By Nick Beversdorf
Merrill varsity baseball had back-to-back wins against Lakeland this past Friday. The first game saw an explosive seven-run rally in the fifth that lead to an eventual 9-3 win with Merrill recording 10 hits and committing three errors.
After two scoreless innings, Lakeland got the jump on Merrill with three runs in the top of the third. Trevor Asmundsen would score Merrill’s first run off Jared Schmeltzer’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third. After a scoreless fourth, Merrill got into a groove with seven runs in the fifth.
The rally started on a quiet note with Drew Hoff walking in Dylan Anderson. Right after, Schmeltzer would bat in Tyler Belfiori with a fly to left. Later, Troy Pike would walk in Dan Dugunksi for another run. After that Trey Seubert would drive in both Hoff and Schmeltzer with a line drive to left.
Pike would score off Anderson’s line drive to right and Belfiori would bat in Seubert with a grounder to third to end the scoring run. Merrill would get their last run of the game with Christian Kleinschmidt scoring off of Chris Kanitz’s fly to center. Lakeland would not be able to plate any more runs.
Top offensive players include Anderson (3H, 1R, 1RBI), Kleinschmidt (1H, 1R, double), Schmeltzer (2H, 1R, 2RBI), Hoff (1R, 1RBI, 2BB), Belfiori (1H, 1R, 1RBI) and Pike (1R, 1RBI, 1BB). Seubert pitched for five innings, striking out two, walking three, allowing three hits and three runs-none earned. Collin pitched the other two innings, strking out one and allowing nothing.
Fielding was lead by Ryan Golisch with eight putouts. Other fielders include Hoff (6PO), Anderson (5PO, 1A), Asmundsen (1PO, 2A), Seubert (1PO) and Nick Bowe (4A).
“We had a great start from Trey Seubert in the first game,” comments head coach Shawn Schultz. “He made his first varsity start and pitched five strong innings. We scored a bunch in the bottom of the fifth to get him the win. He did a good job of going after hitters and throwing strikes. Collin continued to pitch well in relief. He continued going after the Lakeland hitters and sealed up the win with two strong innings. The offense came alive in the fifth. We put seven on the board to secure the lead. Up and down the lineup, the bats woke up. A little success can really be contagious.”
The second game saw another late game rally, this time with Merrill getting their much-needed runs at the top of the seventh off a clutch bunt. The final score was 5-4 with Merrill generating four hits and committing one error.
Much like the first, this game started out with two scoreless innings. At the top of the third Hoff hit a triple to left allowing Asmundsen and Golisch to score. Lakeland responded with a home run that was good for two runs, tying the game. They got another run off a line drive in the fifth to gain the lead.
At the top of the seventh, with two outs on the board, Belfiori bunted the ball towards the pitcher which allowed Bowe, Hoff, and Duginski to score. Lakeland would get another home run at the bottom but it wouldn’t be enough to win.
Top offensive players include Hoff (1H, 1R, 2RBI, 1BB, triple), Bowe (1H, 1R), Asmundsen (1R, 1BB, 1SB), Duginski (1H, 1R), Golisch (1R, 3BB) and Belfiori (1H, 1RBI). Collin Grefe pitched the first five innings, striking out one, walking one, allowing six hits and three earned runs. Befliori took over for the last two innings, striking out three, walking none, allowing two hits and one earned run.
Fielding was lead by Kleinschmidt with seven putouts. Other fielders include Asmundsen (4PO, 3A), Anderson (3PO), Hoff (2PO) and Bowe (1PO, 5A).
“In the second game, Collin continued on the mound and did a great job again,” adds Schultz. “He was throwing strikes and we were making plays behind him which is a good combination. Their pitchers in both games did a good job against us. The big guy in the second game did a really nice job of getting ahead in the count and keeping us off balance. We missed some opportunities offensively but our defense and our pitching kept us close. We got to the top of the seventh and we were down one. We worked a walk and a hit batter and eventually loaded the bases. Their third baseman was playing back with two outs and the bases loaded but Ty dropped down a perfect bunt that the pitcher threw down the first base line. It was nice to get all three in to give us a little margin for error in the bottom. Ty did a real nice job finishing up the sixth and seventh for Collin. It was two nice wins because we got contributions from every guy on the team.
“We played some real good baseball this week with the exception of four innings. We continue to improve and are so close to being a really consistent team. We are hoping to finish strong this week with the two games with Rapids.”
Stats provided by GameChanger.