Ripon strikes out at state tournament

GRAND CHUTE — Ripon returned to the state baseball tournament for the first time since winning the Division 2 title in 2011, so the Tigers were looking forward to another repeat performance.

After having its semifinal game pushed to Thursday morning due to heavy rain on Wednesday, if the Tigers were going to make a run at another state title they would have to figure out how to get to pitcher Mitchell Stalsberg, who entered the tournament having allowed one earned run this season.

Ripon scored an earned run on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning to the game at 1-all, but that was all the Tigers could do. Stalsberg set a tournament record with 21 strikeouts and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning as Viroqua edged Ripon, 2-1, at Fox Cities Stadium.

Stalsberg, a left-hander, scattered five hits as Viroqua moves to Thursday afternoon's title game against Jefferson, which defeated Notre Dame, 11-0, late Wednesday night.

Ripon (17-7), which stole seven bases and left nine runners on base,, also received a quality pitching performance from Payton Bryden, who struck out six and allowed six hits in nine innings.