Ellsworth makes it two for Pierce County in state baseball finalsIf having Prescott back in the finals of the WIAA State Baseball Tournament for the first time since 1999 wasn't enough excitement for Pierce County prep sports fans, how about Ellsworth as well? The Panthers made a double play for the county as they upset No. 1 ranked Racine St. Catherine's 5-1 in Wednesday's Division 2 state semifinals.
GRAND CHUTE - If having Prescott back in the finals of the WIAA State Baseball Tournament for the first time since 1999 wasn't enough excitement for Pierce County prep sports fans, how about Ellsworth as well?
The Panthers made a double play for the county as they upset No. 1 ranked Racine St. Catherine's 5-1 in Wednesday's Division 2 state semifinals.
EHS, 20-5 overall, will take on Portage, 21-6, in the state finals this afternoon at 3 p.m. at Fox Cities Stadium. The Warriors were 7-2 winners over No. 8 Fox Valley Lutheran earlier in the evening.
Winning pitcher James Georgakas went the whole way, allowing just four hits while striking out nine Angels' batters.
"I fully expected to go the distance tonight. I know I nervous at first but pitched through it and just had fun with it," Georgakas said afterward.
Ellsworth players were nervous just like any players would be in their first-ever state tournament game. But head coach Steve Block said they didn't play like that for long.
"They played like they belonged out there, like this stadium was a second home after the first inning," Block said. "And I think that's a credit to how prepared they were to play the game. We had great scouting reports and we gameplanned well. Our kids were as ready to play as they could possibly be and once they settled into the game, they played like they've been playing for the 24 other games we played so far. James never lost his focus out there and pitched outstanding. It's impressive when you consider our team had to wait around all day for this game, but we were ready and prepared for that too."
The contest didn't begin until 10 p.m.
That wasn't the case for the Angels, 25-2 overall. They too were playing in their first-ever state tournament and played that way the whole way, committing five critical errors and numerous other mistakes which helped EHS score runs.
Shortly after St. Catherine's tied the ballgame at 1-1 in the fourth off Coty Ortiz's RBI single, the Panthers struck back immediately with three runs in the fifth. Brady Schroeder scored off a wild pitch, Tyler Marson plated off Georgakas's RBI-triple and pinch-runner Nick Taranto scored off Mitch Matter's RBI-single.
Errors also helped EHS's Dennis Schutz score Ellsworth's final run in the sixth.
"We did a good job of getting our lead runners on base and working their pitcher deep into the count," Block said. "We had a lot of good at bats even if our kids didn't get on base."
Both Marson and Matter had two hits to lead their team at the plate and both had RBIs. Matter also hit a double. Jake Betthauser also hit a double.