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De Pere Redbirds baseball team wins first state title

'Couldn't've wrote a better script than this': De Pere baseball wins first state title
Posted at 10:14 PM, Jun 13, 2024

GRAND CHUTE (NBC 26) — The De Pere Redbirds were ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll, but they wanted no part of it. They wanted to prove they were the best team in the state.

On Thursday night, they put their money where their mouth was, by taking down Sun Prairie East in the Division 1 state title game, 5-1.

"It's means the world just to do it with the guys I've been with since day 1. It means the world to me — couldn't've wrote a better script than this," said senior pitcher and second baseman Axel Donaldson, who had three hits, three runs scored and an RBI in the title game.

The Redbirds got off to a fast start thanks to three Cardinals errors and some timely hits in the first two innings, which led to a 4-0 lead.

That would be enough run support for Redbirds senior starting pitcher Landon Raygo. The senior would pitch a complete game only giving up 1 run, with 7 strikeouts. He finished the game right at 100 pitches. He gives a lot of credit to the defense behind him.

"I was feeling really good just knowing that our defense — which I believe is the best in the state, just throw strikes and make the plays," Raygo said.

Raygo, Easton Arendt and Axel Donaldson started the three state tournament games for De Pere and only gave up two runs in 20 2/3 innings pitched.

For head coach Bob Van Rens who has been with the program for most of his life, this win meant everything to him.

"I've been waiting my whole life for this," he said. "Grew up in De Pere. Obviously, this means the world. I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I'm just proud of our kids. I'm just so happy for our kids that they'll be remembered forever as our first state champions in baseball. I could not be more proud of a group of kids."