By Nick Beversdorf
This past Thursday saw the Bluejay batters score their first win of the season against DC Everest at home. Bluejay varsity baseball defeated Everest 7-2, generating 11 hits and committing only two errors.
The Bluejays came out swinging in the very 1st inning with Jared Schmeltzer hitting a sacrifice fly, allowing Trevor Asmundsen to score a run.
The 2nd inning saw the bulk of the runs for both teams with the Bluejays scoring four and Everest plating two. A wild pitch allowed Nick Bowe to score a run while letting Kyle Juhlke and Asmundsen advance to 3rd and 2nd bases, respectively. Both would score courtesy of a Tyler Belfiori triple to left field. Befliori would score off a Ryan Golisch grounder to 3rd base.
Everest would score two runs during the 2nd but the Bluejays would not allow any more for the rest of the game.
The Bluejays would score their last two runs of the game during the 3rd inning with Bowe scoring off a Julke line drive hit to center field. Juhlke, too, would also score off a line drive hit to center field, courtesy of Asmundsen.
The score remained 7-2 until the end of the game with both teams playing hard defense. Both Drew Hoff and Dylan Anderson led the defensive effort with five putouts each. Schmeltzer got three putouts while Belfiori, Juhlke and Bowe managed two apiece.
“It was nice to get the run in the top of the first,” comments head coach Shawn Schultz. “Trevor tagged up on a short fly ball to left and we took an early lead. Ryan held them in the bottom of the inning and we came back with four in the 2nd. Ty’s triple was huge because it was the big hit that we have been struggling to come up with, we got some great at-bats from Nick Bowe, Kyle Juhlke and Dylan Anderson in the bottom third of the order. It really helps when guys contribute from all of the spots in the lineup.”
Offensive leaders for the Bluejays include Juhlke and Asmundsen with two runs, a RBI and a walk; Bowe with two runs and a walk; and Belfiori with a run, two RBIs and a walk.
“Ryan pitched a really nice game,” Schultz adds. “We took the lead 5-0 and Everest came back with two in the bottom of the 2nd. But after that, Ryan picked up his tempo and really threw the ball with confidence. We played solid defense behind him and stayed in control of the game. We needed a win and everybody did their part on Thursday to contribute.”
Loss to Rhinelander
The success against Everest was short-lived, however, as the very next day saw the Bluejays fall back into another shut-out loss. The Bluejays lost 7-0 to Rhinelander while managing two hits and committing one error.
Rhinelander had an explosive 1st inning, scoring four out of their seven runs. A line drive to center field started the cascade of runs that Merrill just could not stop. A walk, a run scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch all contributed to a difficult first inning for the Bluejays and pitcher Tyler Belfiori.
Eventually, Belfiori and the defense settled in and held off any more runs until the top of the 4th when Rhinelander scored off a grounder to shortstop and then again off a line drive to center field. Rhinelander would score their last run off a picturesque home run hit to left field.
“We started out in the hole 4-0 and just didn’t recover,” said Schultz. “Ty struggled a little bit in the first inning but kind of found a groove after that. Everything gets magnified when you don’t score runs. We struggled to make hard contact on Friday night. Their pitcher controlled us. Trevor led off the game and pulled one down the third base line but we couldn’t scratch out another hit until the fifth.”
Although they struggled offensively, the Bluejays performed very well defensively. Ryan Golisch had an amazing game with 10 putouts out of 10 chances. Dylan Anderson and Dan Duginski had four and three putouts, respectively while Trevor Asmundsen had seven assists. On the mound, Belfiori struck out five and Jared Schmeltzer K’d one.
“Defensively, we are improving every game,” Schultz adds. “In terms of the week, our defense was solid all week and improved each game. The pitching has been solid. We just have to find a way to prevent the big inning. The defense and pitching kind of go hand in hand and we are working to continue to improve. The hitting has been inconsistent. We had a great game with the bats on Thursday night but that was sandwiched by two games where we totaled six hits. We have to continue to look for good pitches and then make hard contact. We just haven’t been able to do that game in and game out.”
Bluejay varsity baseball now sits at 1-6 overall and 1-1 in the Valley Conference. Their next game is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m. at Wausau East.
Stats provided by GameChanger.