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Updated: May 22, 2021

Hunter Korger returns to the mound again for the Marshfield Chaparrals baseball team this season. The Chaps open their schedule Sunday afternoon at home against Merrill. (Steve Pilz file photo)

By Steve Pilz

For Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD - The 2021 edition of the Marshfield Chapparals amateur baseball team will set its sights on a return trip to the state tournament, in which they won one and lost one game last August.

“We’ve got a good core group of guys retuning, and a lot of opportunity for new guys to step up and fill roles,” said second-year manager Luke Wirtz. “I am looking forward to getting the season going and making a repeat run at the state tournament.”

Wirtz, who played collegiately at Concordia, is the longest tenured Chaparral entering his eighth season. He hit .315 last season with six doubles and 16 RBI, and will be used as a utility infielder and designated hitter.

An influx of youth starting last season, primarily from Wisconsin Rapids and named Krommenaker, has Wirtz feeling about as highly competitive as possible.

“We have a strong pitching staff and a good mix of power and speed in the line-up that should give us a chance to win every game we compete in,” continued Wirtz.

The aforementioned Krommaneker comes in the form of brothers Caleb and Nathan of Wisconsin Rapids. They’re both pitchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and will pitch and play outfield for the Chaparrals. Caleb had a .398 batting average for the Chaps last season with a homer and 16 RBI. He had a 4-0 record on the mound with two saves, 56 strikeouts and a 1.28 ERA.

Nathan was equally impressive, hitting .349 out of the leadoff spot. Wirtz emphasized that while he pitched some last season, his innings would increase this summer since he wouldn’t be pitching for Rapids’ American Legion team anymore.

Other returning players include Jason Korth of Neillsville, Shawn O’Connell of Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield’s Isaiah Baierl and Hunter Korger, Will Lee, and Bobby Pilz and Al Lalicata of Spencer.

Kurth hit .305 last season and will DH and play in the infield.

Korger, who pitched a season at UWSP, will return to mound and play first base as well. He was 1-1 as a pitcher last season with two saves, 24 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA.

O’Connell, who played at Northland College, has been the starting catcher the last two seasons.

Lee, from Park Falls, also played at Northland and was last season’s starting shortstop.

Peters, a Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln grad, pitches at Loras College. “He was one of our aces from a year ago and had a big year in college on the mound,” said Wirtz. Peters was 3-1 a season ago with a save, 49 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA.

Marshfield’s Isaiah Baierl came on strong at season’s end and finished with a .359 average. He’ll play third and outfield.

Pilz, who missed last years’ regular season before pitching two innings in the state tournament, will begin his fourth full season with 15 wins under his belt on the hill for the Chaps. Pilz, who played three years at UW-Stout, hit .378 in 2019, and will pitch and play a utility role

New faces included Marshfield’s Jacob Earll, who will catch and play some third base, Wisconsin Rapids’ Garrett Huber and Marshfield’s Brent Ystad, who will both play outfield, and Neillsville’s Cole Hediger, who will pitch and play outfield.

“The Dairyland League returns to its old format with most of the teams rejoining the league after a down year last year due to COVID,” Metz said. “We return as the defending league champions and I expect the best from every team we play against. We also have a tough non-league schedule this year with teams like Chippewa Falls, Waupaca, Plover, Osseo and Sparta, so it should make for some fun and competitive baseball.”

The Chaparrals open the season Sunday, May 23, at Jack Hackman Field at 1:30 p.m. vs. the Merrill Rangers.

Marshfield Chaparrals Baseball Schedule

Sun., May 23 MERRILL, 1:30 p.m.

Wed., May 26 CHIPPEWA FALLS, 7 p.m.

Fri., May 28 PLOVER, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., May 30 TOMAHAWK, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., June 4 at Sparta, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., June 6 at Westboro, 1:30 p.m.

Wed., June 9 WAUPACA, 7 p.m.

Fri., June 11 at Osseo, 7 p.m.

Sun., June 13 INTERWALD, 7 p.m.

Wed., June 16 EVEREST, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., June 18 at Rib Lake, 7 p.m.

Wed., June 23 PITTSVILLE, 7 p.m.

Thur., June 24 at Everest, 7 p.m.

Wed., June 30 PITTSVILLE, 7 p.m.

Mon., July 5 WAUSAU, 7 p.m.

Sat., July 10 WHITTLESEY (DH), Noon

Wed., July 14 PITTSVILLE, 7 p.m.

Sun., July 18 at Pittsville, 1:30 p.m.

Thur., July 22 at Everest, 7 p.m.

Sun., July 25 MINOCQUA, 1:30 p.m.

Wed., July 28 at Waupaca, 7 p.m.

Fri., July 30 SPARTA, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., July 31 at Medford, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Aug. 6 at Plover, 7:30 p.m.

Home games in CAPS, at Jack Hackman Field, Marshfield