GRAND CHUTE (WLUK) -- About 20 minutes after Fond du Lac beat Brookfield East 2-1 in nine innings of Tuesday's Division 1 state baseball quarterfinal Cardinals coach Marty Paulsen said, "It's another 'Holy snicker cats,' it's just crazy."
It really is.
Fond du Lac met Eau Claire North later Tuesday in a state semifinal but after completing the regular season with a 9-12 record and finishing 6-11 (9th place) in the Fox Valley Association, who saw this coming?
Tuesday, Fond du Lac and East were scoreless through seven innings as Sam Hernandez (7 innings, four hits, six strikeouts, zero runs) for the Cardinals pitched like an ace. Both teams then struck for single runs in the eighth before Drew Bonlander played the hero role.
With one out and runners on the corners, Bonlander sent a pitch to deep left-center field scoring Ben Birscbach with the winning run.
"I was thinking strike, I was thinking hit the ball, base hit," Bonlander said. "He threw it right down the middle and I swung normally. It wasn't anything special, just a normal swing."
The win brought the Cardinals to within one game of the state title game. Bonlander was confident his team could beat North.
"Anyone can win it, why not us,?" he said. "We did bad at the start of the season, but we came together as a team. We started hitting the ball, pitching, but we just started scoring runs and that helped us a lot."
The win also marked Paulsen's 600th win but like any coach he turned aside credit.
"I've never thrown a pitch, I never swung a bat, I never touched home," Paulsen said. "I've had close to 900 boys in my 51 years. It's a number, 600. I know it's a lot of wins but it's still all about the kids."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay