After struggling for playing time with a single non-conference road meeting under their belts, the Bluejay baseball team jumped into three Valley games last week.
The boys took the field for last Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Wis. Rapids, Friday’s 8-5 victory over D.C. Everest and Saturday’s 5-2 road defeat at Wausau West.
The Jays jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first against Everest, and pushed it to 6-3 in the third.
“That was called survival of the fittest,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “When it’s cold it’s hard to get a hold of the ball, and now that they’re watching the pine tar so close we couldn’t go there.
“We out-willed them a little bit. We told the guys to dig in and play the game.”
D.C.E.– 102 100 1–5.
Merrill– 303 002 x–8.
MP: David Pophal 5 I, 5 H, 5 W, 6 K, 4 R, 2 ER; Justin Pyan 2 I, 0 H, 3 W, 1 K, 1 R, 0 ER. MH: 7 H, 7 W; Reinhardt 2-2, 2B, 2 R; Pophal 1-1, 2B; Drew Hoff 1-3, 2 RBI; Cole Gustke 1-3, 2 RBI.
The Bluejay varsity baseball team dropped a heartbreaker 5-4 game to Wisconsin Rapids in its Valley and home opener on Tuesday.
“That’s a Valley game we should have won,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “The problem is we haven’t been out a lot, because there was some indecision. We’ve got too many seniors for indecision.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how we come back from this. The kids were really focused. We’re trying to emphasize team and they’re trying to emphasize it, too.”
The Bluejays entered the top of the seventh with a 4-2 lead, but Rapids received two free passes to go with a lead-off hit and an error, and trailed 4-3 with the bases loaded. A grounder up the middle, just out of shortstop Ty Grunenwald’s reach, caromed off second base. It never left the infield, but scored the tying and eventual winning run without a play.
Mason Reinhardt led off the bottom of the seventh with a sharp single, stole second and reached third on a one-out balk. But Rapids’ reliever Gabe Stoltz ended the game with a strikeout and ground ball.
Merrill scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning with help from doubles from Reinhardt, Grunenwald and Brad Juhlke.
Wis. Rap.–100 100 3–5.
Merrill– 300 001 0–4.
MP: Juhlke 6-1/3 I, 6 H, 6 W, 5 K, 5 R, 3 ER; Brian Stockowitz 2/3 I, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K, 0 R. MH: 6 H, 1 W; Reinhardt 3-4, 2B; Juhlke 2-3, 2B, Ty Grunenwald 2B.
The Jays tied up Saturday’s game in the top of the fourth, but West tallied three over their final two at-bats to secure the win.
Merrill–001 100 0–2.
W. W.– 011 012 x–5.
MP: Stockowitz 7 I, 7 H, 2 W, 3 K, 5 R, 2 ER. MH: 6 H, 2 W; Grunenwald 2-4.