Crush baseball off to strong start with wins in Wisconsin

The Superior Service 14U baseball team enjoyed a strong weekend in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, last weekend. Top row (from left): Manager Andy Moyle, Joel Durocher, Vince Heinonen, Blake Heltunen, Tyler Axford, Brycyn Nettell, Davis Moyle, Luch Paoli, coach Erik Nettell, coach John Donnelly, and coach Daron Durocher. Bottom row (from left): Brady Axford, Cole Seppala, Connor Helminen, Brody Donnelly, Lukas Axford, and Benny Keranen. (Photo submitted)

This past weekend, the Copper Country Crush baseball teams got off to a fast start playing games in different locations in Wisconsin.

For a team that’s never played together, the Superior Service 14U team made it look like they’ve been together for years this past weekend as they got their season started. The Crush traveled to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for a three-day tournament this past weekend and put on a show for all those who attended.

Losing the first two games as they learned to play together, the team quickly put their talent together to win Game 3 in a 11-0 shutout against the third-seeded team.

On Sunday morning the Crush faced the second-seeded team and dispatched them, 7-4, moving on to the championship. They then topped the Wittenberg All-Star travel team 4-2 at the final.

Tournament MVP Benny Keranen put on a pitching clinic all weekend long, going 16 innings and allowing a single run. Blake Heltunen, Connor Helminen, and Brody Donnelly all took the mound and led their team to victory.

The Northwinds Adventures 12U baseball team also enjoyed a strong weekend in Wausau, Wisconsin, last weekend. Pictured (from left: Emmett Hainault, Wes Mattila, coach Steve Mattson, Liam Frick, Mason Soli, Jake Mattson, Max Bier, Tyler Jaehnig, Stuart Raisanen, Hayden Matteson, Garek Guilbault, Nate Thompson, and coach Andy Soli. (Photo submitted)

“For a team without history, and five kids that aren’t playing any ball this season other than this tournament, they played exceptionally well against teams that have been playing since April,” said manager Andy Moyle.

Aside from Keranen’s stunning pitching performance, Moyle said the team chemistry was just 100% awesome all the way.

“We had the most fun,” he said. “We played the hardest, and we won the most. Nobody stood out because every single player on the team had multiple big plays or (had) big hits. This is the most fun and the most talented team I’ve ever seen and I am proud to have been part of this.

“These kids are something special.”

The 12U Crush boys baseball team, sponsored by Northwinds Adventures, made their season debut at the Wausau East Youth Baseball Tournament this past weekend.

The Xpress Self Storage 9U baseball team did not earn a win, but still had a strong weekend in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, last weekend. Pictured in the back row (from left): Sterling Frick, Evan Ekdahl, Nolan LaTandresse, Eli Mayo, Kyler Wilson, and James Thompson. Front row (from left): Dane Guidotti, Griffin Cutsy, Carter Wiseman, and Harrison Knoch. (Photo submitted)

The Crush opened the weekend against Eau Claire Blue with Max Bier on the mound. The Crush came up short by a score of 3-2, with Hayden Matteson and Wes Mattila scoring the runs.

Eau Claire was able to get one run in each of the first three innings until the Crush tightened up the defense and went 1-2-3 in the final innings.

Matteson pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

The next matchup for the crush was against the Antigo Stallions. The Crush came out on top of a close fought 2-1 battle.

Matteson started the game, and Emmett Hainault pitched well to close the game out.

The Crush got both of their runs in the second when Tyler Jaehnig and Stuart Raisanen both scored. Antigo countered with one in the third, but could not manufacture another run against the stingy Crush defense.

The Crush went into the final game in pool play against the Marathon Red Raiders needing to win by two for a slot in the championship game. Bier again got the start with Matteson, Hainault and Garek Guilbault all making strong relief appearances.

The game was 2-2 after six innings on runs by Matteson and Jaehnig. In the top of the ninth, Raisanen had a clutch single into the gap in left to drive in Jaehnig for the lead.

Guilbault slammed the door and the Crush took a 3-2 victory, but unfortunately came up a run short of the championship game.

Coach Steve Mattson was very pleased with the pitching, fielding, and base running.

“Although the bats began to wake up on Sunday, we will need to hit more in order to win competitive tournaments like this one,” he said. “We are very proud of the way our team handled the pressure of three close games, and would have liked to take our shot at Glenwood in the championship.”

The Crush 9U baseball team, sponsored by Xpress Self Storage, traveled to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to participate in a tournament over Memorial Day Weekend, playing three games.

“Unfortunately we were not able to win one of them, but it was a positive learning experience for everyone, including us coaches,” said coach Kyle Wiseman. “It was great to see the young kids compete for the first time in a kid-pitch game, and they responded well.”

The Crush were led by stellar pitching from Dane Guidotti, James Thompson, Carter Wiseman and Kyler Wilson.

“They threw a ton of strikes, and that’s all we can ask for at this age,” Wiseman said. “We were overmatched due to age, as most of our kids are eight, but the kids came prepared and did everything coach Tim Wilson and I could ask.”

At the plate, everyone hit well. A major highlight for the Crush was James Thompson’s inside-the-park home run.

“It was a missile that got us back into the ballgame, which was a competitive 10-8 loss,” said Wiseman.

In the field, the Crush saw some spectacular plays made by Evan Ekdahl, Nolan LaTandresse, and Harrison Knoch.

“The coaches were impressed that every kid in the field looked prepared and were always on top of where the ball needed to be when it was hit to them,” Wiseman said.


The Crush 9U team traveled to Menasha, Wisconsin, this weekend to compete in an eight-team tournament.


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