The Rhinelander High School baseball team, who was the No. 6 seed in the WIAA Division 1 tournament nearly upset No. 3 seed, De Pere on the road at the Aurora BayCare Field. But the Hodags would give up three runs in the fifth after holding an early lead to fall 4-2 and conclude their 2017 season.
The Hodags' offense got going early in the contest and would take a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Brad Quade led off, reaching on error. And Tyler Blomdahl had a two-run homer to left field off pitcher Matt Freeman of the Redbirds to spark the inning. Although RHS took a 2-0 advantage they only had one hit in the first five innings of the game.
De Pere would pull within one run in the bottom of the fourth and started with a single from Jordan Esser. He would then steal second, and with two outs Freeeman drove in Esser on a single. RHS would still hold a 2-1 lead, but that would be erased the next inning.
The Redbirds would rally back in the bottom of the fifth where they would plate three big runs to take the lead they would maintain until the end. Lucas Reynolds walked and Hunter Staniske was hit by a pitch. Jacob Enli singled to load the bases for De Pere. Esser would tie the game up 2-2 after a sacrifice fly, scoring Reynolds.
Jake Fietz of the Redbirds would connect on a two-RBI double that beat left fielder Josh Randolph and would plate De Pere's final two runs of the night.
Rhinelander had chances down the stretch to get back some runs, but things did not go their way. In the sixth Randolph was tagged out running to first on a high throw. Easton Senoraske and Jacob DeMeyer each followed with singles to get on base. But Brad Comer grounded out on a double play to third to end the threat.
DeMeyer took the loss for the Hodags, giving up three earned runs on six hits. He walked four, hit one batter, and struck out four in five innings of work. Freeman earned the win on the mound for De Pere an pitched 6 1/3 innings. He gave up two earned runs on three hits. Freeman walked one and struck out four.
The Hodags finished the season 17-6 overall and it marked the final game for seven seniors; Blomdahl, Senoraske, Oliver Ebrecht, Kaden Umland, Alec Modrow, Matt Rudolph, and Tait Spencer.
Rhinelander will see many of those seniors returning for American Legion baseball, which quickly begins on Monday. The Post 7 Rebels will host Merrill Post 46 at Stafford Field.
The Rhinelander High School baseball team started their WIAA playoff season with a dominating 12-1 victory over Green Bay Southwest on Tuesday. The Hodags rallied for 12 runs in the first three innings to earn the 11-run win in five innings in the Division 1 regional semifinal game held at Stafford Field.
Rhinelander had seven hits on the night, and took advantage of 11 walks including twice with bases loaded. The Trojans used three pitchers in the game, that also resulted in two Hodag runs on wild pitches. Another run was credited to RHS on a passed ball.
Brad Comer earned the win on the mound for Rhinelander, only allowing one earned run on three hits. The remaining four innings Comer only gave up one additional hit in the third. He walked three, while striking out two. Alec Modrow led the Hodags' offense with four RBI's in the win.
Green Bay Southwest would plate their lone run of the night in the top of the first. J.T. Bolssen singled and stole second. Marcus Rauschenbach would drive in Bolssen on a single to right, but it was all Rhinelander from there.
Starting pitcher Rauschenbach would take the loss for the Trojans, pitching 1 2/3 innings. He gave up four earned runs on four hits and added five walks.
RHS rallied for four hits and three runs in the bottom of the first to regain the lead and build from there. Easton Senoraske led off with a single up the middle and Jacob DeMeyer would drill a standup double deep to center. Brad Quade would drive in Senoraske on a groundout. And later in the frame, Cole Spaulding and Modrow each had RBI singles to give the Hodags a 3-1 lead.
Matt Rudolph started the second with a walk, and DeMeyer would reach on a fielder's choice to second. DeMeyer got into scoring position on a wild pitch. And Comer would drive in DeMeyer on a single to left, and advanced to second on the throw.
Pinch runner Tyler Olson stole third base and would score when Tyler Blomdahl reached on error. After a double steal, Spaulding walked to load the bases. Modrow would draw a walk to bring in another run to chase Rauschenbach from the mound. Blomdahl would score the final run of the second on a passed ball to give RHS a 7-1 advantage.
And the Hodags' sent 11 batters to plate in the third, and would plate five more runs off Cameron Crawford and Ian Way. RHS walked four, and Crawford struck out one. Rudolph, Senoraske, Comer, Quade, and Spaulding walked in the inning. A passed ball and wild pitch scored two runs, and Modrow had a two-RBI single up the middle on two outs to drive in Rhinelander’s final runs of the night.
Rhinelander will travel to De Pere on Thursday for the WIAA regional final contest. The Redbirds finished the Fox River Class Conference at 12-6 and are one of the top hitting teams in the conference. RHS advanced to 17-5 overall. First pitch is set for 4:30PM, as the Hodags seek an upset to advance to sectionals.
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