For the first time in a decade the Wabasso baseball team is headed back to the state baseball tournament. The Rabbits (14-4) capped off an impressive spring with a 5-0 shutout of KMS to capture the Section 3A title June 7 in Milroy.
Wabasso advances to the Class A state tournament which will take place June 14-16 at Chaska Athletic Park.
For the Rabbits, it was another outstanding outing for ace Nick Altermatt, as he went the distance to shutout a good Saints (19-5) team, allowing just three hits, striking out 10 and walking a pair.
In two post-season games against the Saints, the Rabbits did not allow a single run and outscored KMS 10-0. The Rabbits claimed an early 1-0 lead thanks to a pair of KMS errors.
In the fourth, the Rabbits took control, as Jayden Eis picked up an infield hit and would score on a two-out hit from Cooper Taylor. Tony Franta then singled, and Altermatt would follow with a hit to increase the lead to 3-0. After an intentional walk to Jacob Plaetz, Ty Kemp would come to the plate and reach on yet another error that would score Franta. Will Carlson added a sacrifice fly in the fifth for the game’s final run.
Altermatt would take over from there, recording the final out of the game on a strikeout.
Taylor finished with a pair of hits and an RBI, Carlson picked up a pair of RBI and Kemp and Altermatt each had one hit and an RBI.
The Rabbits have been impressive this postseason, scoring 37 runs while allowing just seven in five games.
Wabasso will head into the state tournament having won 12-of-13 after a 2-3 start to the season.
One of the losses was to Sleepy Eye (16-5), a fellow Tomahawk Conference foe who defeated BOLD for the Section 2A crown.
This will be the first trip to state for the Rabbits since the 2008 season when they went 25-6 on the way to the Class A state title. That season the Rabbits lost an early Section 3A game against Adrian, but they would battle back to defeat Adrian twice to capture the Section 3A title.
At state, the Rabbits first took out Tomahawk Conference foe New Ulm Cathedral 6-4 and then won a wild 8-7 thriller against Hawley in the semifinals to reach the title game.
In the game against Hawley, the Rabbits led 6-4 going into the seventh but watched as Hawley scored three times to take the lead. In the bottom of the frame, Derek Riley and Micah Gronli would both reach and with two outs, standout Christopher Eichten blasted a two-run double to right center to score both runs and win the game.
In the title game, the Rabbits rode ace Johnny Pistulka to a 5-2 win over Southland for the school’s first ever state baseball crown.
Eichten, Jacob Bierl, Mike Wotschke and Pistulka were all named to the all-tournament team.
Along with the aforementioned players, it was a talented team that included names like Jacob Bierl, Holden Salfer, Drew Heiling and Andy Rohlik.
That season the Rabbits started 6-4 and would finish with 19 wins in 21 games.
The Rabbits begin the 2018 tournament with a game June 14 that is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. Wabasso is the fourth seed and will play a quarterfinal game against fifth seed Parker’s Prairie.
According to the state high school league in a press release announcing the state tournament teams, Parkers Prairie, the defending Class A champion, is making its third consecutive state tournament trip.