By Jared Schmeltzer
On Thursday the Merrill baseball team traveled to Sun Prairie for a double header against conference foe D.C. Everest. The Bluejays struggled to put up runs against Everest as they would fall in the first game by a score of 7-0.
After sitting the Bluejay batters down in order, Everest would get the early jump on Merrill with one run in the bottom half of the inning. In the top of the second inning the Bluejays were able to string together a few hits with Chase Bonnell kick starting the offense with a one out single. Bonnell was followed up by Holden Smith who would also single, with Pierson Pyan hitting a single of his own right after. Unfortunately Merrill would not be able to capitalize on those three hits as the inning would come to an end with the bases loaded.
In the bottom half of the second Everest was able to build on their lead scoring three more runs to push the lead to 4-0. A fourth inning three run homer by Everest would be the end of the scoring for both teams as Everest took game one by a score of 7-0.
“This wasn’t one of those games where you look back and hang your head.” Comments head coach Shawn Schultz, continuing to say, “We faced one of the best pitchers in the conference from last year and we had just as many hits as Everest did, we just didn’t take advantage when we had runners on base. I don’t care if the score is seven to zero or one to zero, you can’t win if you don’t score runs.”
Chase Bonnell started on the mound for Merrill in the first game and went four innings. In those four innings Bonnell had two strikeouts, seven walks and seven earned runs given up. Alex Gehrke came in for the final two innings and struck out one and gave up two hits. On the offensive side of things Brandt Raleigh led the team with two hits in three tries. Chase Bonnell, Mason Smith and Pierson Pyan each went 1-2 at the plate, all with singles.
Everest takes game two
In the second game of the double header Everest jumped on Merrill early and never looked back as they rode a six run first inning on their way to a 10-1 win.
In the top of the first inning three walks and a few hits would spark the Everest offense for six runs to get the early jump on the Bluejays. Merrill would respond in the bottom of the third inning with one run. Kobe Blake would start the attack with a one out double to left field. Following a ground out that would advance Blake to third, a balk by the Everest pitcher would allow him to score. Everest would come right back at Merrill with one run of their own in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly ball to left field.
Everest would rally for three more runs in the top of the sixth inning to seal the deal and take the 10-1 win.
Coach Shawn Schultz said, “We struggled to throw strikes. It’s tough to win games when we walk seven guys. Our relief pitchers did a very good job though of coming in and commanding the strike zone. We did well defensively both games. We had two errors in each game but each error seemed to get corrected the next play.”
When asked about how the weather might effect the season Schultz said, “It’s going to effect our JV and JV2 teams the most, we are going to need a lot of out JV pitchers to step up and give the varsity team innings. Other than that we have been inside practicing and getting better every day, I like what I’ve been seeing from these guys.”