NEW HOLSTEIN (WLUK) -- Midway through its season the Kiel baseball team had no resemblance of a team likely to make the state tournament, but then something happened.
The Raiders were 7-7, but then the season turned. Kiel won 13 of its next 14 games, including Monday's sectional final against New Holstein, and has reached the state summer baseball tournament for just the second time in program history.
"They believe in themselves, they came every day, believing that they could win games,:" coach Brad Mey said.
"Going to state means a lot and just the whole team and the city of Kiel," senior Jon Meyer said. "Forty-eight years is a long time and we did it, finally."
The postseason run Kiel (19-8) is on is surprising because every team it beat (Howards Grove, Plymouth and New Holstein) swept the Raiders during the regular season.
"About mid-season we hit a slump and after we played Plymouth, we got 10-runned," senior Trenton Nickel said. "We just decided that our bats finally came to life and pitching, we backed them up every single time. We came together as a team and got our new mantra, pound it."
"We felt confident," Meyer said. "Everything started to roll. We're having fun and that's just everything. Our bats started waking up and our defense was there."
During this run Kiel has scored at least seven runs 10 times. The Raiders got hot at the right time and now play Marquette (26-7) on Friday in a state semifinal. The other semifinal has West Bend West (31-0) playing Franklin (27-6).
"We've been on quite of a roll and it's a heck of a ride, it's a heck of an experience," Mey said. "Very proud of these guys, these young men worked really hard day in and day out and we have fun. We're totally a team. This is a team group."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay