The Bluejay girls split a double-header with Marshfield on Tuesday night at the MARC, dropping a 4-3 heartbreaker in the opener, but responding with an 8-4 triumph.
Merrill jumped out early in both games, scoring three runs in the first inning of Game 1 and four in the first set of Game 2.
“These were not our best games,” MHS coach Matt Ellenbecker said. “We came out hitting the ball as hard as we have all year. But after the first we kind of shut it down. Three runs isn’t going to win you a whole lot of games. When you score three in the first, I’m thinking we’re going to score 10 in the game.”
Marshfield was able to tie up Game 1 in the sixth inning and win it in the seventh. But Merrill backed up its early start in Game 2 with another three runs in the second. The Tigers scored twice in the fourth and twice more in the fifth, but couldn’t get any closer despite numerous baserunners.
“”It was probably our worst defensive game of the year,” Ellenbecker said. “Our infield struggled a little bit, but we made enough plays to win it.
“Chelsey LaMonica showed she can pitch at the varsity level. Makayla (Heckendorf) is still our ace, but it’s nice to have Chelsey and Moly (Schultz) to back her up.”
Merrill pounded out 11 hits in Game 2, with Leonna Ives, Starr Krenzke, Reegan Byer, Leisha Kleinschmidt and Mariah Turenne all hitting 2-for-4. Kleinschmidt ripped a two-run homer in the first and Ives and Krenzke both doubled twice. Krenzke drove in a run with each of her doubles.
LaMonica hit 2-3 in the first game as the Jays ended up with 7 hits.