Wednesday - June 14, 2017 4:18 am

Trio of area teams open state baseball tourney today

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Aquinas, Independence, West Salem all looking to get to championship

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- The semifinals of the WIAA state baseball tournament feature a trio of area teams in Aquinas, West Salem and Independence.

You'll be able to hear both the Aquinas and West Salem games on WKTY 96.7 FM/580 AM or online here.

At 1 p.m. today, Aquinas (19-10) will take the field at Fox Cities Stadium against Cumberland (18-6) in the Division 3 semifinals.

The Blugolds last made the tournament in 2015.

Twice on their road to state, Aquinas has gone to freshman pitcher Jess Ondell. He rewarded his team with two complete-game shutouts.

"It is unusual to see a freshman of his caliber to step in right away, Game 1, and earn a starting spot and have the success that he's had," Aquinas coach Scott Bagniefski said. "That is all credit to his work ethic and how he approaches the game."

Bagniefski says how the Blugolds handle the atmosphere at the stadium will determine their success.

At 6 p.m. today, West Salem will make its third consecutive appearance in the Division 2 tournament.

The Panthers (24-4) will face Beloit Turner (24-2).

West Salem came from behind in both the sectional semifinals and finals in making the tourney.

Fox Cities Stadium is home of the Milwaukee Brewers Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

If Aquinas wins, it will face either Iola-Scandinavia (17-6) or Laconia (12-11) in the championship at noon Thursday.

If West Salem wins, it will face either Mosinee (15-9) or Waupun (25-5).

Also playing in the tourney, is Independence/Gilmanton in Division 4. At 8 a.m. today, I/G (22-5) takes on Webster (21-6).

A win and it will face either Athens (19-7) or Oakfield (19-4) at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Rick Solem

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