Merrill baseball sweeps up north
By Andre Galella
Special to Foto News
Merrill varsity and JV baseball both traveled to Minocqua over the weekend to play in a round robin tournament, with varsity winning 6-5 and 11-3 and JV winning 3-1 and 5-0.
In the varsity games, Merrill won its opening game against Ashland as they jumped on the Ashland pitcher early for five runs in the first inning. Ashland’s starter walked four batters before Adam Detert doubled to drive in two. Trey Seubert followed with a single, driving in two more to give Merrill a 5-2 lead.
Zach Anderson pitched four innings, allowing three earned runs to get the win. Ryan Golisch pitched the final three with four strikeouts to get the save. Ashland pulled within 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh. The game ended on a controversial call at third base. With the tying run on second, the Ashland hitter singled to Ty Belfiori in center. The runner from second collided with the Merrill third baseman five feet after he rounded third. The runner still attempted to score, allowing Belfiori to throw the runner out by a wide margin at the plate. That was last out of the game. Ashland coaches protested that the runner was interfered with and was not allowed a direct path to the plate. After a long discussion, the umpires ruled the runner out, no interference, and Merrill won 6-5.
In the night cap against Chequamegon, Merrill received its seventh outstanding pitching performance of the week. Vinnie Galella won his first game of the year allowing one earned run over 6 2/3 with seven strikeouts. Pitch count did not allow him to finish the game as he came up one pitch short. Trey Seubert relieved to record the final out.
Merrill bats came alive with 10 hits. In the bottom of the second, Golisch hit a hard ball that the third baseman could not handle. Detert followed with a walk and Nick Bowe hit a rocket to the wall for a double, driving in Golisch and Detert. After a Kordell Renken walk, Anderson singled to left to drive in Bowe. Kole Meyer followed with sac fly and Merrill had a 4-0 lead, which would prove to be enough.
Golisch led the offense with three hits and two RBIs. Bowe and Anderson also had two hits. Bowe had a perfect day at the plate (2 hits, 2 walks, 2 RBI & a run scored).
Merrill varsity began their week in Athens. Anderson started on the mound and gave Merrill their first strong pitching performance of the week in the 9-5 Merrill win. Anderson pitched six innings allowing no earned runs with three strikeouts. Kole Meyer led the offense with three hits and an RBI and two runs scoured. Kobe Blake and Belfiori added two hits apiece as Merrill collected 12 hits in the victory.
These three wins were sandwiched around hone and away losses to SPASH. In the first game at Point, Brett Seubert delivered the second strong pitching performance of the week, going six innings and allowing no earned runs and only five base runners. He was baffling, throwing two-thirds of his pitches for strikes. The game was tied in the sixth at 2-2 when the Panthers put together a hit batsman and a single and a sac fly to force across the winning run. Merrill could only muster four hits, one each by Belfiori, Meyer, Golisch and Bowe.
The Bluejays did not fare so well in their home game with SPASH on Thursday, losing 13-3. Belfiori started, but only lasted 1 1/3 inning as the Point bats erupted for six hits and five runs to erase an early Merrill 2-1 lead. Blake led off the game with a walk, Dan Duginski followed with a single, Blake then scored on a wild pitch and Kole Meyer drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to give Merrill its short lived 2-1 lead.
Stevens Point would score in each of the first five innings to build commanding 13-2 lead. Merrill defense played better but pitchers gave up 13 hits in the game.
Pitching and defense is a great recipe to win baseball games. This week Merrill’s pitching was dominant at times. Anderson (twice), Seubert, Galella and Cole Zimmerman (JV) pitched at least six innings of solid baseball. Zimmerman pitched a complete game with the last pitch being the last pitch he could throw in the game.
Merrill’s varsity records now stands at 7-11.
JV falls the Point, wins up north
The Merrill JV team played two games against Stevens Point to start out the week They received two strong pitching performances from Chase Bonnell and Galella.
In Tuesday’s game at Point, Merrill’s offense put together a 20-hit performance led by Bonnell (4 hits). Holden Smith, Gehrke, Zimmerman and Galella each contributed three hits. Galella and Zimmerman combined to drive in nine runs. Galella pitched four innings, allowing one earned run with three strikeouts, but had to be taken out in the fifth inning after he exceeded his pitch count. Merrill relievers allowed five hits, 10 runs with two walks and four hit batsmen over the next two innings to let Point back in the game and win the game 15-12. The Panthers scored 10 runs in the sixth inning alone.
In the Thursday game at Merrill, the Bluejays built an early 9-0 lead, but Bonnell ran up against the pitch count rule and had to be pulled after 4 2/3. He only gave up three earned runs and struck out six. Merrill relievers in 2 1/3 gave up 10 hits and 13 runs to erase the Merrill lead. Merrill’s offense pounded out 12 hits led by Brody Gehrke, Andreou Goetsch and Chase Bonnell combining for eight hits.
The JV team also traveled to Minocqua for the weekend tournament and received two awesome pitching performances. Cole Zimmerman pitched a complete game against Ashland, a first for Merrill at any level this year throwing his last allowed pitch to strike out the last batter of the game. Zimmerman allowed four hit and one earned run with 10 strikeouts in the 3-1 win.
Merrill scored two runs in the top of the seventh on a Gehrke two-RBI triple to break up a pitchers’ duel.
Bonnell had three of Merrill’s six hits as he stayed white hot. The Merrill defense played much better behind Zimmerman who threw 65% strikes.
In the nightcap against Lakeland, Brant Raleigh threw a one-hitter for six innings giving Merrill its seventh awesome performance from the mound of the week. He struck out eight and did not allow a run. Merrill built an early 2-0 lead without getting a base hit on two walks, two errors and a sacrifice fly. They eventually won 5-0.
Zimmerman and Casey Hoffman had four hits and three RBI between them to lead the offense.
Merrill JV is 3-14 now.