EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Eau Claire Cavaliers won their first WBA state championship Sunday defeating the Tilden Tigers 11-3. The team is our Osseo Automotive Athletes of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert reports.
Eau Claire Cavs' Jordan Wilson gets a base hit in the Cavs' 10-0 win over the Eau Claire Bears.
“The team never gives up, no matter what,” Cav centerfielder, Jordan Wilson, gives us the team’s mantra throughout the WBA playoffs. Before winning their first WBA state title in team history, Eau Claire was almost down and out in their very first playoff game.
“We were down 8-2, and it looked like that was it,” Matt Miller, Eau Claire’s field manager, said. “I kept telling the guys, ‘Hey, stay loose. You guys are all two-strike hitters. You don’t have to come jumping out on that first pitch.’ And they believed in themselves. Ever since that game, they’ve been believing.”
Take away that 12-8 win over the La Crescent Cardinals and the Cavs’ pitching staff was lights out: in the final 4 games of the WBA tournament, they allowed just 6 total runs, including a shutout in the state semifinal. The offense was just as good, if not better. The Cavs scored double digits in 4 of the 5 tournament games.
“The talent here is unbelievable,” Wilson said. “I’ve never been part of a group of guys that want to play for each other so bad. I’m definitely going to miss playing with this group of guys, but going out on top is definitely a good feeling.”
“A lot of young talent, college guys, who come in and challenge the older guys to stay sharp,” Tyler Hermann, Eau Claire’s third baseman, said. “1-9, we took care of it and moved runners when we needed to. We got it done.”
The WBA’s were filled with CRBL teams: 4 of the 8 squads were from the league – the Cavs, the Tilden Tigers (2nd place), the Eau Claire Bears, and the Osseo Merchants. That dominance says a lot about baseball in this part of the state.
“Baseball in the Chippewa Valley is strong. It’s been strong in the high school scene for the last 15 years, and the WBA has been represented really well by the Chippewa Valley,” Cavalier first baseman, Tom Mewhorter, said. “It just shows how strong we are.”
“It tells a lot about our league. We brought 4 teams into this, and 2 were in the finals,” Miller said. “It’s awesome. I’m proud to be a part of the CRBL and the WBA.”