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Wierzba dominant in West De Pere win over De Pere 

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

De Pere second baseman Axel Donaldson tags out West De Pere’s Jackson Meisner on a steal attempt. Rich Palzewic photos 

DE PERE – It was Logan Wierzba’s night. 

The West De Pere sophomore had a dominating performance in the Phantoms’ 8-2 nonconference baseball victory over crosstown rival De Pere on April 23. 

Wierzba was 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI and was the winning pitcher on the mound, going five innings while allowing only two runs on three hits. 

He also struck out three and walked three. 

“I went out there and helped the team,” Wierzba said. “It helped us come back from a few losses – we had high energy, played good defense and played an overall good game.”

In West De Pere’s five losses this season, three of those came in one-run games against Menasha, Ashwaubenon and Shawano. 

After leadoff hitter Carter Schmitt reached on a throwing error to lead off the game, Drew Van Oss put the Phantoms (7-5 overall) up 1-0 with an RBI single. 

Later in the inning with two outs, Wierzba scorched a two-RBI double to plate Van Oss and Samuel Berg – who reached base via walk – to make it 3-0. 

“I just wanted to barrel up the pitch and hit a line drive,” Wierzba said. 

Zachary Wotruba launched a first-pitch home run in the second to right with the aid of a swift 15-mph northwest wind to bump the lead to 4-0. 

Wierzba was at it again in the third when he delivered a two-RBI single to score Duke Shovald and Joseph Reisenberg to make it 6-0. 

De Pere (7-2) finally broke through the scoring column in the bottom of the third after Mason Sequin and Easton Arendt reached base with consecutive singles.

Javin Gauthier eventually plated Sequin with a sacrifice fly before Landon Raygo hammered an RBI single to score Arendt, making it 6-2. 

West De Pere ended the scoring by adding two more in the fourth. 

Schmitt scored on a balk and then Riesenberg plated Van Oss with a sacrifice fly.

West De Pere starting pitcher Logan Wierzba throws a pitch in his team’s 8-2 nonconference victory over De Pere on April 23. Wierzba also went 3-for-3 at the plate and had four RBI.

“It was a great victory – we’ve been playing pretty good baseball … pitching well, but we just couldn’t put everything together,” West De Pere Coach Joe Rukamp said. “We’ve hit well in some games and didn’t play good defense. In other games, we’ve pitched well and didn’t hit the ball. I thought today we put everything together. Our guys were relaxed and played well. It helps when you play your crosstown rivals – everybody knows each other.” 

Wierzba took care of the rest on the mound. 

“Logan didn’t have his best stuff pitching, but we got some runs early to help him out,” Rukamp said. “He helped himself out at the plate.” 

De Pere Coach Bob Van Rens said he was also impressed by Wierzba. 

“You have to tip your hat to West De Pere,” he said. “Logan did a nice job on the mound. Our guys battled against him and we had his pitch count up there, but we couldn’t get the key hits to keep it going. We’ve been pitching well, but we struggled a bit today. We’ll bounce back from this loss.”

Van Rens said he has a good group of kids this season. 

“They are buying into the system – they work hard,” he said. “We have 15 seniors on the roster, so that means there are a lot of guys sitting on the bench who shouldn’t be – there isn’t a lot of room for playing time with such a loaded lineup. It’s a good problem to have, so we are trying to keep everyone mentally in the game. It’s tough on the players and coaches not getting everyone the playing time they deserve.” 

As for the Phantoms, Rukamp said he has a nice mix of players this season. 

“We have a mix of older and younger players,” he said. “We’ve got a long way to go yet – we let some games (earlier in the season) get away from us. I feel good where we’re at and us moving forward.” 

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