Prep Baseball Report

Eleva-Strum notches first-ever State Championship in run-rule victory

By: Maddox Durst
Staff Writer

The WIAA season officially wrapped up yesterday, as the Badger State crowned its four champions at Fox Cities Stadium in Eleva-Strum, La Crosse Aquinas, Edgewood and De Pere. Our Prep Baseball Wisconsin staff provided boots-on-the-ground coverage on all four days of action—providing updates and recaps throughout.

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for more content, beginning with a breakdown of what went down in the championship games. 

Northwood/Solon Springs and Eleva-Strum took the diamond first in Appleton on Thursday morning, each looking to secure gold after a strong regular season and elite postseason run. Led by a couple of talented players, the Green Eagles looked to remain undefeated in WIAA play and take home a Division 4 Title.

The Cardinals brought different plans to the table, and did so in a quick fashion.

Despite being limited on the offensive end throughout most of their playoff run, Eleva-Strum exploded at the plate for 11 runs in two innings of work on Thursday. C Jake Bjerke (2024; Winona State University commit) got things started with a double to deep left field—putting the Cardinals up 1-0 right away in the first.

Then, OF Alex Anderson (2024) and DH Brady Zimpel (2025) each provided RBI base hits to expand Eleva-Strum’s advantage to 7-0 after one innings of play.

The offense continued to find its rhythm—launching multiple barrels against some of the top pitching performers in the Division 4 field. INF Carter Gunderson (2024; North Iowa Area CC) was the spark all week for the Cardinals, as he first got the victory and the game-winning hit in Eleva-Strum’s first matchup against Pacelli.

On Thursday, Gunderson finished with another hit after reaching base in the first inning on a hit by pitch. The senior singled and drove in a run for the Cardinals, who tallied four more in the second frame to get out to an 11-1 lead.

From there, it was all RHP Tyler Webb (2024; Wisconsin-Eau Claire). The right-hander entered Appleton as Eleva-Strum’s strongest pitcher, and delivered in a bounce back performance after struggling on Tuesday.

Webb threw all five innings for the Cardinals, limiting Northwood/Solon Springs to just one run on three hits. He paired his performance with six strikeouts on the bump, as INF Noah Martinson (2026) secured the final out of the game to hand Eleva-Strum the Division 4 Title.

They began the season as one of the top Division 4 programs in the state, and upheld that expectation throughout their entire 2024 campaign. Head coach CJ Christianson and the Cardinals gave themselves one of the toughest regular season schedules in the Division 4 field—playing some of the best competition and prospects across all divisions.

It wound up paying off for Eleva-Strum, as they walked out of Fox Cities Stadium with their first-ever State Championship in baseball—finishing the year at a 23-8 clip.