Sports

Wed
19
Jul

Sparks transitions into Gillett AD role

Mark Sparks had not even been at Gillett High School for a complete year before he was given the opportunity to become the school’s athletic director.

With Mike Kaczmarek stepping down in June, Sparks had already been shadowing him in the position for over a year.

“From what I’ve seen and what he’s shown me and what he’s explained to me, you can’t do this job well without being organized,” Sparks said. “Because all it takes is you miss one paper and now you don’t have an official for a JV game, so what do you do then?

“You forget to confirm with someone via email that they have to work an athletic event. Now you don’t have someone taking tickets, so now you’ve lost that revenue with the school or things like that. It’s really about organization and double-checking everything.”

Wed
19
Jul

Spring turkey harvest down slightly

It seems that I can’t travel our local Waupaca County roads at all lately without having to stop for a wild turkey or two. When I was hunting them this spring, they were everywhere, too — except within shotgun range to my ground blind.

Spring turkey hunters killed 43,341 birds, a slight decrease from last year’s harvest. That could be in part because there were fewer permits sold; 212,088 this year vs. 212,772 last year. The other reasons were a 27 percent decline in turkey production and heavy rains the second season, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The overall success rate was 20.4 percent, compared with last season’s 21.3 percent.

Wed
19
Jul

Diamond Club completes 1st weekend of Diamond Days

The first of two Gillett Diamond Days weekends is in the books after 10U and 12U baseball teams took to Orby Jones Sports Complex last week.

Oconto won the four-team 10U tournament, and Kimberly won the eight-team 12U tournament.

Oconto Falls, which took third in the pool, defeated Suring 8-1 Friday in the opening round and 9-1 in the 10U third-place game. Falls lost to Pulaski, 8-1, and Oconto, 8-6.

Dawn Nelson, Gillett Diamond Club president, had to verify the pitch count and available pitchers in the 10U tournament before crowning Oconto as the champions with its 8-5, seven-inning victory over Pulaski.

Games were delayed for roughly 30 minutes Saturday night after a brief storm that drenched the fields. One game was postponed with two innings remaining, while another whole game had to be moved to Sunday morning.

Club members were out at 5 a.m. Sunday working to make sure both fields were ready for the playoffs of the 12U division.

Wed
12
Jul

Pitching leads to doubleheader sweep of Valders

With the postseason just around the corner, the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team is hitting its stride at the perfect time.

Oconto Falls used back-to-back complete games from its starting pitchers, who received plenty of run support, in sweeping a doubleheader, 5-4 and 6-3, against Valders on Saturday at Memorial Field.

Oconto Falls (6-4) has won four games in a row after starting its summer schedule 2-4.

“We’re kind of collecting a nice head of steam before regionals are coming up,” Oconto Falls head coach Alex Seidel said. “We made it to state last year, so those are definitely big shoes to fill. We kind of just want to do the best that we can.”

A major reason for Oconto Falls’ surge late in the season is its offense is starting to click. Seidel’s hitters are taking a better approach at the plate with two strikes and are consistently putting the ball in play.

Wed
12
Jul

Diamond Days kick off Friday in Gillett

The first of two weekends of the Gillett Diamond Club’s Diamond Days will begin on Friday night.

Eight teams will compete in the 12U boys baseball tournament. The opening game starts at 5 p.m. on Field 2 of the Orby Jones Sports Complex. Teams are traveling from as far away as Kimberly, Kaukauna and Clintonville to participate.

Gillett will play its first game at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on Field 2.

The 10U tournament has four teams — Oconto Falls, Suring, Oconto and Pulaski — competing for the tournament title. Two games will be played Friday night, with the rest of pool play finishing up Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Oconto Falls and Suring will open the tournament at 5 p.m. Friday. The 10U championship game is slated for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Softball tournaments for 10U and 12U teams will take place from July 27-30.

