Prep Baseball Report

WIAA Finals: Janesville Craig Is Your 2015 State Champions

By Spencer Flaten
Staff Writer

APPLETON, WI – The Janesville Craig Cougars had checked off several items on their to-do list for the 2015 season prior to Thursday. They were conference champions, regional champions, and sectional champions already this season. The only thing missing: a state title.

The Cougars were finally able to check that off their list on Thursday night. They defeated Kimberly 2-0 in the Division 1 state championship to claim their first title since 1998.

The game was the nightcap to an exciting day of baseball at the state tournament. Although it wasn’t the most thrilling contest of the day, it was a fitting end to a great three days.

Both Kimberly starter Tanner Haessly and Janesville Craig starter Nick Cramer were dealing throughout most of the game. Neither team really threatened to score until the 5th inning.

In the top of the 5th, Kimberly knocked two singles to put men on first and third base with two outs. Brice Swick stepped up the plate and lined a rocket to left field, but Craig leftfielder JT Smithback made an excellent read on the ball to make the catch and escape the danger.

In the bottom of the frame, Cramer drew a walk and both Trayton Christiansen and Jack Blomgren both singled to load the bases for Craig. McCauley Cox then drilled what would be the decisive hit of the game to center field to drive in two runs and finally give the Cougars the lead.

Ben Carew doubled to lead off the 6th for Kimberly, but the Papermakers failed to bring him home.

Nick Blomgren, who came in to pitch in the 6th, struck out two in the 7th to notch the save and state title.

Cramer wasn’t overpowering on the mound for Craig, but he only gave up 4 hits in 5 innings of work. Haessly took the loss with 6 innings pitched and 2 earned runs.

Smithback was 2-for-3 for Janesville Craig to lead the offense. Carew was a perfect 3-for-3 for the Papermakers.

Janesville Craig finished the year 29-1, while Kimberly finished 26-5. This is the second consecutive year that the Papermakers fell in the state championship game.

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