The Rhinelander High School baseball team took advantage of some early hits and Mosinee errors to earn a 3-1 win at City Park in Mosinee on Thursday. The Hodags will now advance to the the Division 2 WIAA regional semifinal on Tuesday where they will face top-seeded Medford on the road.
The difference of the night came down to the first inning where RHS plated all three of their runs. From there the Hodags used solid pitching from senior pitchers Bryce Schickert and Josh Randolph and their defense to limit the Indians to only run one in seven innings of work.
Danny Zuiker led off the game with a walk and Abe Laggis followed with a well-placed bunt. And Zuiker advanced to third base on an overthrow. Martin Hoger would drive in Rhinelander's first run with an infield hit to short. Laggis and Hoger advanced into scoring position on another erratic throw.
Liam Stevens followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in Laggis and put Rhinelander up 2-0. And Mosinee's center-fielder Ryan Walsh dropped Eric Grulke's fly ball with two-outs which allowed Hoger to score and proved to be enough offense down the stretch to hold on to the win.
From there, the Hodags' offense seem to struggle against Cole Vandehey and Ryan Walsh sat down 18 of the final 19 batters. Zuike proved to be Rhinelander's final base runner after a one-out single in the second.
Schickert walked the first two batters he faced and added another to load the bases with two outs in the first. Schickert was able to get out of the jam after Max Beste grounded out to end the threat.
The Indians again had chances in the second frame when they had two on with only one out after a base hit and an error. But Luke Spink of Mosinee hit into a fielder's choice and Shickert struck out Walsh to keep the Indians off the board.
Mosinee's only run of the night came in the fifth inning on two-outs. Trey Fitzgerald singled and Vandehey reached on error before Matt Olson connected on an RBI single. But once again Schickert limited the damage after getting Beste to fly out.
In the sixth Drake Grod singled with one out and advanced to second on a sacrifice and Mosinee hit the top of their order and Schickert was only one pitch away from his daily limit when Coach Joe Waksmonski brought in Randolph with two outs. Randolph got Spink to fly out to end the inning. RHS would hold Mosinee off in the final frame after a pop out, fly out, and ground out.
Vandehey took the loss for the Indians and allowed three runs, two earned on three hits. He walked two and struck out five. While Schickert earned the win and scattered four hits and struck out seven. Randolph earned the save after retiring four straight batters.
Rhinelander advances to the WIAA regional semifinals game on Tuesday at Medford. The Hodags and Raiders split a doubleheader early in the season and the winner will advance to the regional finals on Wednesday where they will face the winner of the Antigo/Merrill contest. First-pitch is set for 5:00PM at Raider Field.