After a strong regular season the Menomonie Eagles have their sights set on a postseason push.
Saturday marks the beginning of the Wisconsin Baseball Association regionals with the Eagles heading to Spooner to take on the Whittelsey Reds starting at noon.
The winner of the matchup will face off with the winner of the evening tilt in Spooner between the New Richmond Millers and the Spooner Cardinals. The regional final contest will be held on Sunday at noon. The one team to emerge unbeaten in the regional will advance to next weekend’s state finals hosted at Wakanda Park in Menomonie.
Menomonie went 13-7 in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League and 17-8 overall this season. Menomonie manager Tyler Hamann said the key to being successful this year has been about the team being solid in all facets of the game. If one area of play struggles during a game the Eagles have been fortunate to have another area step up.
“Some games we’ve won based off our pitching staff holding teams to one or two runs or our bats came alive and we scored 15 runs,” Hamann said. “There’s been a few games where our defense has really stepped up and turned a key double play or threw somebody out at a base at a big point in a game, so we’ve definitely found different ways to win ball games.”
The Eagles head to regionals with an extra boost of motivation with the state finals set to be hosted in Menomonie this year. Menomonie’s last trip to the eight-team finals came in 2017 and it also made appearances in 2012 and 2013.
With four teams competing for one spot in the finals, Hamann is looking to pitching to be the difference maker for the team that ends up securing two wins.
“Come playoff time no matter the level of baseball it always comes down to pitching,” Hamann said. “Pitchers got to throw strikes. If you walk a few batters and then a hit that could be the difference. It’s going to boil down to pitching like it does at any level of baseball.”
While the Eagles are looking to play in the finals on their home field and they could do that with wins on back-to-back days, Hamann is focused on getting the first victory over Whittlesey before thinking about the regional final game.
Whether the Eagles are part of the finals or not, Hamann is quick to credit supporters who have not only helped this season in allowing the team to host the end of year tournament but also those that have been there every year.
“We take a lot of pride not only playing for ourselves but for the other people that have made it possible for us to host,” Hamann said.