By Nick Beversdorf
Bluejay varsity baseball faced off against Marshfield last night for the first round of WIAA Division Two regional games. Unfortunately, things did not go the Bluejays’ way as they lost with a final score of 10-2, mustering five hits and committing three errors.
Merrill started out on an optimistic note with a run in the first inning. Jared Schmeltzer batted in Dan Duginski with a line drive to center to gain an early one-run lead. From the bottom of the second to the top of the fourth, the game was mostly a defensive battle.
Come bottom of the fourth, Marshfield started to make significant offensive plays and produced seven runs, most from line drives and ground balls. Merrill was able to halt the runs after a pitcher change with Ryan Golisch sent to first base and Collin Grefe sent to the mound. The frame ended with a Golisch double play to Dylan Anderson.
Marshfield got another run at the bottom of the fifth and two more at the bottom of the sixth. Merrill got their only other run in the top of the seventh with Trevor Asmundsen scoring off drew Hoff’s walk.
“Disappointing.” remarks head coach Shawn Schultz. “Certainly a game we thought we had a good chance to win. We split with them during the conference season and were playing well coming in. We got off to a good start, Jared drove in Ryan to give us an 1-0 lead and Ryan was sharp early. We had the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and didn’t score. We left them loaded two other times in the game and that is really the difference. We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize. We gave up a big inning in the bottom of the fourth and just couldn’t get the big hit to drive guys in.”
“The last game of the year is always tough – whether it is in Appleton at the state tournament or in the first game of regionals. We never stopped – we had the bases loaded in the top of the 7th and pushed one across but that was it. Drew had a great night at the plate going 3-3 with a walk.”
Hoff lead the offensive effort with three hits, one RBI and one walk. Other important offensive players include Asmundsen (1H, 1R, 1BB) and Schmeltzer (1H, 1RBI). Golisch pitched the first 3.1 innings, striking out two, walking two, allowing five hits and seven earned runs. Grefe took over and pitched the next two innings, striking out none, walking two, allowing six hits and three earned runs. Kyle Juhlke finished off the game, allowing one hit and nothing else.
It was a uniform effort out on the field. Top fielders include Golisch (3PO, 1A, 1DP), Grefe (3PO, 1A), Hoff (3PO), Schmeltzer (2PO, 1A), Anderson (2PO) and Juhlke, Trey Seubert and Christian Kleinschmidt with one putout each.
“Overall, we got off to a tough start,” adds Schultz. “We had the start of the season delayed by a weather a few times and when we finally got to play, we played 4 games in 25 hours. The results early were not what we wanted as a team but we did improve. Our pitchers were pretty consistent the last 3 or 4 weeks and we were able to overcome mistakes and play solid baseball. Offensively, we developed a consistency in terms of approach and execution. Defensively, we focused on limiting extra bases and playing with confidence. Our eleven seniors did a great job of leading the team and the younger players in practice and on game day.”
“It will be tough to replace them but we worked hard this year to develop players at each level so that moving forward we have a strong group of guys that move up the ladder as they mature and we can be successful every year. It will take the same dedication and hard work that these guys put in this year for the returning guys next year. The seniors, Drew, Trevor, Jared, Collin, Dylan, Kyle, Troy, Chris, Christian, Hunter, and Christian will be missed but we have a strong group returning and look forward to seeing the younger guys mature and improve.”
Stats provided by GameChanger.