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De Pere blanks Menasha, inches closer to the Division 1 State baseball title game

De Pere blanks Menasha, inches closer to the Division 1 State baseball title game
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 10, 2024

GRAND CHUTE — The De Pere Redbirds are moving on.

"It felt amazing, but (that) feeling is gone, we got to work for the next game," said senior second baseman Axel Donaldson. "(The) job's not finished. We got to win the rest of these games."

With a stellar pitching performance by senior Easton Arendt, some great hitting and small ball, the No.1 Redbirds blanked No. 8 Menasha 2-0 in the first round of the state baseball tournament.

"We prepare the guys' mentally a lot," said De Pere head coach Bob Van Rens of his team's defense. "We knew were going to be coming into some big situations at the end of the year. It's something we've talked about for the long time, kind of relaxed intensity. I think the guys just want it so bad and are going to do whatever it takes."

Quinn Ludvigsen pitched a stellar game for Menasha, but a three base error by his catcher in the fifth inning allowed De Pere's Brett Weckwerth to score on a bunt by his older brother, Jake. Later in the inning, Donaldson brought him home with a single out to left to give the Redbirds a little more breathing room.

Arendt finished with a complete game for the Redbirds, pitching all seven innings, striking out four batters and giving up six hits.

"We have so much trust in Easton," said Donaldson, who expects to start at pitcher in the semifinal. "He's a great player. I think he's one of the best players in the state. No doubt."

Ludvigsen pitched six innings, giving up zero earned runs and striking out 6.

De Pere will face No. 5 seed Westosha Central in the Division 1 state semifinals on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.