Rangers rally to 6-3 in Dairyland with hot Sunday
After hosting and taking a tough loss to Everest last Wednesday, the Rangers regrouped and decisively defeated Rib Lake 12-2 in 7 innings and Westboro 6-2 for a double header sweep in Merrill on Sunday.
Wednesday’s game against Everest started off with a bang when Chris Grunenwald hit a two-run homer over the brick wall in left field, but the Rangers couldn’t hold the lead after the Everest bats came to life. Everest was able to knock in 10 runs, making it 10-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers rallied in the ninth scoring two quick runs to make it 10-4 and making the Everest team a little nervous. Unfortunately, the rally ended there and the home team took the loss.
Luke Golisch was back on the mound for the first game on Sunday against Rib Lake and pitched what can only be called a gem. He pitched the complete game, gave up only four hits and no earned runs while striking out five. Golisch had Rib Lake on their toes the entire game and allowed the team to lay low in the sweltering heat and humidity that finally arrived for the summer.
Amazingly, everyone on the Rangers that played contributed with a hit, RBI and/or run in the 12-2 victory. Chase Nelson scored four of the runs after hitting a double and walking twice. Garrett Pagel had a huge day with three hits, a walk and an RBI. Alex Cordova and Brad Kanitz both doubled and scored while Kyle Rajek and Lucas Thiel both had clutch RBIs.
The second game of the double header was a battle. Westboro jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning but the Rangers battled back, scoring two runs in each of the next three innings. Trailing in the second inning, Pagel again had a hot bat and reached base to start things out. Kanitz followed with a walk. Jared Rothmeyer then knocked in a single and Alex Cordova crushed a double to tie the game at 2-2. With a tie game in the third inning, Golisch walked and later scored on Rajek’s line drive double. Rajek later scored to take a 4-2 lead. The next inning the Rangers were at it again and hammered in two more runs to make it 6-2 in what would be the final score in their second victory of the day.
The Rangers’ defense was also on full display on Sunday with an unorthodox double play late in the second game. A Westboro batter hit the ball deep in the hole on the left side of the field, just out of the reach of Rothmeyer at third base. Amazingly, Cordova was able to get to the ball and throw the runner out at first base. At the same time another Westboro player was digging in for third while Chase Nelson was hustling over to cover third. The ball came in from first base just in time for Chase to apply the tag to the sliding runner, ending the inning.
Shawn Schultz had excellent command all night and dominated the hitters giving up only two hits in six innings for the victory. Chase Nelson then came on for a three inning save allowing only one hit.
Ranger’s coach Johnny Annis and the rest of the team agreed that it was a fun day of baseball. All three elements of the game came together for the Rangers this weekend – hitting, pitching and defense – as they improved their record to 6-3 in the Dairyland Baseball League standings.
Playing two in a heat wave was a little out of the Rangers’ comfort zone.
“It was different,” Annis said. “It’s definitely something we’re not used to, but we adjusted to it just fine. Yes, it was very warm. The first game we had 12 guys and the second we had 13, so we had enough guys to give some of the regulars a break.”