Prep Baseball Report

La Crosse Aquinas wins Division 3 Championship behind clutch hits, solid pitching

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.

Kenosha St. Joseph and La Crosse Aquinas, arguably the top-2 Division 3 programs in the state, battled it out for gold in Appleton on Thursday in the second game of the day.

Both teams presented a high-octane offense with some of the top prospects and performers in their respective classes, all getting underway right away in the first frame.

OF Eric Kenesie (2024; Buffalo University (basketball) commit) launched a triple to the gap for the Lancers to get things started. He was plated by an RBI groundout turned in by C/INF Peter Visconti II (2025), who emerged as Kenosha St. Joseph’s main run producer throughout this run at the State Tournament.

Both RHP’s Tommy Santarelli (2024) and Tanner Peterson (2024; Winona State University) settled in nicely throughout the middle portion of the game. Peterson rushed his FB up to 86 mph, continuing a strong senior season as a two-way star for the Blugolds.

After a few quiet innings on the offensive end, Aquinas was able to break through in the fourth frame to erase an early deficit and take a lead. It started with C Jacob Thornton (2025) clutching up with the bases loaded, as he shot a single to the opposite field to tie the game at 1-1 apiece.

After a fielder’s choice from INF Jonny Deets (2027), 1B Kyle White (2025) provided the big hit in the inning. The first baseman launched a two-RBI double to deep left field to extend the Blugolds’ lead, as Deets hustled from first to score on the play.

The Lancers did not go down quietly though, as a few defensive miscues came back to haunt Aquinas in the fifth inning. Both OF’s Dominic Rinaldi (2026) and Tim Falk (2025) scored on a wild pitch to cut into the Blugolds’ advantage.

The score sat at 4-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.

It was then SS Eddie Peters (2024; Xavier) turn for Aquinas, as their star shortstop blasted a home run to the pull-side, which proved to be the game-winning run in this one. In the next inning, a leadoff triple turned in by Deets allowed the freshman to score and put the Blugolds up by three entering the final frame.

Kenosha St. Joseph made some noise in the last inning, as they were able to get the tying run up to bat, all while knocking Peterson out of the game. In the final at bat though, Peters came on to close the game with a strikeout—tallying another save in his 2024 season to earn Aquinas a Division 3 State Championship in a 6-4 victory.

The Blugolds dropped the title matchup in the 2023 season to a strong St. Croix Falls unit, yet were able to recover and reload for their 2024 run. Aquinas was the lone team in Division 3 to be ranked in the Power 25 this year, as they looked the part all week in Appleton to secure gold.