveronski all had multi-hit days, and the Cardinals were very active on the base paths as well. In addition to Stasiek’s three swiped bags, Robelia had two and Schmitt had one.

It was a pair of Dunn-St. Croix losses for the Cardinals who are officially out of contention for the conference championship at 6-8 on the season, making the remaining games on their schedule important only for seeding purposes and for players to get their reps before the postseason.

Next up for the Cardinals is the Division 3 regionals. They drew the seven-seed and will host Clear Lake on Thursday in round one at 5 p.m. Should they win, they will travel to Flambeau on Tuesday for round two.

Elmwood-Plum City

The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves lost a pair of games this week, first to Alma-Pepin on Tuesday 5-3 and then to Glenwood City on Thursday 16-6.

In their final two games before the postseason, the Wolves finished by playing some competitive baseball in game one and being routed in game two.

After allowing one run in the first and two in the second to Alma-Pepin on Tuesday, the Wolves turned to Brett Lifto who completely shut them down over the middle innings of the game. Meanwhile, the bats started to come alive in the middle innings.

First, in the third, a Lifto double scored Blake Allen, then an Ari Perez single scored Nick DeLong in the fourth and finally, Lifto scored on a passed ball in the fifth to tie the game. Unfortunately for Wolves fans, that would be all they would get, and Alma-Pepin would score two more runs in the final innings and take the 5-3 win.

The top of the lineup had a great day at the plate, with the one, two and three hitters in Lucas Glaus, Allen and Lifto all having multi-hit performances. Lifto also tacked on a double while Allen added two swiped bags to his resume.

Despite the score, game two was closer than it looked too. The Wolves gave up six runs over the first three innings, but they rallied to put up four of their own over the next three. The game only really got out of hand in the final two innings when the Hilltoppers scored eight runs to put the game firmly out of reach for EPC.

The Wolves played clean defense in this one, with only one error charged on the day.

Glaus had a nice day in the leadoff spot, going 2-4 with a triple, two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base. Lifto also filled out the box score nicely with a double, a run scored and a stolen base as well. The bottom part of the lineup contributed in a big way with four of their six runs coming from the seven, eight and nine spots manned by Dylan Zielinger, Brewer Link, Perez and pinch hitter Jack Bechel.

Next up for the Wolves is their last regular season game of the year when they travel to Durand-Arkansaw on Tuesday. They will then go on the road for round one of the regional tournament to play Columbus Catholic on Thursday. Both games are at 5 p.m.

Prescott Cardinals, Ellsworth Panthers, Middle Border, River Falls Wildcats, Eau Claire North Huskies, Big Rivers, Spring Valley Cardinals, Colfax Vikings, Mondovi Buffaloes, Dunn-St. Croix, EPC Wolves, Alma-Pepin, Glenwood City, baseball