Laconia's improbable run has it one win away from state title

Laconia beat Iola-Scandinavia, 5-4, in a Division 3 state baseball semifinal Wednesday.

GRAND CHUTE (WLUK) -- Laconia entered the state baseball tournament with the fewest wins (12) among the 20 teams in the field and the most losses (11), so the expectations, at least on the outside for the Spartans to win a state title were slim.

After Wednesday night, however, Laconia's chances of winning a gold ball look pretty good.

The Spartans, in their first state appearance, continued their unexpected postseason run with a nail-biting 5-4 nine-inning win over Iola-Scandinavia at Fox Cities Stadium in a Division 3 semifinal. The Spartans will play Aquinas (20-10) at noon on Thursday in the title game.

I-S-Laconia boxscore

"Been exciting for the fact that we've been dealing with a lot of adversity this year," Laconia coach Greg Smit said. "We lost a lot of one run games, seven to be exact, six in the last inning. To keep battling all the way through I've been very happy with the guys to keep coming back and fighting.

"I tell you, going into the tournament 7-11, a lot of people were looking past us I think and we've just gotten hit at the right time."

Laconia is on a six-game winning streak and its longest winning streak during the regular season was three. Furthermore, the Spartans were 4-8 in the Flyway Conference, fifth place.

This run could not have been forecasted, but here is Laconia, in position to win a state title.

"Nobody thought we could do this, we believed in ourselves and our teammates, our coaches led us the whole way," sophomore pitcher Bryce Engelhardt said. "Pretty amazing."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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