High school fall sports right around the corner

Gillett’s Sylvia Hansen and the rest of the area cross country runners start practice on Aug. 13.

Although the start of the 2018-19 school year is still more than a month off, high school fall sports are about ready to get started.

The first day of August marks the start of the fall’s earliest sports practices, when local football teams will step on the gridiron to prepare for the regular season. Teams will have just over two weeks to ready for the openers, which can be played on Aug. 17.

The final day for a playoff-bound team to play a regular season game is Oct. 12 before the first round of playoffs open on Oct. 19-20. The state championship games will be played on Nov. 15-16 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

Oconto Falls, which will be under the direction of new coach Nick Bohl, will try to bounce back from an 0-9 season. Suring finished 4-5 last year.


Oconto Falls falls short in regional play

Oconto Falls pitcher Mason Sefcik delivers a pitch during Friday’s game against Bonduel. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The postseason can offer teams some of the most memorable moments of a season. The playoffs can also be heartbreaking for others.
The latter proved to be the case for the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team while playing in the Class A Clintonville Regional over the weekend.
The team opened play against Bonduel on Friday, losing a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. Needing to come through the loser’s bracket, Oconto Falls faced Omro in an elimination game Saturday, with Omro claiming a 6-5 win.
In Friday’s matchup, Oconto Falls was tasked with trying to solve Bonduel’s Wyatt Erb, something not many teams have done successfully this summer. Not to be outdone, Oconto Falls starting pitcher Mason Sefcik rose to the challenge and matched the zeros Erb put on the scoreboard.


American Legion baseball: Oconto Falls standout named to All-Star Game

Catcher Kamdan Bloom will represent Oconto Falls at the American Legion All-Star Game on August 5. (Times Herald file photo)

The Oconto Falls Legion baseball team boasts a dangerous lineup from top to bottom, and a big reason behind the team’s summer success has been because of the play of Kamdan Bloom, who serves as one of the team’s top run-producers.

Bloom also serves as the team’s primary catcher, helping guide his teammates through games and to victories.

Bloom, a recently graduated senior who will join the Edgewood College baseball team in the fall, was recently honored for his strong play with a roster spot for the American Legion All-Star Game. He will join the Stripes team, which will face the Stars roster at Miller Park on Aug. 5 following the completion of the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies regular season matchup.

The selection to the All-Star Game is a accomplishment that Bloom will not soon forget.


Legion Roundup: Errors doom Oconto Falls in loss to Denmark

Tyler Mielke delivers a pitch during Oconto Falls’ loss to Denmark. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Following a disappointing loss to Ashwaubenon on Tuesday, the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team was looking for a bounce back performance against Denmark on Wednesday evening.

That thought was foiled early in the matchup though, as the visitors took advantage of some Oconto Falls defensive miscues to earn the lead. Denmark later scored 10 runs in the fourth and cruised to a 15-3 victory in five innings.

Denmark scored a run in the top of the first inning on a Cole Paplham RBI single. Oconto Falls starting pitcher Tyler Mielke was able to limit the damage by inducing a double play groundball.

After Denmark starter Blake Derricks worked a 1-2-3 first inning, Denmark got right back to work with the bats in its half of the second.


1978 Oconto Falls baseball team recalls state title

Tim Grady always looked up to his older brother, Chuck, growing up.

So, when Chuck played a big role in helping the Oconto Falls baseball team win the state title in 1973, Tim wanted to win a championship himself five years later.

“We had won a tournament in Babe Ruth and we thought, ‘Let’s match these guys,’” said Tim Grady, who was the ace pitcher on the 1978 team. “It was definitely a driving force with that ‘73 team winning state ahead of us.”

“We watched that, we wanted to be that someday,” said Doug Ahlborg, a catcher on the 1978 squad. “We worked hard at it, we kept at it.”

The 1978 team – led by eight seniors, including Grady and Ahlborg – was a dedicated group that played consistently well all season and ended up winning the Class B state title.

It was a dream come true for the guys.


