Rangers rally over Titans to take Lincoln County ?Abe Stick?
Lincoln County’s two adult baseball teams-both on the cusp of Dairyland playoff status-met at Athletic Park late Sunday afternoon, each bound and determined to take the non-existent ‘Abe Stick.’
The Tomahawk Titans nearly grabbed that mythical ‘Abe Stick’ with a solid performance that provided a 4-0 lead as late as the middle of the seventh inning.
But the Merrill Rangers roared back in contention with a three-run seventh, powered by Dan Stefansky RBI double off the right-field fence, and a crushed Rick Kohnhorst home run to left. Adam Cordova had singled and stolen second before Stefansky’s double.
They then took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the eighth after a Chase Nelson single and a yanked line drive over the right-field fence from Cordova, a First Team All-WIAC selection from UW-LaCrosse.
“We’re starting to pull together,” Merrill John Annis said. “The guys are seeing the ball.
The 5-4 lead held up when relief pitcher Nelson fanned the final two batters after Sam Arnott had beaten out an infield single, and the Rangers had won their fifth game in a row to improve to 6-4 in the DL. They rank 5th in the DL with league road games against Phillips (5-5, July 24) and Abbotsford (3-8, July 30) and a home make-up with Minocqua (2-8, July 27) to go.
Nelson had also induced a grounder to second base after the Titans had worked a pair of two-out singles in the top of the eighth.
“We know the teams at the top are beatable,” Merrill first-baseman Dan Stefansky said. “We just want to make the playoffs and make a run, God willing.”
Tomahawk dropped to 5-6 with another close loss on the season and in the annual meeting with Merrill.
“It was a battle for Lincoln County again,” Tomahawk manager Keith Jaecks said. “It’s like this every year.
“The pitchers did their jobs. The home runs were down below their knees, but they went down and got them.
Tomahawk had scored solo runs in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th innings. Arnott reached and advanced on errors in the 1st and scored on a Cody Brietzke double. An outfield error allowed Arnott to score in the 5th, and a misjudged liner and booted grounder provided the 7th-inning tally.
Nelson hit 3-4 despite a line drive out after a borderline home run was called foul. Cordova (3-5, HR, 2 RBI), Kohnhorst (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) and Alex Grunenwald (2-5, 2B) helped Merrill reach 12 hits.
Shawn Schultz (7 H, 3 W, 6 K, 4 R, 1 ER in 8 I) started, and Nelson (3 H, 2 K, 1 R, 0 ER in 2 I) collected the win.
Arnott hit 2-5 for Tomahawk and Brietzke and Alex Henkel doubled. Brett Krull (9 H, 3 W, 4 K, 3 R, 3 ER in 7-2/3 I) started and Brietzke (3 H, 1 W, 2 K, 2 R, 2 ER in 1-1/3 I) lost.
Note: the ‘Abe Stick’ is a fictitious creation.