The Rhinelander High School softball team played Lakeland in a doubleheader on the road on Monday night, and each game couldn't be more opposite. The Hodags inconstancy led to suffering a 4-1 Game 1 loss and marking their first conference loss to the Thunderbirds since joining to the GNC. And then RHS bounced back in Game 1 and routed Lakeland 15-0 at Lenz Field to go 1-1 on the night.Game 1
The Hodags struggled at the plate in the first game and only collected five hits off Lakeland pitcher Tatum Morris. The Thunderbirds also were able to take advantage of Rhinelander mistakes and used eight hits to earn the three-run win.
Lakeland didn't waste anytime and plated two runs in the first inning. The first came off a pitching struggle when Britta Salquist drew a walk with the bases loaded on two outs to put the Thunderbirds on the board. The next run came when Callin Lenz scored on a wild pitch to give Lakeland an early 2-0 advantage.
Rhinelander would record their only run in the Game 1 in the fourth frame when Ella Mullikin singled and senior Hope Wissbroecker followed with a sacrifice fly to pull them within one run. But the Hodags would struggle at the plate the rest of the game and Morris retired the Hodags final 12 batters.
Lakeland added a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Morris recorded one of her three hits in the frame which included an RBI single. Molly Wagler was in the circle and loaded the bases after her sixth walk of the game. Stephanie Kuester relieved Wagler but walked Caitlin Hartigan for another run and the Thunderbirds would earn the 4-1 win.
Rhinelander was able to turn the tables against Lakeland in the second game and finally played their game where they pounded out 12 hits and routed the Thunderbirds 15-0 after invoking the 15-run mercy rule in the fourth inning.
The Hodags struck early and plated six big runs in the second frame. Brylee Ridderbusch charted a two-RBI single and Stephanie Kuester followed with one of her two doubles in the contest. Mikayla Evenstad also had an RBI single in the second and Makayla Kuester drove in another run on a ground out.
RHS would add another six runs in the third frame which included an RBI single from Stephanie Kuester as well as a two-run double by her sister Makayla Kuester. Mullikin charted an RBI single and the Hodags also scored two more runs on a Lakeland error.
Rhinelander plated three more runs in the third and would shut the game down in the fourth via the 15-run mercy rule. Another Thunderbird error and a wild pitch accounted for the first two runs of the fourth. And Mullikin ended the game after an RBI double.
Stephanie Kuester earned the shutout win and only gave up a single to Morris in the first frame. Kuester walked two and struck out five.
The Hodags still remain behind Mosinee in the conference race and are two losses behind in the standings. Rhinelander will be put to the test on Thursday afternoon when they host the Indians for a doubleheader at Pioneer Park. RHS, Antigo, and Tomahawk are all now 4-2 in the GNC while Mosinee advanced to 8-0 after sweeping Medford in a doubleheader on Tuesday.