EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Crivitz shortstop Jaden Werner fires a throw to first to beat out a Gibraltar runner during their WIAA Division 4 regional final game in Crivitz on Wednesday.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Crivitz shortstop Jaden Werner fires a throw to first to beat out a Gibraltar runner during their WIAA Division 4 regional final game in Crivitz on Wednesday.

CRIVITZ — Getting runners on base wasn’t the problem for Crivitz during Wednesday’s WIAA Division 4 Regional final game against Gibraltar, but getting them across home plate was a different story.

The Wolverines left 10 runners stranded on base and had two separate bases-loaded opportunities, but couldn’t cash in and Gibraltar benefited from two three-run doubles to advance to sectionals with an 11-3 victory.

“The two key at-bats of the game came with the bases loaded and they put a great swing on our pitch. Two three-run doubles in a regional final is going to break your back and (Gibraltar) came up with some clutch hits and we left 10 guys on base,” Crivitz coach Jeff Dorschner said. “Credit to them, they put together a complete game. They kept us off balance when we were at the plate and that’s just how it goes in high school baseball with a one-and-done scenario. You need guys to clutch up and unfortunately, we didn’t have that today.”

Crivitz had an opportunity to get an early run in the bottom of the first when Jaden Werner hit a two-out triple to center-field, but the inning was ended by a groundout to the next batter and Gibraltar took the lead in the top of the second.

After the first two batters of the inning reached base, Wolverines starting pitcher Kougar Wagner sat the next two batters down on a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout. He issued a walk to Gibraltar’s nine hitter to bring up the top of the order, and Alex Laughlin came through with a shot to deep center-field that cleared the bases to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.

The Wolverines left runners on first and second in the third inning but were able to get a run back in the bottom of the fourth.

Chad Schroeder drew a one-out walk to lead things off, Ethan Pelkin reached on an error and Alec Grandaw hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners at the corners with two outs. Eli Gruszynski then drew a walk to load the bases and Dawson Andrist was hit by a pitch to score Schroeder. The next batter would fly out to center and Crivitz stranded three more runners on base.

Gibraltar plated four runs in the top of the fifth thanks to its second three-run double of the game, this time by Brandon Stillman. Stillman would later score on Griffin Reinhardt’s single to bump the score to 7-1.

The Vikings tallied four more runs in the top of the seventh to push its cushion to 11-1, and a last inning rally for Crivitz fell short.

Gruszynski led off with a walk, Andrist singled and Austin Burnside hit a single of his to load the bases with no outs. Werner then hit a grounder that was misplayed and Gruszynski came in to score. Two straight outs followed before Schroeder roped an RBI-single to left field, but the inning ended when the next batter went down looking on strikes and the Wolverines season was over. Crivitz stranded three more runners on base in the final inning.

Dorshner noted that one of the keys to postseason baseball is two-strike, two-out hitting, and the Wolverines didn’t have much of that when they needed it most.

“I thought we worked the count alright, we just didn’t really square anything up and when we did it was right at guys,” he said.

This young Crivitz team has a lot to be proud of for this season. The Wolverines had the second-best record in the Marinette & Oconto Conference (9-3) behind Coleman and tied a program record for wins in a season — and did it all with just one senior.

The amount of experience and talent coming back in addition to the good class of eight graders coming up is something that Dorshner is excited for next season, but saying good bye to lone senior Ethan Pelkin wasn’t an easy thing to do.

“We had a lot of young guys that stepped up for us and contributed for us this year so I’m looking forward to having them back next year,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ll miss our senior captain Ethan Pelkin as he finishes up his career. Hopefully with everyone coming back, we can set ourselves up to be in this position again in the future.”

Wagner took the loss on the mound for Crivitz, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Grandaw and Andrist came in to relieve him for the final 2 2/3 innings.

WP — Eric Hoyerman 3 2/3 IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 3W, 3K

LP — Kougar Wagner 4 1/3 IP, 6H, 7R, 4ER, 4W, 4K

Leading hitters (Crivitz): Dawson Andrist 2-3, RBI, R; Chad Schroeder 1-2, BB, R, RBI; Jaden Werner 1-3, RBI; Austin Burnside & Jonah Behrendt 1-4

Gibraltar 030 040 4 — 11

Crivitz 000 100 2 — 3