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GRAND CHUTE — The well-manicured and plush green grass at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute turned into a field of dreams for the Boyceville Baseball team Monday evening.
Senior pitcher Walker Retz surrendered just a single hit and struck out 13 batters to help lead the Bulldogs to their first state baseball championship following a 4-0 shut-out victory over the Rosholt Hornets (21-4) in the WIAA Division 4 state title game held on Neuroscience Group Field June 28.
Boyceville had advanced to the championship by defeating Southwestern (11-11) 11-1 early in the day in a semifinal contest that went just five innings.
When Retz struck out the final batter in the top of the seventh Monday night, he was promptly tackled to the ground by his first baseman and fellow classmate Trevor Hollister with the entire team quickly jumping on top as the Bulldogs’ celebration began much to the delight of the purple-clad Boyceville fans who far exceeded the other other three tournament teams’ faithful both in numbers and voice.
In the semifinal contest, the Bulldogs other senior hurler Connor Sempf had went the distance giving up just a single run on five hits and finished with six K’s as Boyceville came up with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fifth to win by the ten-run rule. That was the Bulldogs third straight double-digits tournament win following a 17-3 win over Independence/Gilmanton and a 14-0 shut out against top-ranked Webster in the previous week’s sectional tournament.
In their two state contests Monday, the Bulldogs collected 17 hits including 12 in the semifinal against Southwestern. Besides his fantastic pitching performance in the championship game, Retz went 5-for-6 at the plate in the two games with eight RBI while Trett Joles and Ira Bialzik had three hits a piece and Dawson McRoberts and Connor Sempf each finished with a pair of hits.
The Bulldogs’, who were state runners-up in Divison 3 in 2000, finished the 2021 season at 21-1.
Please see next week’s Tribune Press Reporter for full game coverage and comments on their history-making season.