Jays wrap up Valley second
The Bluejay baseball team assured itself of a tie for runner-up status in the Valley with last Tuesday’s 7-1 road triumph over D.C. Everest, but needed a win over league-leader SPASH on Thursday to take solo second honors.
Point– at 23-2, the top-ranked team in the state – pulled off a 6-0 win at home to close out an undefeated WVC campaign. MHS ended up knotted with Wausau West and Everest at 6-6 for second, while Marshfield and Rapids tied for fifth at just a game back.
Merrill boosted its edge to 4-0 in the top of the second inning with help from an RBI double by Mason Reinhardt and a two-run triple from Ty Grunenwald. David Pophal doubled and scored an inning later on Cole Gustke’s hit. The Jays made it 6-0 in the fifth on an Alex Klug walk, a Pophal single and a Drew Hoff RBI sac fly
In the meantime, Brian Stockowitz allowed just one fifth-inning run after a double and single.
“We played really complete against Everest,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “We hit the ball. We moved runners. We got a great pitching performance from Brian. That was a good day, because they were playing really well until that point in time.”
Merrill– 131 010 1–7.
D.C. Everest– 000 010 0–1.
MP: innings. Brian Stockowitz (7 I, 5 H, 3 W, 4 K, 1 R, 1 ER). MH: 9 H, 6 W; Reinhardt 3-4, 2-2B, 2 R; Pophal 3-3, 2B; Grunenwald 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI.
The Bluejays attempted to sully the unblemished record of Point in Thursday’s road game, but only Pophal could manage a hit against Cal Giese and Trev Anderson, a single in the fifth. He was picked off base, although both surrounding batters struck out.
Three Merrill errors led to three third-inning scores, putting MHS in a 5-0 hole.
“It was six-nothing, but if we had played without all the errors, it would have been two-nothing,” Artac said. “They’re just solid. Giese pitched a really good game. He’ll be one of the All-Conference pitchers.
“After the game, their coach said your team is as good as we’ve faced all year. If you look back, of the nine runs they gave up all year (in Valley play), we got four of them in the first meeting.
Merrill– 000 000 0–0.
SPASH– 113 100x–6.
MP: Pophal 5 h, 5 W, 3 K, 6 R, 2 ER; Brad Juhlke 1 I, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K, 0 R. MH: 1 H, 0 W, 10 K; Pophal 1-2.
The 8th-seeded Bluejays hosted #9 Wausau East in Tuesday’s regional opener. The winner goes to #1 seed Bay Port on Thursday. Bay Port (19-5) cracked the latest poll at #10 in the state in D1.