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After a few missed opportunities and a little bit of hitting trouble, the Janesville Craig baseball team watched it all sail away Tuesday night.

Hartland Arrowhead’s Zak Karrels did the damage, sending a leadoff home run over the left-field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning of a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal.

It was Karrels’ first home run of the year, but the walk-off blast was enough to give Arrowhead a 2-1 victory over Craig for a berth in Thursday’s 6 p.m. state championship game against Waunakee (20-6).

Craig (23-6) managed only two hits in the game, none after the top of the third inning, and stranded seven runners on base over the first four innings, four of them in scoring position.

The second pitcher for Arrowhead (25-3), Derek Polczynski, entered in the fifth inning and retired each of the nine batters he faced, with four strikeouts.

Janesville Craig got on the board in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Dan Blomgren reached on a throwing error by pitcher Derek Polczynski, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out double to left-center field by clean-up hitter Noah Berghammer.

Luke Malmanger singled up the middle and Tressin Kussmaul walked in the top of the third, but two strikeouts left the runners stranded.

In the bottom of the third, the Warhawks tied the score when Luke Dubnicka singled to center and scored when Jeff Holtz hit a fly to center that couldn’t be handled, falling for an RBI double.

Craig stranded runners on second and third in the fourth inning after a pair of two-out walks and a wild pitch.

Karrels also doubled in the third inning, but was left stranded on second base. Holts also finished with two hits for Arrowhead.

Janesville Craig: 100 000 0 — 1 2 0

Hartland Arrowhead: 001 000 1 — 2 6 2

JANESVILLE CRAIG (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blomgren 3b 3-1-0-0; Campbell c 4-0-0-0; Malmanger 3-0-1-0; Berghammer ss 3-0-1-1; Kussmaul 1-0-0-0; Brennan cf 3-0-0-0; Schmaling dh 3-0-0-0; Hesseling 2b 3-0-0-0; March lf 2-0-0-0; Woelfle 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-2-1.

HARTLAND ARROWHEAD — Pulvermacher lf 3-0-1-0; Dubnicka 3b 3-1-1-0; Wohlfiel cf 2-0-0-0; Holtz c 3-0-2-1; Boray pr 0-0-0-0; Toussaint ss 2-0-0-0; Tanker f 3-0-0-0; Karrels dh 3-1-2-1; Bartolone 2b 2-0-0-0; Johnson 1b 2-0-0-0; Zeutzius p 0-0-0-0; Polczynski p 0-0-0-0. Totals 23-2-6-2.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so)JC: Woelfle (L, 6-6-2-2-1-5); HA: Zeutzius (4-2-1-0-4-4), Polczynski (W, 3-0-0-0-0-4).

None out when winning run scored. E — Bartolone, Zeutzius. 2B — Berghammer; Pulvermacher, Holtz, Karrels. HR — Karrels. SAC — Toussaint. LOB — JC 7; HA 5. WP —Zeutzius 3.


Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.