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De Pere baseball takes down Westosha Central to advance to state title game

De Pere baseball takes down Westosha Central to advance to state title game
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jun 12, 2024

GRAND CHUTE — The De Pere Redbirds came in to the 2024 state baseball tournament at Fox Cities Stadium pursuing their first state title in program history.

On Monday, in the quarterfinals, the No. 1 Redbirds took down 8 seed Menasha, 2-0. On Wednesday, in the semifinal against Westosha Central the game wasn't as much of a nail-biter as they took down the Falcons 8-1.

"Our guys are so hungry," said Redbirds head coach Bob Van Rens. "They want it so bad and now we're one game away and it's so exciting to have our seniors get this opportunity. It's a lifelong memory they're always going to have. I just hope it ends the right way. We're going to do everything we can to make that happen."

Senior center fielder and pitcher Easton Arendt got the Redbirds going with a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning.

"He's come through all year," Van Rens said. "What huge time for him to come up big."

"Getting knocked out in sectionals the last two years is a bummer, and then being able to get over the hump and make it to the state final is huge," said Arendt. "It would mean the world to me and it's been my dream at this ball park and now that we're here — might as well win it, right?"

That was more than enough run support for senior pitcher Axel Donaldson. He would pitch a gem, throwing 6 2/3 innings striking out 8, and only giving up one earned run. He also had an RBI single in the game.

"Bulldog," Arendt said of Donaldson's peformance."I mean we talked about it all year, you got to be a bulldog on the mound and then have a defense behind you, and that wins games and I think our team showed up today."

"Axel is just a dynamite pitcher, said Van Rens. "He's got that 'it' that we talk about."

The Redbirds scored 4 runs in the bottom of the sixth to give themselves a comfortable lead heading into the final inning. Devin Weber would pitch the final out of the game for De Pere after Donaldson reached his pitch limit.

Javin Gauthier (2), Mason Sequin (1) and Milo Upton also had RBIs in the game for the Redbirds.

De Pere will take on Sun Prairie East for the title at 6 p.m. at Fox Cities Stadium on Thursday evening.