GRAND CHUTE — In the first two state tournament games Kimberly scored a combined 25 runs and won easily on its way to Thursday’s Division 1 state championship baseball game against Sun Prairie.
Despite the fact the Papermakers were taking on the two-time defending state champion Cardinals, they had to feel good about their chances.
Nonetheless, each game is its own entity and Thursday night Kimberly’s offense didn’t look anything like the offense that overwhelmed Hartford and Wilmot two days earlier in the tournament.
Kimberly mustered just five hits and scored in only one inning and it wasn’t enough as Sun Prairie made it a “Three-peat” with a 5-2 win at Fox Cities Stadium.
“They’re a good team,” Kimberly coach Ryan McGinnis said. “They were better than we were today. It’s been fun to compete. The worst thing is we don’t have another game.”
Sun Prairie grabbed a 1-0 first-inning lead, but the Papermakers (21-8) scored twice in the fourth inning to grab a 2-1 lead. The Cardinals (27-5) then scored four runs combined in the next two innings, including three in the sixth to take control.
Kimberly had two runners on base in the seventh, but the game ended on a double play to end the Papermakers’ quest of winning their first state title since 2007. When the offense needed to come up big, it didn’t, mainly because Sun Prairie’s pitcher was on his game.
“Ryan Curran did a good job throwing strikes,” said Schreiber, who drove in one of the Papermakers’ runs. “His curve ball was pretty good. We just couldn’t get those big hits.”
After the game, when the Papermakers were given the runner-up trophy, there was no celebration or raising the “hardware” to their fans. They came to win a title Thursday and it didn’t happen.
McGinnis, though, knows anytime you can end a season in Fox Cities Stadium, you’ve done something right.
“We made such great strides,” McGinnis said. “We’ve come a long way. We lost our first game of the year by 10-run rule, so to end our year here is a pretty good accomplishment.”
Schreiber will move onto Nebraska, but he cherished the season he had with his teammates. He was able to put it into perspective what this tournament run meant.
“After a loss like that it’s going to be hard to appreciate all the things we went through,” he said. “We have to turn the page and think about all the positives.
“It was just great being with these guys for another two weeks. We came out here and competed. That’s ll I can ask of these guys.
“Today wasn’t our day, but I’m proud of these guys.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay