Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (2024)

BRUCE, Wis. — Sectional championship day has not always been a celebration for Northwood/Solon Springs.

It has often been quite painful.

In each of the last three years, Northwood/Solon Springs’ season ended in the sectional round of the playoffs, which is the doorstep of the state tournament, somewhere neither school had ever been.

“We’ve always had the state goal in mind ever since the co-op started,” senior Abe Ahlberg said. “We’ve been good the past three years, but just couldn’t get the job done. We ran into three solid teams those years.”

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (1)

Jed Carlson / Duluth Media Group

So when freshman Blaise Kidder fielded a ground ball and rifled it to first to secure the final out of Northwood/Solon Springs’ 10-2 win over Rib Lake in the Division 4 sectional championship on Tuesday, it sparked a celebration that had been pent up for years.

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As Northwood/Solon Springs players and coaches alike came pouring out of the dugout, tears of joy running down their faces, they hoisted a sectional title plaque that represents their program reaching the summit of a mountain they spent years climbing.

“Neither of these schools had been to a state baseball tournament,” Northwood/Solon Springs head coach Nate Ahlberg said. “These guys have done it because they have worked. There is no magic wand, no secret potion. They’ve done it because they have worked and put in the time.”

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (2)

Jed Carlson / Duluth Media Group

Jared Schultz was a driving force in the Green Eagles making history on Tuesday. In the morning sectional semifinal game against Washburn, Schultz tossed 6⅔ innings of no-hit baseball, which included just four walks and 11 strikeouts.

When Schultz reached his maximum pitch count, sophom*ore Isaiah Ahlberg finished off Northwood/Solon Springs’ combined no-hitter by striking out the final batter on just three pitches to secure the 3-0 win over Washburn.

“I was able to locate all of my pitches,” Schultz said. “My fastball was working and my curveball was really good today, which got me through most of the lineup. I located both, mixed them in and kept them off balance.”

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (3)

Jed Carlson / Duluth Media Group

Schultz’s lights-out performance in the semifinal contest preserved senior ace Abe Ahlberg’s arm, meaning Northwood/Solon Springs had its best pitcher fully available for the sectional title game.

Nate Ahlberg’s decision to preserve Abe Ahlberg proved immensely valuable, as Rib Lake used its top pitcher in a semifinal win against Edgar. Northwood/Solon Springs had a lopsided pitching advantage for the sectional title game, and both teams knew it.

“We needed Jared to come through in the first game so we could save Abe for the second game,” senior Alex Slivensky said. “It was humongous. Abe just made it a lot easier on us too.”

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A fully-rested Abe Ahlberg was a forced to be reckoned with against Rib Lake in the sectional title game. The senior ace sat down the first six batters he faced, four of whom he struck out.

By the time Northwood/Solon Springs recorded its final out to clinch its first state tournament berth, Abe Ahlberg had surrendered zero earned runs on two hits and a pair of walks while striking out a dozen in the blowout win.

“Nobody could touch Abe in the second game,” senior Dylan Taggart said. “That’s just what he does, so he did a great job. For us to be able to pull it off after three tough outings the past three years, it makes this very sweet.”

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Northwood/Solon Springs wins fourth-straight regional title

The Green Eagles’ 6-4 victory over Shell Lake on Wednesday evening in Solon Springs booked the program’s fourth trip to the sectional round of the postseason in as many years.

Dec 31, 1969

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By Reagan Hoverman

As dominant as Northwood/Solon Springs was on the mound, the Green Eagles couldn’t have done it without a litany of success offensively. Slivensky, the senior first baseman, led the charge, as he put together the best offensive game of his life against Rib Lake.

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (6)

Jed Carlson / Duluth Media Group

With Northwood/Solon Springs leading 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Slivensky stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. That’s when he blasted a bases-clearing double to center field that broke the game open and gave the Green Eagles an 8-2 lead.

“Alex Slivensky, holy cow,” Nate Ahlberg said. “He had a season’s worth of hits and RBIs today that — I’m glad he saved them for today, because we really needed them. That was fantastic.”

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (7)

Jed Carlson / Duluth Media Group

Slivensky finished the sectional title game 3-for-4 at the plate with a staggering six RBIs, far and away a game-high figure. He singlehandedly produced more offense than all nine of Rib Lake’s starters in the most important game of his career.

“It feels amazing and I’m super excited and stoked to go to state,” Slivensky said. “It’s about time. We made history and it feels amazing. I was crying over there.”

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State the ‘ultimate goal’ for Northwood/Solon Springs baseball

After three straight trips to sectionals, undefeated Northwood/Solon Springs looks to get over the hump this season and punch its first ticket to the state tournament.

Dec 31, 1969

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By Reagan Hoverman

Taggart recalled that before the game, Slivensky told the team they needed to bring the energy against Rib Lake. He more than delivered on his call to action.

“Alex brought the energy today,” Taggart said. “He said we were going to need all the energy today to pull it off, and he brought the energy with his bat.”

Northwood/Solon Springs, now 18-1 overall, is slated to play in the Division 4 state semifinal on the morning of Tuesday, June 11, in Appleton.

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By Reagan Hoverman

Reagan Hoverman joined the Duluth News Tribune as a sports reporter in July 2023 after spending the better part of two years covering a variety of prep and collegiate sports at the Pierce County Journal in Ellsworth, Wis. Before that, he was a news and sports reporter at the Inter-County Leader in Frederic, Wis.

Schultz, Slivensky drive Northwood/Solon Springs to history (2024)
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