On a cloudy, muggy morning in Grand Chute, the Waunakee Warriors held off three consecutive-inning rallies by the Eau Claire North Huskies to win in their state tournament opener, 12-8.
Waunakee got to North's pitching right away, getting an earned run across in the first inning to go up 1-0. It was the first earned run allowed all season by Eau Claire's Ryan Venne.
A trio of errors in the third inning allowed Waunakee to get another run aboard for a 2-0 lead after 3.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Waunakee piled on three more runs, getting three consecutive RBI base hits to go up 5-0 heading to the top of the fifth.
Eau Claire North made a rally, scoring five runs to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Waunakee answered back, scoring a run on an error and following up with an RBI base hit to go up 7-5 after five.
North made their second rally in as many innings, dropping in a double just inside fair territory in the right field corner to score two runs with two outs, which tied the game at 7.
Waunakee led off the bottom of the sixth with a hit by pitch, a walk, and an intentional walk. All three batters were pinch-ran for, and all three would score in the inning as the Warriors piled on five runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 12-7 heading to the top of the seventh inning.
North got their leadoff runner aboard on a hit-by-pitch. That runner would eventually score, and the Huskies would load the bases for their cleanup hitter, Jaelin Williams. Taiten Manriquez got Williams to ground out with two outs left to preserve a 12-8 victory for Waunakee in the state semifinals.
Waunakee will face the winner of Kimberly and Green Bay Preble at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Here's Waunakee coach Spencer Lee speaking about the win: