The Merrill 12U Little League All Stars worked a 1-1 start to District 5 tournament play early last week. 
Merrill opened with a 6-4 triumph over their hosts in Rhinelander on Monday, then fell 10-1 to Wausau American the next day. 
Michael Casper finished the Rhinelander game with nine hits and two walks.
“We started a little shaky, but settled down with the bats and on defense,” Merrill manager Steve Kufahl said. “Michael pitched very well. He didn’t walk many and when he did the defense stepped up behind him.”
Merrill grabbed an early 5-0 lead, then weathered a three-run sixth for the win.
Rhinelander–   000 103–4. 
Merrill–     023 01x–6. 
MP: Casper 6 I, 9 H, 2 W, 1 K, 4 R, 4 ER. MH: 10 H; Ty Bailey 2-2, 2B, 3B, 2 R; Holden Smith 2-2, 2B; Spenser Schneider 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI.
American way
Merrill stranded bases loaded twice and left two others on third in Tuedsay’s game.
“We didn’t get a hit when we needed on is basically it,” Kufahl said. “We had plenty of hits, and guys on base every inning, but we just couldn’t move them around.
“Wausau also hit the ball well. One of the big daggers was their pitcher hit a three-run shot in the second inning.
“Our pitching struggled a little bit. We walked too many guys and the walks seemed to get us into trouble.”
Wausau’s five-run second gave a big cushion before Merrill scored its only run. American added four in the sixth.
Wausau– 100 603–11. 
Merrill– 001 000–1. 
MP: Ty Bailey, Holden Smith, Jake Bailey (combined) 6 I, 10 H, 8 W, 3 K, 10 R, 9 ER. MH: 10 H; Schneider 2-3, 2B, RBI; Holden Smith 1-3, 2B.
Merrill was rained out on Monday, but returned to Wausau on Tuesday to attempt to play again.