EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Eau Claire’s 19U Legion team will make their 43rd appearance at the Class 3A state tournament this weekend in Marinette. Monday night, Post 53 secured the program’s sixth straight trip to state by defeating Chippewa Falls and claiming the regional title with a 4-0 record at Casper Park.
“We’ve definitely been playing some of our best baseball as of late,” said Post 53 infielder Zac Stange. “We’ve been putting together some good games, getting hits when we need it. Getting big two out hits from guys all year. We’ve been to the state tournament before. We know what it takes. You know, we’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
Zac Stange and Jaelin Williams drove in all 5 runs for Eau Claire in the regional championship in bases loaded, two out situations. While the bats have been hot of late, Post 53’s pitching staff has been a leading force in their success this summer and heading back to state. Levi Schaller tossed a complete game shutout with 13 strikeouts in Monday’s regional title game.
“It’s a different experience every year and a different park and all that,” added Post 53 head coach Mark Faanes. “So, I’m happy for the guys that get to experience it for the first time, but it’ll be helpful that we’ve had guys that have been through it before for sure. The big thing is just to have the arms and we should be in good shape there.”
“Every at bat counts. Just got to be focusing on defense and offense,” explained Post 53 pitcher Levi Schaller. “Everyone has their part to play and I think when our guys do that we’re really hard to beat.”
With a solid batting order one through nine and a deep pitching staff, Eau Claire will be a tough out at state. Their success historically speaks for itself too. Five-time state champs and they’re looking to defend their title from last year.
“Knowing that we went 4-0. Knowing that we’re just going up from here. It’s a big confidence booster right now,” said Post 53 outfielder Jaelin Williams. “I feel like we can repeat it. I most definitely feel like we can repeat it.”
“We know that we’re going to have a very tough matchup off the bat,” added Stange. “We know that they’ll have their No. 1 going up against one of our best pitchers. It’ll be a night game, it’ll be a good atmosphere. So, I can’t wait."
Post 53 opens play against Oshkosh on Friday at 5 p.m. as they attempt to win back-to-back state championships for the first time since the 1969 and 1970 seasons.