Shawano grinds out win over Antigo in summer finale

Brandt delivers game-winning hit in 6th
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

It wasn’t a pretty start for Shawano, but the team stuck together and was able to rally to an 8-7 win over Antigo on Saturday in Shawano.

Antigo held a 6-1 lead after three and a half innings and looked to be on its way to spoiling Shawano’s season finale and senior day. Instead, Shawano started chipping away, eventually scoring the winning run on a pinch-hit RBI double by Wyatt Brandt in the sixth inning in a two-strike count.

“I’ve been hitting with two strikes all year, so it was no problem with me. Just stay relaxed, you hit the best at the plate when you’re nice and calm. Kind of just let your instincts take over, not overthinking it,” said Brandt of his approach during the at-bat.”

“It was really great to win this game. Go out there, know I played my role and drove that run in and did the best I could for the team today.”

The win capped an 8-3 summer on the diamond for Shawano under new coach Dustin Beyer. The victory also gave Ian Reinders — the only player from the Class of 2020 — a great memory to end his high school career on. The team honored Reinders before the game.

“It’s really nice that you can look back on it and you’re going to be like ‘Well, we won that last game that I played.’ Obviously, not a lot of people get to say that. It’s special.”

Ashton Henning wrapped up the win for the hosts, working around a two-out error in the top of the seventh. Henning pitched the final 3 2/3 innings after Brandan Bushy started the game.

After Antigo scored two unearned runs in the first, Shawano got a run back in its half when Zach Erdmann singled home Henning. The visitors scored three more times in the third and once in the fourth to go up five runs.

Shawano began chipping away in its half of the fourth, scoring three times.

Carson Popp came through with a two-out single to plate Jacob Landon for the first run. Courtesy runner Ethan DeMunck and Joey Sperberg later scored on wild pitches.

Shawano surged ahead in the fifth with another three-run frame.

Braedyn Kowalkowski singled in Andrew Popp with one out. Kowalkowski and Reinders crossed home plate after wild pitches with two outs.

Antigo quickly tied the game in the sixth, but Henning worked out of more trouble by stranding a pair of runners.

Andrew Popp led off the sixth with a walk before stealing second and then moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Polzin. Brandt then came through with the big hit.

“You got to fire the kids up a little bit (after some sloppy defense early) and they responded. We started hitting the ball and taking advantage of some of their mishaps and we crawled back in this one,” said Beyer, who later said he was excited for the future of baseball in Shawano. “I’m just real proud of the kids. We fought all day long and ended with the one-run victory. It was a good day.”