Parker, Craig will vie for state baseball berth Tuesday

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Gazette staff
Monday, June 9, 2014

One of Janesville’s high school baseball teams will play for a trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament today.

First, Craig and Parker will need to sort out which one earns that right.

Craig hosts sectional play at Riverside Park beginning with a 10 a.m. semifinal game between the crosstwon rivals. Verona and Stoughton will square off at 1 p.m., and the winners of the two games will play for a state berth in a game scheduled for 4 p.m.

Parker is 20-5 and is the top seed in the sectional. The Vikings will be looking for their seventh trip to state in program history but first since 1992.

“Our guys are looking forward to the challenge of it,” Parker coach Brian Martin said. “We’re happy to be playing whoever, and it just happens to be Craig again. I don’t know, for our guys, if it adds anything to it or not, because no matter who it’s against, we’re excited and ready to play.”

Parker swept the season series with the Cougars, winning 3-2 in 10 innings in the first matchup and 9-6 in the series finale.

Sophomore left-hander Hunter Van Zandt, the Big Eight’s player of the year, threw all 10 innings of the first win and is expected to take the hill against Craig again today.

“There is no second game unless you take care of business in the first,” Martin said. “So he’s going to start the first game, and whatever happens from there happens.”

Craig is 16-10 overall and has made 11 trips to state, most recently in 2009. The fourth-seeded Cougars will also start their sophomore left-hander, Chase Nyborg.

“At the end of the day, if we come in and throw strikes and play good defense, we have a chance,” Craig coach Vic Herbst said. “That’s probably the case for any of the four teams.

“I think our guys are excited about it. We’ve been on the back end (against Parker) twice, but we’re headed in the right direction. Both games, we were in it and had chances.”

Verona matched Craig with a 9-9 record to finish tied for fourth in the Big Eight Conference. The Wildcats swept the Cougars in the regular season and were swept by Parker.

Stoughton is 20-4 and was champion of the Badger South Conference at 11-1. The Vikings lost to Craig, 13-3, in a nonconference game at Riverside Park on May 5.

In Division 2, Big Foot plays in the Evansville Sectional, opening with a semifinal game against Lodi at 1:30 p.m. The winner will take on the winner of River Valley and Ripon (11 a.m.) in the sectional final at 4:30 p.m. Big Foot’s two state appearances in program history came in 1982 and 1983.

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