The American Legion Post 46 baseball team blew open a close game Monday night, taking down a 17-7 contest in five innings against Antigo, an opponent it will see in its next contest.
Antigo pulled within 6-5 with a three-run third, before the locals more than made up the difference with a bump in the third and six in the fourth for a 13-7 lead. 
When the visitors responded with two in the fifth, Merrill reached the 10-run rule by the second out in the bottom of the frame.
“The team hit well again (Monday night), pounding out 17 hits,” Merrill manager Dave Pyan said. “Tom Zuelsdorff had a huge night going 3-4 with a home run and seven RBI. (Alex) Zettler, (Seth) Collins, and (Drew) Hoff each had perfect 2-for-2 nights as well.
 “We’re still hitting the ball well, I hope the kids keep it up as we head to regionals on Friday against this same Antigo team.”
Merrill improved to 8-11 with the win.
Antigo– 104 02–7.
Merrill– 511 64–17. 
MP: Justin Pyan 4 I, 4 H, 4 W, 1 K, 5 R, 5 ER; Cole Gustke 3 H, 1 W, 1 K, 2 R, 2 ER. MH 17 H, 8 W; Tom Zuelsdorff 3-4, HR, 3 R, 7 RBI; Alex Zettler 2-2, 2B, 2 W, 3 R; David Pophal 2-2, 2B; Seth Collins 2-2, 2 R; Trey Stevenson 2-3; Brian Stockowitz 2-4; Ty Grunenwald 1-4, 3B, 2 R; Dakota Ress 01- 2 W, 2 R.
Medford drubbing

An inauspicious start was quickly forgotten under the sheer weight of runs scored in Friday’s 30-3 triumph over Medford.
“After a rough start we came back, hit the ball well and put up some big numbers,” Pyan said. “Hoff hit a home run and Dakota Ress hit two doubles and had four RBI to lead the team.
“I got a little worried when Medford scored three runs on four straight errors, but that would be all they would get as Justin (Pyan) and Cole (Gustke) one-hit them the rest of the day.”
Medford’s 3-0 lead in the top of the first became 12-3, 18-3 and 30-3 deficits by the second, third and fourth innings. 
Medford–    300 00–3.
Merrill– 2(10)6 (12)x–30. 
MP: Pyan 3 I, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K, 3 R, 0 ER; Gustke 0 H, 0 W, 1 K, 0 R. MH: 21 H, 12 W, 2 HBP, 5 K; Collins 3-3; Gustke 3-4, 2B, 4 R; Adam Messershmidt 2-2, 2 R; Stockowitz 2-3, 2B, 2 W, 4 R; Dakota Ress 2-4, 2-2B, 2 R, 4 RBI; Grunenwald 1-1, 2B, 4 W, 5 R, 2 RBI; Hoff 1-2, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI; Pophal 2-4, 3 R; Zettler 2-5, 3 R, 2 RBI; Zuelsdorff 1-2, 3 R, 3 RBI; Pyan 1-2, 3 RBI.
Home thriller

Merrill held a 4-1 lead after the second on Wednesday, but visiting Marshfield surged ahead 5-4 in the third. A solo score in the seventh made it 8-4, but Merrill battled back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Walks to Zettler and Pophal set up Grunenwald’s RBI double. Zuelsdorff’s sac fly and an error cut it to 8-7, and Gustke’s single put two one. But a strikeout and caught looping liner ended the threat.
“We played well; no errors, made contact all night, only four strikeouts, which for us is pretty good,” Pyan said. “Our hitting is starting to come around just in time for tournament play. If we can keep getting good pitching, we’ll be okay in the regional games. 
“The kids don’t give up. We’ve come back in the later innings the last four or five games when we’ve had to. We just have to put those innings together earlier in the game.”
Seven different batters had hits for Merrill.
Marshfield–   104 002 1–8.
Merrill–     040 000 3–7. 
MP: Stockowitz 6 I, 9 H, 5 W, 2 K, 7 R, 7 ER; Pyan 1 I, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K, 1 R, 1 ER. MH: 7 H, 7 W, 4 K; Pophal 1-2, 2 RBI; Stockowitz 1-2, 2 RBI.
Late loss

A four-run Wausau seventh proved to be the margin of last Tuesday’s 6-2 defeat. 
“The kids played hard tonight and had a chance to win just coming up a bit short leaving the bases loaded in the last inning,” Pyan said. “The team is starting to hit a little. If we can stop making mistakes and stay away from the big inning, we could surprise some people.
“It was a great job by Seth Collins starting for the first time in a long time. He threw hard and threw strikes. We haven’t used Seth and Gus much this year but they both pitched well.”
Wausau– 000 200 4–6. 
Merrill– 000 001 1–2.
MP: Collins 4 I, 3 H, 1 W, 4 K, 2 R, 0 ER; 3 I, 5 H, 0 W, 0 K, 4 R, 4 ER. MH: 8 H, 2 W, 3 K; Zettler 2-4; Messerschmidt 1-2, 2B.