GRAND CHUTE, Wis. — Mineral Point’s Liam Stumpf did a little bit of everything for his team during Wednesday’s WIAA Division 4 state semifinal game.
After nearly four and a half weeks away from mound, the sophomore ace pitched a gem for the undefeated Pointers, striking out 11 and allowing only a single run in five innings of work as Mineral Point defeated Belmont, 6-2, at Fox Cities Stadium.
Stumpf also got it done at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a triple and a home run while driving in three runs.
The Pointers (27-0) advanced to today’s championship game, where they will face reigning Division 3 champion Webster (29-0) at 9 a.m.
“It felt great to be back out there on the mound,” Stumpf said. “Ever since our loss at state last year, we have been working to get back here. We had more runs than hits today, but we were able to do the little things well, and that’s what we need to do to be successful.”
The Pointers were able to get runs across the plate early scoring a pair in the bottom of the first inning with RBI singles from Isaac Lindsey and Grant Bossert.
“They put the pressure on us early and we didn’t capitalize when we had opportunities. Hat’s off to Mineral Point for being the better team today,” Belmont coach Trevor Kattre said.
Errors were costly for the Braves (17-9), who committed five during the rain-filled game.
“It’s not easy to get here,” Kattre said. “This is the first time in school history for this program, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
The Pointers went up, 3-0, in the bottom of the third with a lead-off home run from Stumpf.
“We hadn’t really been hitting the ball well up to that point, so that home run was really huge for us and got our energy back up there,” Stumpf said.
Belmont, which stranded runners in the second and third innings, was able to get one across in the top of the fourth.
Riley Christensen led off the inning with a double and eventually scored on a Mineral Point throwing error to trim the deficit to 3-1. The Braves eventually loaded the bases in the inning, but Stumpf had back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
“Liam was unbelievable today,” Mineral Point coach Jordan Tibbits said. “It takes him a little bit to get in his groove, and he really found it after the fourth inning.”
Stumpf retired five straight before walking a batter and allowing a hit in the fifth. He again got himself out of the inning with a strikeout.
“Knowing my defense is behind me when I let runners get on is a pretty good feeling because I have all the confidence in the world in them,” Stumpf said.
Added Kattre: “Stumpf is great ballplayer who has a lot of potential. He threw hard today, and he is a tough pitcher to face when he’s on.”
The Pointers added a solo run in the bottom of the fifth on a Curtis Cox sacrifice bunt, and added two more in the sixth on Stumpf’s two-run triple.
The Braves scored one more in the top of the seventh on a Luke Kamps single, but again left the bases loaded. Kamps finished the game 2-for-3 for the Braves, as did Christensen.
Ethan James took the loss for Belmont, going 5 1/3 innings. He gave up four hits and six runs, only three of which were earned.
“This is what we’ve been playing for since the end of last year,” Tibbits said. “I think this is going to be one of the best Division 4 finals in my recent memory. We are ready for them.”