Oconto Falls placed in Clintonville Regional for Legion baseball playoffs

Sam Virtues and the Oconto Falls Legion baseball team are hoping to make a deep postseason run. (Times Herald file photo)

With just over a week remaining in the Legion baseball season regular season, teams are beginning to think ahead to regional play, which begins on July 20.

The Oconto Falls Legion baseball team has experienced an up-and-down summer season so far, holding a 3-3 record.

Regardless of a team’s record, postseason play gives each roster a new life. While winning games is certainly a feat teams strive for, many coaches and players just hope to be playing their best baseball by the time the playoffs roll around.

Oconto Falls hopes to be one of those teams playing its best baseball when it opens play in the Clintonville Class A Regional on July 20.


Gillett ends strong trap season at state tournament

Adviser Doug Quaak, second from left, teaches Gillett trap shooting members, left, Logan Block, Hunter Poffinbarger and Justin Engebretson during a shotgun reloading session. (Contributed photo)

The Gillett High School trap shooting team was one of 78 teams in Wisconsin to compete in the 2018 Spring Trap League.

Those 78 teams were assigned to one of 11 conferences based on the number of athletes the teams rostered. Gillett was a member of a conference also featuring Cambria-Friesland, Elmwood, Mondovi, Randolph and Washburn.

Gillett finished third in the conference with 1,338 points over a five-week span. Elmwood (1,695.5) took first while Mondovi (1,584) placed second. Washburn (1,119), Randolph (852) and Cambria Friesland (836.5) rounded out the conference standings.

Logan Block led Gillett with an average of 21.6 points (out of 25), the second-best mark in the conference behind only Washburn’s Blake Defoe (22). Hunter Poffinbarger (20.3), Reid Winkler (18.9), Art Poffinbarger (18.6) and Brice Winkler (18.1) all finished among the top-25 male shooters in the conference.


Oconto Falls baseball team remembers 1973 title

Fred Peterson sat back in his chair, relaxed and comfortable.

With the Milwaukee Brewers game on in the background, Peterson looked proudly at a wall in his room at an assisted living facility in Green Bay.

Hanging up are plaques commemorating his coaching achievements. The former Oconto Falls baseball coach has plenty of mementos from the great years he had on the bench.

There’s a plaque from when he was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1984 and another one recognizing him coaching a high school all-star game at County Stadium in Milwaukee. But the awards that mean the most are from the two state championships Peterson helped guide Oconto Falls to in 1973 and 1978.

In his seventh season at the helm in 1973, Peterson coached a bunch of teenagers to the ultimate goal. Now, 45 years later, Peterson – who turned 89 in May – still relishes in one of his greatest coaching jobs of his illustrious career.


Mahoney, Yonker take part in WBCA All-Star Game

Suring’s Ryan Mahoney scores on a breakaway layup during the WBCA All-Star Game. (Contributed photo)

Suring’s Ryan Mahoney and Gillett’s Taylor Yonker each enjoyed incredible high school careers on the basketball court.

Each player led their team in points per game during their senior seasons and were each rewarded with a roster spot for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Star Game.

Yonker was one of 10 players on the Division 5 North team that battled the Division 5 South team on June 15 at JustAgame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells. The South earned a 78-71 victory, overcoming a 16-point deficit.

Yonker, who helped lead Gillett to a Division 5 sectional final game, finished with two points after connecting on two first quarter free throws.

Despite her team not picking up the victory, Yonker still had an enjoyable time, especially with the game being for a good cause.


Oconto Falls Legion holds off Denmark

Oconto Falls got clutch hits when it needed it most.

Denmark, well, it couldn’t pick up a key hit with the game on the line.

Denmark had the tying and winning runs and third and second base, respectively, with just one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Its next two hitters were retired as the Oconto Falls Legion team hung on for a 6-5 victory on the road on June 20.

“It’s good for our confidence,” Oconto Falls coach Joe Sefcik said. “They don’t believe in themselves all the time as being younger guys. And then something like this and then finishing on top of things — it means so much next time. Hopefully they won’t make it so interesting, but it’s baby steps for these guys.”

Dylan Nelson had a big game for Oconto Falls, going 2 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs. Nelson enjoyed helping the team secure a victory.


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