The Merrill baseball team grabbed an early lead in Tuesday’s game at Athletic Park, but the visiting Tomahawk squad tied it by the second and used a three-run Lorne Ahrens’ home run in the fourth to take 5-1 advantage that would hold up for the rest of the game.
“It’s big for us,” THS coach Wes Roessler said. “We’ve been losing a few games that I thought we would win and playing close in other games. This one came into focus. We’ve got to send a statement for seeding purposes and building some momentum going into the playoffs.
“We’ve been awfully streaky with our hitting this year. It was nice to see a couple of the kids hit the ball hard.”
Ahrens also doubled on a 3-for-3 night and Bolder doubled while hitting 2-3. Tomahawk finished with seven hits.
The Bluejays scored their run on singles from Mason Reinhardt, Ty Grunewald and Alex Klug – three of the first four batters – to kick off the first inning. But Kevin Bolder struck out the next two batters to end the threat, then scattered three hits while striking out nine more over the rest of the game.
“There were no highlights,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “We’re in a rut right now. Maybe we’ve got to make some changes. I’m all for it because this isn’t working. We shouldn’t be a 6-11 team, but I don’t know if we have the will to change.
“I’ve got a (playoff) seeding meeting tomorrow. What are you going to get with a 6-11 record? You’re going to get a bus ride.”
Merrill platooned its pitchers while Bolder went the distance for Tomahawk, after missing his start against Mosinee on Monday due to rain.
“(Bolder) was excited,” Roessler said. “First thing this morning he asked, ‘Do I get to pitch?’”
Artac added, “We knew we had to pitch a bunch of guys with three more games this week. I thought Klug pitched pretty good.”
Klug allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings. Brian Stockowitz (2 I, 0 H, 2 W, 3 K, 0 R), Brad Juhlke (4 H, 2 W, 3 K, 4 R, 3 ER) and Justin Pyan (1 H, 1 K, 0 R) also pitched.