By Jared Schmeltzer
On Friday night the Merrill baseball team played host to Pittsville at Athletic Park. Pittsville was able to build a four run lead on the Jays, however Merrill would fight back to make it a one run game before falling by a score of 5-4.
After a scoreless top of the first inning, Merrill got the early lead when Chase Bonnell got the Jays started with a single to center field. Bonnell advanced to second on an error before Piersen Pyan drove him in with another single to center. Pittsville would even things up in the top of the second inning, before scoring two more runs in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Pittsville then tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning making it a four run game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Jays rallied for three runs to make it a one run game. A walk to Bonnell followed by a Kordell Renken double would score the first run of the inning for Merrill. Kole Meyer then reached on an error, allowing Renken to score. Later Zach Anderson hit a double to center field, scoring Meyer and making it a 5-4 game.
Bonnell led the Jays’ offense, going 1-1 at the plate with a single to go along with two walks and two runs scored. Renken went 1-3 at the plate with an RBI, and a run scored. Anderson went 1-3, knocking in one run on his double. Pyan rounded out the Merrill offense, going 1-3 with an RBI.
Anderson started on the mound for Merrill and would go five and two thirds innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, striking out two batters and walking four. Brant Raleigh went one and a third innings without allowing a run on two hits, striking out one.
Merrill winless at Lakeland invite
On Saturday the Merrill baseball team traveled to Lakeland for their annual invite. The Jays struggled and were unable to come out of the invite with a win, losing their first game 7-1 to Ashland.
Ashland jumped on Merrill right away, scoring two runs in the first inning, three in the second and two more in the third. The Jays’ only run would come in the top of the third inning. After walks to Kobe Blake and Renken, Pyan singled to right field to score Blake and make the score 5-1. Unfortunately that was all the offense Merrill could muster up as they took the 7-1 loss.
Pyan led the way for the Merrill offense with one hit in three tries and an RBI.
Bonnell started on the bump for the Jays and would allow seven runs on four hits and five walks. Bonnell would strike out three batters along the way. Holden Smith came in and threw the final inning and allowed three hits but no runs.
Game two of the invite saw Merrill go up against Chequamegon. Merrill had a big fourth inning that would give them the lead, however they were unable to hold on to it as Chequamegon took the 6-5 win.
It was a well pitched game throughout the first three innings, as neither team was able to crack the scoreboard. The fourth inning would see the first runs of the game as Merrill exploded for five. Pyan led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Pyan would move to second base on a walk to Zach Anderson, and later score on a Peyton Becker single. Raleigh would then reach on an error, allowing Anderson to score. Later, Blake would double to left field scoring Becker and Raleigh to make it a 4-0 game. Bonnell followed Blake with a single to center, scoring Blake from second base.
In the top of the fifth inning Chequamegon would strike for one run to cut into the deficit. Chequamegon then rallied in the top of the sixth inning to score five runs and take the 6-5 lead on the Jays. Merrill was unable to respond in the sixth or seventh innings as Chequamegon got the come from behind win.
Bonnell led the Jays with two hits in four at bats, with one RBI. Blake drove in two runs, with one hit in four tries. Becker went 1-3 at the plate with one RBI along the way.
Smith was the starting pitcher for Merrill, going four and two thirds innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks, striking out eight batters in the game. Cole Zimmerman came in for relief and went only two thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on two hits and two walks. Becker would finish up the game, allowing one run on three hits and striking out one batter.