GRAND CHUTE — It hasn’t been a long drought, but the last time Kimberly won the Division 1 state baseball title was 2007.
Tuesday, the Papermakers took two huge steps in winning its third overall title.
After dismantling Hartford, 10-0, in an afternoon quarterfinal, Kimberly defeated Wilmot, 15-1, to move to Thursday’s title game against two-time defending state champion Sun Prairie.
Kimberly wasted no time in taking control of the semifinal by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning off two hits and three walks. That was plenty for pitcher Scott Schreiber, who handled a Wilmot offense that was averaging nearly six runs per game.
“Very proud of our kids,” Kimberly coach Ryan McGinnis said. “I really though they did a great job.”
Schreiber, who didn’t pitch earlier in the season due to a shoulder injury, made his fifth start, went six innings, allowed two hits, one run, struck out eight and walked one.
“He threw great,” McGinnis said. “Scott’s pretty special. We saw that (Tuesday).”
Schreiber said he felt good, adding, “I would say I’m mid-season form. I felt great.”
Kimberly plated 25 runs Tuesday in two games and against Wilmot, Mason Schnese was 4-for-5 with a home run, scored three runs and had two RBIs; Travis Vander Hyden was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Nate Thyssen was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and scored two runs.
It was an all-out demolition of a team that entered the game with a 23-3 record. McGinnis said the fast start, like his team had in the quarterfinal, was important.
“It’s important when you have that lead, you can take chances,” McGinnis said. “We have some athleticism on our team. It helps.”
“We came out and played great ball today,” Schreiber said. “Not too surprised by the scores.”
Schreiber said the approach his team took led to the easy Tuesday wins.
“Just come out, compete, play great defense and battle the pitcher; have great at-bats,” he said. “Have a great approach and everything else will take care of itself.”
Kimberly took care of business Tuesday and, weather permitting, the Papermakers (21-7) know what they’re up against on Thursday in the championship, but they feel good.
“I’m excited,” McGinnis said. “This is what you work for.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay