Merrill’s American Legion Post 46 baseball team overcame a season of frustration by putting it all together in its home tournament last weekend. The locals too home the trophy by knocking off D.C. Everest 6-5, Jefferson 6-5 and Holmen 10-3 over Friday and Saturday.
They did take a 16-11 loss to Rhinelander on Sunday after the tourney was decided.
Shoot-out with Everest
Adam Messerschmidt’s run broke open a 1-1 stalemate with Everest early in the third on Sunday afternoon. Jared Schmeltzer and Jake Anderson brought in the reinforcements with another pair in the fourth to set up Post 46 with a cozy 4-1 lead. Justin Pyan upped the ante to 5-1 with his run in the fifth. Down but far from out, Everest managed a spirited 4 run comeback effort in the seventh to tie it up at 5. Staring down the barrel of extra innings, Drew Hoff ripped a home run in the bottom of the seventh to seal the deal for Merrill.
“The Everest game was a close one.” Pyan said. “They had a grand slam at top of 7th to tie. Drew brought it home with a run to win it in bottom of 7th. That was the best game we played all year!”
EST: 010 000 4-5
MRL: 011 210 1-6
WP: Mitch Stockowitz (2H, R, K, 1ER in 1IP). Hitting: Trey Stevenson (2/2, R); Stellingworth (1/1. R); Hoff (2/4, R).
The guys found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-0 game on Saturday facing off with Jefferson. Post 164 unleashed the beast early, landing three blows in the first and pounded two more in the second.
Keenan Stellingworth finally got Post 46 on the board right away in the fourth. Ryan Golisch added another and thanks to back to back runs from Kyle Cichy and Trevor Asmundson, Merrill found themselves back in the game.
The Post 46 defense dug in to hold the Jefferson bats quiet through the seventh. Justin Pyan notched a huge run to tie it in the bottom of the seventh and Trey Stevenson’s single brought home the win.
“Jefferson is a very solid team and we ended up pulling out another close game,” Dave Pyan said. “They really went after Ryan’s (Golisch) fast ball early and got some runs on us. But then Ryan switched up his speeds and proceeded to shut them down. He had a heck of a game!.”
JFN: 320 000 0-5
MRL: 000 400 2-6
WP: Golisch (5H, 5R, 1K, BB, 5ER in 7IP). Hitting: Golisch (2/4, R); Justin Pyan (1/1. R); Stevenson (1/4, R).
Post 46 wasted no time going to work with Holmen Post 284 in their first tournament bout on Friday.
Keenan Stellingworth put Merrill on the board right away in the first and added another in the third followed by Adam Messerschmidt to secure a convincing 3-1 lead, before Holmen’s Owen Gilbertson narrowed it to 3-2 in the bottom.
Undaunted, the well oiled Edward Burns machine kept right on chugging as Stellingworth and Messerschmidt combo’d for another pair of runs in the fourth and fifth to spearhead the dominating 10-3 win.
“Holmen is a very good team and is really young this year,” Pyan adds. “The guys really wanted this win and they showed it. They came out and just smacked the ball all over the field, which really set the tone for the weekend. Something is really starting to click with these guys lately. They are really getting it, playing as a team instead of as individuals.”
HMN: 002 001 0-3
MRL: 102 340 0-10
WP:Pyan (4H, 3R, 5BB, 1ER in 7IP). Hitting: Keenan Stellingworth (3/3, 4R); Adam Messerschmidt (1/2, 3R); Pyan (3/4).
Pyan’s excitement was obvious when speaking of the team’s performance during the tournament as a whole.
“Ya know, it’s just a great feeling for me and the guys to have won three in a row, not to mention doing it at our home tournament and winning that tournament!” he said. “We knew coming into this we would have to play hard and play very well. We had some very good teams in this tournament, especially Jefferson and Holmen. We pulled out some close ones because the guys never got down on themselves or gave up. They fought from start to finish. They are proud of themselves and I’m pretty proud of them!”
Runnin’ with the Rebels
Post 46 jumped out to a commanding early lead in the Rhinelander bout, drawing first blood off a Drew Hoff double in the bottom of the first. The Rebels answered with a pair of runs in the second, and Edward Burns post fired back with a vengeance, putting up five in the second led off by another Hoff double.
Post 46’s reign was short lived as the Rebels blasted out eight in the fourth to put the game away, scoring their entire lineup top to bottom.
“This was just a fun game for us,” comments head coach Dave Pyan.
“We had already won the tournament, so we decided to give the kids who don’t normally play a whole lot, an opportunity to get on the field. But I give Rhinelander a lot of credit, they are a pretty good baseball team who knows how to hit. They hit the ball really well and had 2 home runs.”
RHN: 020 905 0-16
MRL: 150 220 1-11
LP: Kyle Cichy. Hitting: Drew Hoff (4/4, 4); Ryan Golisch (2/2, 4RBI); Keenan Stellingworth (1/3, RBI)
Edged by Point
The guys managed to hang with the ever potent Stevens Point Post 6 on Thursday, but couldn’t quite take them down, falling 9-3.
On the bright side, the Edward Burns defense managed to hold the Sixers to just 2 runs through the fourth inning, when Messerschmidt landed the first blow. Mitch Stockowitz tied it up in the fifth and Trevor Asmundsen added another to hand his team a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, that would be the last of the gas in the Post 46 tank as the Sixers cut loose with a 7 run late game melee to notch the win.
“Usually we don’t fare well with Point.” Pyan said. “But we kept going at ‘em until we ran out of gas. Point is a good team, they’re going to come at you.
“We had them for seven innings, and there is something to be said about that. The kids played well and didn’t get down on themselves. The game was a lot closer than the score reflects.”
MRL: 000 120 00
SPT: 200 000 34
LP: Bowe (4H, 2R, 1K, 2BB, 2ER in 1-1/3 IP). Hitting: Messerschmidt (1/4, R); Mitch Stockowitz (2/2), Ryan Golisch (2/4).