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Redbirds baseball takes State title for first time in program history

By Tori Wittenbrock
Associate Sports Editor

De Pere Redbirds baseball took the first WIAA State title in program history with a 5-1 win over the Sun Prairie East Cardinals on Thursday, June 13. Tori Wittenbrock photos

GRAND CHUTE – The De Pere Redbirds (27-3 overall, 16-2 conf.) beat the Sun Prairie East Cardinals (27-5 overall, 16-2 conf.) 5-1 on Thursday, June 13, to take the first WIAA State baseball title in program history. 

De Pere Redbirds Head Coach Bob VanRens said that this moment means everything to him. 

“I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. I grew up in De Pere, so obviously this means the world. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. I’m just so proud of these kids and so happy that they will be remembered as our first State Champions in baseball,” said VanRens. 

De Pere starting pitcher Landon Raygo pitched the entire game for the Redbirds only allowing 4 hits and 1 run the entire game. 

The Redbirds came ready to play from the start when Axel Donaldson secured a double on an error in the outfield by Sun Prairie. 

A Mason Sequin bunt allowed Donaldson to advance to third base before Easton Arendt’s RBI single brought him home for the first run of the game to go up 1-0 on the Cardinals in the bottom of the first inning. 

“It means the world to do this with the guys I’ve been with since Day One,” said Donaldson. “Couldn’t have written a better script than this.” 

The Redbirds finished their 2024 season with 27 wins and just 3 losses.

The Redbirds had a clean second inning allowing no runs, hits or errors while fielding and bringing in four runs while at bat. 

Trenton Kriewaldt secured a single to get on base for De Pere before Devin Weber’s RBI double forced an error in the outfield bringing the score to 2-0. 

Donaldson then smashed an RBI single to bring Weber in for the 3-0 lead before stealing second to advance his position for Sequin’s upcoming RBI single. 

“We fought through so much together. With three losses on the year, we learned a lot from those losses,” said Donaldson. 

An intentional walk for Arendt meant that the Redbirds would wrap up their biggest inning of the game with 3 runs and 2 left on base. 

The Cardinals would secure their only run of the game in the fourth inning when Raygo walked Cardinal Van Vogler before Manny Abreu Soccoro’s single advanced him to second base. 

De Pere starting pitcher Landon Raygo carried his team to a WIAA State title by only allowing 4 hits and 1 run during their State Final game.

An error in the De Pere outfield meant that De Pere’s Gavin Meece would hit an RBI single to bring in Vogler for a 4-1 score in the fourth inning. 

A scoreless fifth inning put De Pere in good position to keep their lead going into the sixth where the Redbirds took advantage of their last at bat of the season. 

After striking out his first batter of the inning, Raygo walked Isaac Wendler before making a double play for another clean rotation on the mound. 

Donaldson then carried the Redbirds’ lead even further by getting a single and stealing second before Sequin’s bunt advanced him to scoring position at third base. 

During Arendt’s next chance at the plate, an error on the mound allowed Donaldson to score the final run of his high school career for the Redbirds, bringing the final score to 5-1. 

De Pere totaled 5 runs and 9 hits in the final game of their 2024 season.

“Our motto this year was, ‘We are on the hunt,’ and it was the perfect thing for us because we really were. All of our guys wanted it so bad, and this is what we wanted. We just came and competed every day and this was our ultimate goal,” said VanRens.

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