Will Ross

Will Ross makes a catch on a fly ball during a game earlier in Waunakee’s season.

The defending champs are as hot as ever heading into the postseason.

The Waunakee baseball team carries a five-game win streak into the WIAA playoffs, winning their past four by a combined 46-7 margin. The Warriors’ final victim of the regular season was DeForest this past Tuesday.

Waunakee 12,

DeForest 6

The Warriors are dangerous two-out hitters.

DeForest discovered this the hard way, surrendering a combined nine two-out runs in the first two innings. With two outs in the first, Waunakee tacked their first seven runs on the board.

In the second, Dane Luebke scored two more two-out runs with his first homer of the season, scoring himself and Joe Hauser to make it a 9-0 game.

The Norskies responded in a big way, hitting a pair of three-run homers in the bottom of the second, cutting Waunakee’s lead to 9-6.

The duo of Caden Hough – who took the mound in the middle of the second following those home runs – and Hauser – who relieved Hough in the fifth – shut down DeForest’s offense from there. The two combined to allow just two hits and no runs in the remaining five and two thirds innings, striking out nine batters in the process.

Waunakee extended their lead in each of the fifth and sixth innings on RBI singles from Ryne Fueger and Nick Smith, pushing the lead out to 12-6.

Hauser finished the job with a flawless final two innings, allowing zero Norskies to reach base to preserve the win.

Four separate Warriors – Taiten Manriquez, Hauser, Luebke and Fueger – each recorded two hits on the day. Luebke led the team with three RBI, followed by Manriquez and Smith with two each. Ross, Nate Stevens, Hauser and Luebke each scored twice in Waunakee’s win.

The win, which ended up being Waunakee’s final game of the regular season when Friday’s home contest against Watertown got rained out, gave the Warriors a final record of 19-5 (11-2 Badger North) heading into the postseason.

Waunakee was awarded a No. 1 seed in their sectional of the WIAA playoffs, earning a first-round bye in the process. Waunakee’s first playoff contest will be on Thursday, May 30, when they’ll play the winner of Tuesday’s game between Verona and Oregon. First pitch in Waunakee is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Should the Warriors win on Thursday, they’ll advance to play at Sectionals in Middleton the following Tuesday, where two wins stand between them and a third straight trip to Fox Cities Stadium.

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