top of page


Marshfield’s Nate McDonald leads off first base during the Chaparrals’ 5-4 win over Spring Valley on Saturday in a Wisconsin Baseball Association playoff game at Altoona. The Chaps play Osseo as the playoffs continue Sunday. (Photo by V. Pilz/For Zaleski Sports)

By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports

ALTOONA – The Marshfield Chaparrals amateur baseball team won their first playoff game since joining the Wisconsin Baseball Association in 2013 when they downed Spring Valley 5-4 in a Saturday afternoon contest at Cinder City Park.

The Chaparrals (11-9) will take on the winner of the Osseo on Sunday at 3 p.m. back in Altoona. Osseo beat Tomahawk 8-1 in a game that started Saturday and was finished up Sunday morning after rain stopped play in the third inning.

Both Marshfield and Spring Valley were solid both defensively and on the mound, as both starters threw zeros until the fourth.

Luke Wirtz got to Hawks’ starter Brandon Walczak when he led off the fourth with a blast over the centerfield fence, putting the Chaparrals on top 1-0.

It was Wirtz’s blast that got the Chaparrals thinking that perhaps this was their day according to player/manager Justin Rayburn.

“That was a gritty win for us,” commented Rayburn. “I think once Luke (Wirtz) hit his home run, it really ignited our offense and gave the rest of the lineup confidence.”

The Chaps’ lead lasted until the sixth when the Hawks finally got to starter Connor Jasurda.

An infield error to start the inning didn’t help Jasurda, who then recorded two fly ball outs. Three consecutive hits, one a double, spelled the end for Jasurda after 5 2/3 innings. He gave up just one earned run but still trailed 2-1. Bobby Pilz relieved Jasurda and recorded a strikeout to end the inning.

Pilz pitched a clean top of the seventh with two strikeouts and then opened the decisive home-team seventh with a lead-off single. After a couple of outs, Nate McDonald lashed a bomb over the left-centerfield fence and the Chaparrals regained the lead. They weren’t finished.

Kyle Westhuis walked and Wirtz was intentionally walked after Walczak threw him two initial balls. Hunter Korger then hit a ball deep in the hole at short and the throw to second was wide, allowing Westhuis to score. Shawn O’Connell was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Rayburn drew a bases loaded walk to put Marshfield up 5-2.

Pilz got bit by the base on balls bug in the eighth, allowing three walks and two runs before getting out of it.

With their lead down to one at 5-4 Marshfield tried to add more. Jason Kurth had a lead-off single in the eighth and McDonald got his fourth hit of the day, but the Chaps couldn’t capitalize leaving it up to Pilz to close out the ninth.

Derek Meyer had a Texas-League bleeder to shallow center, but Pilz ended the drama with a fly ball out to left, one to short, and a groun out to second base to give the Chaps their first playoff win in six seasons.

McDonald went 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs, while Wirtz was 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI. Pilz got his sixth win of the season, which leads the Chaps, against just three losses.

Chaparrals 5, Hawks 4 Spring Valley 000 002 020 – 4 7 1 Marshfield 000 100 40 – 5 10 2 WP: Bobby Pilz. LP: Brandon Walczak. SO: Walczak (6 2/3 inn.) 7, Matt Brandeen (1/3 inn.) 0, Kyle Duex (1 inn.) 2; Connor Jasurda (5 2/3 inn.) 5, Pilz (3 1/3 inn.) 4. BB: Walczak 2, Brandeen 1; Jasurda 4, Pilz 3. Top hitters: Nate McDonald 4×5, HR, 2 RBIs; Luke Wirtz 2×4, HR, RBI. Records: Spring Valley not reported; Marshfield 11-9.