Wed
05
Jul

Larsen a 2-sport All-American at Winona State

McKenna Larsen has always been a phenomenal athlete.

At Oconto Falls, she was a three-sport star. She couldn’t be stopped on the volleyball court, was a scoring machine in basketball, and a dominant pitcher and hitter on the softball diamond.

When she decided to attend Winona State University in Minnesota and attempt to play two sports – volleyball and softball – it was a daunting task. But if anyone was going to succeed, it would be Larsen.

Larsen has not only flourished in college, she’s become one of the best all-around Division II athletes in the country. Remarkably, she capped off her junior year by being named an All-American in both volleyball and softball.

Wed
05
Jul

Saputo recognized for $10,000 donation

The Gillett Diamond Club on June 27 recognized Saputo, a cheese manufacturer with a facility in Lena, for its $10,000 donation to sponsor one of the three scoreboards at the Orby Jones Sports Complex.

The donation covered the cost of the scoreboard, installation and a 10-year deal for the sponsorship panel atop the board.

Club President Dawn Nelson described the difficulty in finding funds in a small town, and Saputo stepped up to cover the cost of one of the new boards across the three diamonds in the park.

With Orby Jones in attendance, Nelson thanked Saputo and its representatives at a ribbon-cutting at the scoreboard prior to a 10U softball game between Gillett and Wausaukee. Saputo representative Paul Wonless threw out the first pitch.

The complex is used by high school varsity baseball and softball teams, in addition to the various youth teams sponsored by the club.

Wed
28
Jun

Errors allow Peshtigo to stay in game, beat Oconto Falls

Four consecutive scoreless innings by the Oconto Falls and Peshtigo Legion baseball teams on June 21 finally ended in the top of the 10th inning.

Peshtigo’s Travis Plym reached on an error, stole second base and then advanced to third on a single. Oconto Falls pitcher Wes Brabant got the first out of the inning on a strikeout and then struck out the next batter, as well, but Plym scored when the third strike got past catcher Mike Manns to give Peshtigo the 4-3 lead.

Oconto Falls could not score in the bottom of the frame and suffered its third loss in five games.

“I think we kept battling well. We were put into positions, and Peshtigo put all the pressure on us,” Oconto Falls coach Alex Seidel said.

The hosts managed just four hits against Darren Dionne and Cameron Noffke but were aided by four Peshtigo errors.

Wed
28
Jun

Butch’s summer basketball camp returns in Year 2

Kirk Hirst and Mike Kaczmarek are trying to create a winning culture in their respective basketball programs.

The Oconto Falls High School girls team headed by Kaczmarek won three games in 2016-17. The boys squad that Hirst leads had just one victory.

Hirst and Kaczmarek, who are preaching an offseason filled with hard work and determination in the gym, received a little help last week from Brian Butch, a former University of Wisconsin player who plays professional basketball in Japan.

For the second year in a row, Oconto Falls athletes were able to take part in the Brian Butch Basketball Camp at Oconto Falls High School.

Wed
21
Jun

Heise, Borchert close out careers with all-star game

Two members of Lena’s senior class got the chance to play with some of the top talent in Division 5 as part of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game on Saturday.

Connor Heise and Hunter Borchert, along with coach Jeff Heimke, were selected to the North team, which fell to the South team, 102-96, Saturday at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.

“There’s essentially five teams in the state that end their career with a win. If you don’t end your career on a win, you might as well end it on a positive note,” Heimke said. “This is a good chance to do that.”

The team also included Alex Ohde (McDonell Central), Cameron Brussow (Loyal), Neal Cerveny (Gresham), Davin Stricker (Mellen), Drew Rohde (Prentice), Dylan Bunders (Almond-Bancroft), Grayson Knowlton (McDonell Central) and Tyler Fuerlinger (Columbus Catholic).

Gresham coach Jeff Zobeck was the head coach, and Port Edwards’ Dave Gibbs was the other assistant.

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