GRAND CHUTE – During a six-hour rain delay of the WIAA Division 3 state semifinal, Markesan coach Dean Slark took his team back to the hotel to rest up before the Hornets took the field against Ozaukee.
But while the Hornets waited for the rain to die down and the game to start, pitcher Shane Ryan said several of his teammates told him to “just get it over with and throw a no-no.”
Once the game started, Ryan forgot about his teammates’ request until the fifth inning when his team had a double-digit lead and the Warriors still had no hits.
That’s when the idea of a no hitter seriously popped into his mind. That's when the nerves kicked in, but he pulled through to strike out the first two batters and the last one to ground out to first to allow the Hornets to defeat the Warriors 10-0 in five innings.
“I knew what was in store,” Ryan said with a smirk. “I was just trying to throw strikes and it worked out.”
Slark said that even though both teams were in the same situation during the rain delay there was still a chance the Hornets (22-5) came out sluggish. After all, they had spent so much time sitting around at the hotel.
But “these guys were chomping at the bits and were like caged animals, ready to go,” he said. “They did what they needed to do. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Ryan was especially amped up. His no-no is the first one since 2012 when Orfordville Parkview’s Jameson Lavery did it in the D3 semis against St. Mary Central in 2012. And it’s just the fifth time it’s happened in Division 3 history and 14th in all divisions.
Ryan struck out 12 Warriors (12-8) and walked just three. Two of those walks came in the second inning when Ryan put Matt Miller and Blake West on with one out. Both eventually advanced to scoring position, but Ryan struck out Logan Bell and Jacob Eibs to end the side still scoreless.
The other walk occurred in the third when No. 9 hitter Jack Genzmer was given a free base to lead off the third. Ryan made quick work after that, strinking out the next three hitters to end the inning.
“Those are momentum swings is what I kept on telling the kids,” Slark said. “I knew we could get to that pitcher.”
And the Hornets definitely got to Warriors pitcher Brent Hoffman in the bottom half of third. It all started with a lead-off single by Max Stellmacher that led to eight runs off of six hits and two Warrior errors.
“They weren’t warmed up or anything, so it really benefited us,” said Ryan who highlighted the third inning with an RBI triple to right-center. “Their pitcher threw in the pen before our game, so he was already warmed up. Then he had to sit down. It hopefully cooled him off a bit and got him stiff.”
Slark was happy to finally see the Hornets pull off a big, offensive inning. They hadn't done it in quite some time.
“It’s been maybe a month or two since we’ve had an inning like that,” Slark said. “I guess I’m glad they saved it for today. They had good at bats, capitalizing on some of their miscues. They were getting the momentum.”
The big inning gave Ryan a bit more pep in his step when he jogged to the mound to begin the fourth inning. He got Hoffman to fly out to center and then struck out both Miller and West.
“It gave me a lot of breathing room on the mound,” Ryan said. “It made it really easy.”
Stellmacher went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Ethan Augustynowicz went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for the Hornets. As a team, the Hornets scattered 12 hits on Hoffman.
“The weather conditions weren’t great tonight,” Slark said. “I told the kids to put the ball in play and they are contagious. These guys feed off one another. Once the ball started rolling, they just kept on coming in. It’s a lot of fun.”
Now the Hornets get their first opportunity to play for a D3 state title when they face Stratford Today at approximately 1:30 p.m.
“I’m going to enjoy this one for an hour or two here,” Slark said. “I’m already thinking about tomorrow. This is fun. You’ve got to enjoy these moments.”
Ryan – who was the shortstop for the Hornets as a freshman when they were at state for just the second time since 1957 – sure is ready to finally play for a state title.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done it. It feels great.”
MARKESAN 10, OZAUKEE 0 (5 INNINGS)
Ozaukee;000;00;-;0 0 3
Markesan;008;2x;-;10 11 0
Pitching (ip-h-er-bb-k): O – Brent Hoffman (L, 3.2-10-6-4-4), Noah Miller (0.1-1-0-0-0). M – Shane Ryan (W, 5-0-0-3-12).
Leading hitters (two or more hits): O – none. M – Ethan Augustynowicz 2x3, Max Stellmacher 2x2. 2B: Bryce Leedle. 3B: Shane Ryan. Errors: O – Noah Miller, Simon Bares, Blake West. LOB: O – 3, M – 5. Hit by pitch: O – none. M – Max Stellmacher. Stolen bases: O – Blake West. M – Craig Plagenz, Tristan Dillie, Ethan Augustynowicz. Caught Stealing: O – none. M – Sage Stellmacher.