Rangers romp in friendly confines of Athletic Park
The Merrill Rangers improved to 3-1 on the season with consecutive Sunday wins to follow back-to-back Wednesday wash-outs.
The Rangers outlasted Taylor County 6-5 in Rib Lake on June 9, before topping Spirit 12-6 at Athletic Park on June 16.
“Overall it was a great win,” Merrill coach John Annis said of the Spirit contest. “Our bats got hot with a lot of multi-hit games for guys. The defense was spectacular. We’re on a little streak. I hope we can keep going with it.”
Merrill took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 1st, with Alex Cordova and Brad Kanitz singles, a passed ball and bases-loaded walk to Garrett Pagel.
Spirit knotted it in the 3rd, but the Rangers blew it open with four in the 4th and six in the 5th for a 12-2 advantage. In the 4th, Cordova singled and stole his way to third to score on a Kanitz single. A Luke Golisch walk and Kyle Rajek hit loaded the bases for Chase Nelson’s sac fly RBI, and after a Pagel walk reloaded them, Lucas Thiel singled a pair home.
An error opened the 5th, Cordova singled, and Kanitz doubled two home before Golisch pounded a two-run home run. Rajek singled, Nelson doubled him in and Pagel’s grounder scored the final Merrill run.
Spirit kept the game from ending early with a pair of tallies in the 6th on a Hueckman two-run blast, and Spirit picked up a pair of unearned runs in the 7th.
Golisch fanned 11 in 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks. Four of 6 runs were earned. Annis relieved, giving up 2 hits and 1 walk in 2 innings.
“Golisch threw strikes,” Annis said.
Kanitz (4-6, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI), Cordova (4-6, 3 R, 4 SB), Rajek (3-6), Golisch (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Thiel (2-5, 2 RBI), Chris Grunenwald (2-5) and Pagel (1-2, 3 W, 2 RBI) and Nelson (1-2, 2B, 2 W) paced the Rangers to 19 hits and 5 walks.
Racing the Sausage
Merrill got up 2-0 in the Taylor County game with solo runs in the first two innings. Grunenwald singled home Tom Zuelsdorff in the 1st, and Annis walked and advanced all the way around on wild pitches in the 2nd.
An error and two walks set up the Rangers’ 3-0 lead in the 4th. Grunenwald was hit by a pitch to complete it.
But the Sausage rebounded to a 5-3 lead with two in the 4th and three in the 5th with aid from several walks.
Four walks in the 6th cut it to 5-4 and Schultz hit a sac fly RBI to knot it up. In the 8th, Grunenwald doubled, moved up on a passed ball and scored on Pagel’s double.
“That was a really good game,” Annis said.
Zach Wendorf (4 H, 10 W, 7 K, in 5 I) started and Schultz (2 H, 3 K, in 4 I) earned the win.
Grunenwald (2-3, 2 RBI), Pagel (1-2, 2B, 3 W) and Zuelsdorff (0-2, 3 W) bumped Merrill’s production to 6 hits and 10 walks.