By Jared Schmeltzer
Friday night the Merrill Rangers took on Plover and took the 7-2 loss in a game where the Rangers struggled to hit.
Plover took the lead in the fifth inning scoring three runs. Plover also scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 7-0 lead. The Rangers were able to get on the board in their half of the ninth scoring two runs. A single by Chase Nelson started the inning. Nelson advanced to second base on a wild pitch and eventually made it to third after a ground out. Another ground out was good enough to score Nelson and give Merrill their first run. Chris Grunenwald would keep the game going as he hit a two out single. Grunenwald advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored after an error by Plover to make the score 7-2.
Pitching for Merrill was Adam Messerschmidt. Messerschmidt went all nine innings striking out one, walking five, and giving up seven runs on nine hits.
Rangers take down Westboro
In Sunday’s first game in Westboro the Merrill Rangers defeated the Trojans by a score of 14-3. The Rangers took control early and held the lead for the whole game in the victory.
Merrill got the jump on Westboro in the first inning scoring one run. Adam Messerschmidt led off the inning with a single to center field. Messerschmidt stole second base to get into scoring position for Kyle McMullen who drove him in with a single to right field. The Rangers extended their lead to four in the top of the fourth inning as they scored three more runs. A walk began the inning for Merrill and was followed by a single by Chris Grunenwald to put runners on first and second. Two outs later, another walk loaded the bases for Messerschmidt who reached on an error that also score two runs. Messerschmidt would later get in a pickle which distracted the fielders enough to score the runner from third to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead. In the fifth inning Merrill was able to get another run across. A one out double by Jared Schmeltzer gave Brad Kanitz the opportunity to hit an RBI single to center field.
Westboro broke up the shut out in the bottom of the sixth inning as they scored three runs to make it a 5-3 game. The Rangers got two of those runs back in the next inning as back to back walks got a runner in scoring position early. A single by McMullen drove in the runner from second and left runners on first and third. McMullen would later steal second base allowing the runner from third to score. In the the top of the eighth inning the Rangers went off for five more runs. A walk and a sacrifice bunt got a runner on second with one out to start the inning. A single by Adam Kornhorst was good enough to drive in the runner. A single and a walk loaded the bases for McMullen who hit a grand slam over the left center field wall giving Merrill a 12-3 lead. Chris Grunenwald led off the ninth with a single to left field and was driven in by Ty Grunenwald as he hit a triple to deep center field. Drew Hoff hit a sacrifice fly ball to score Gruneneald from third, making it a 14-3 game.
Shawn Schultz started on the mound for Merrill. Schultz went six innings striking out five, walking one, and allowing three runs on eight hits. Justin Pyan threw two innings striking out one. Ty Grunenwald came in for the ninth inning and shut the door, striking out one and not allowing any hits or runs. The top hitters for Merrill include Kyle McMullen (3H, 6RBI, 1R, HR), Ty Grunenwald (2H, 1RBI, 2R, Triple) and Brad Kanitz (1H, 1RBI, 1R).
Rangers come from behind to beat Interwald
In Sunday afternoon’s game against Interwald the Merrill Rangers overcame a six-run deficit to get the 11-9 win in 10 innnigs.
Interwald got their bats going right away as they scored six runs in the first four innings to take an early 6-0 lead over Merrill. The Rangers would not go easily though as a five-run fifth inning brought them back into the game. Chris Grunenwald led off the inning with a single to center field. He was later followed by Drew Hoff who hit a single of his own to left field. Adam Messerschmidt kept the inning going with a single of his own which drove in Grunenwald from third. A single by Chase Nelson drove in Hoff and moved Messerschmidt to third where he would score on a double down the left field line by Jared Schmeltzer. Kyle McMullen was able to stay hot as he hit a two RBI single to left field making the game 6-5.
Interwald responded in the next inning scoring three runs and extending their lead to four. The Rangers were able to score one run in the seveth and another in the eighth to make it a two-run game going into the ninth inning. Merrill was able to get the lead off man on as McMullen was plunked by a pitch to start the inning. A single by Brad Kanitz was enough to get McMullen to third where he would score on a single by Chris Grunenwald. With a runner on third, Drew Hoff was able to hit a deep fly ball to left field which was enough for the runner to tag up and score to tie the game at nine. In the top of the tenth inning Messerschmidt led off with a single to left field. Nelson would move Messerschmidt over to second with a sacrifice bunt for Schmeltzer who was able to hit a line drive base hit to center field scoring the go-ahead run. The inning wouldn’t end there as McMullen hit a single moving Schmeltzer to third base. Shawn Schultz came in clutch with a single to right field scoring another run and making the score 11-9.
Justin Pyan started the game on the mound and went four innings, striking out one, walking two and allowing nine runs on 10 hits. Chase Nelson came in for the last six innings striking out eight, walking three, and not allowing a run. The Rangers as a team collected 21 hits in the game and the top hitters include Chris Grunenwald (5H, 1R), Chase Nelson (3H, 1RBI, 1R), Adam Messerschmidt (3H, 2RBI, 2R), Jared Schmeltzer (2H, 2RBI, 2R, double) and Kyle McMullen (2H, 2RBI, 1R).