The Post 46 bats came alive as Merrill hosted the Art Perkins Memorial Legion baseball tournament over the weekend. Post 46 outscored their opponents by a combined 38-27 on their way to a 3-1 showing in the tournament. By run differential, Merrill placed second in the tournament.
The tournament was an encouraging bright spot in a season where wins have been hard to come by for Post 46.
“They played much better,” said coach Don Gehrke. “They played great team baseball and hit the ball very well. They played defense as a team finally. Our starting pitchers were outstanding, going deep into their games.”
Post 46 opened their weekend by battling back against Holmen, the defending AA state champion. Facing a 10-0 deficit going into the fifth inning, Merrill came up with six runs to get back in the game. But, they couldn’t draw any closer, falling by a final 12-6 tally.
“Vinnie Gallela pitched a good game, but didn’t have much support,” Coach Gehrke noted.
Adam Detert led the offense with three hits.
On Saturday, Merrill got some sweet revenge with a come from behind walk-off 4-3 win over Stevens Point.
“Point had stomped us twice this year,” Coach Gehrke noted.
Some clutch hitting supported a complete game performance from pitcher Peyton Becker.
“That was a barn burner,” Coach Gehrke said. “Peyton Becker went the distance and only gave up three runs.”
Post 46 was trailing 3-2 going into their last at-bat. A single by Jake Bailey, followed by an RBI triple from Brody Gehrke, set the stage for the game-winning hit from Casey Hoffman.
Back in action Sunday morning, Merrill posted a 10-4 win over Medford behind the pitching of Brett Seubert and Alex Gehrke. Post 46 jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and kept Medford scoreless until the seventh inning.
Merrill closed out the tournament on a high note, 10-run ruling Everest in six innings by a final score of 18-8. Holden Smith started on the mound and Jayden Suss closed.
“Lots of triples and doubles in that one,” Coach Gehrke said. “The boys just pounded the ball.”
Brody Gehrke led Merrill with four hits and five runs scored. Adam Detert and Zach Anderson collected three hits each.
On Thursday prior to the tournament, Merrill didn’t fare as well against Wisconsin Rapids in a 12-5 loss. To save pitch counts for the weekend, Post 46 sent Seubert, Gallela, Suss and Alex Gehrke to the mound in that game.
“It was pitching by committee, and it didn’t work,” Coach Gehrke said.
Merrill faces a tough week, closing out the regular season with games against Antigo and Plover. Then it’s on to regional action.