The Rhinelander High School softball team would once again split a Great Northern Conference doubleheader, this time on the road against rival Antigo on Tuesday evening at Lake Park. The Hodags edged the Robins 4-3 in the first game, but a costly sixth inning in the second game gave Antigo the 12-2 victory.
Rhinelander had a 4-0 advantage to start the first game and were able to fend off the Robins who charted three unanswered runs. RHS got on board right away in the first after Stephanie Kuester was hit by a pitch and later scored on a single from Ella Mullikin. The Hodags loaded the bases with no one out in the third and scored a pair of runs on wild pitches. Mullikin added a sacrifice fly for their fourth run.
Stephanie Kuester earned the win in the circle and only allowed two late hits for Antigo; a two-run shot from Lizzy West in the fourth and a solo homer by Kendall Smith in the sixth to bring the Robins within one run. But Kuester retired the final five batters and finished with eight strike outs.
But the second game proved to be a different story for the inconsistent Hodags. Rhinelander committed five errors in the sixth where the Robins plated eight runs after sending 10 straight batters to the plate without an out.
Smith continued to be strong at plate and connected on a three-run shot to give Antigo an early three-run advantage. Smith would also hit an RBI single in the fourth for the Robins.
Rhinelander's only scored one run in the second and third and was not enough to pull through in Game 2. Mullikin walked and scored on a groundout by Brylee Ridderbusch to put the Hodags on the board. And Cami Buchmann got on base after being hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Mullikin. Kuester pitched five innings and took the loss and was relieved by Molly Wagler in the sixth.
The Hodgas fell to 500 at 5-5 in the Great Northern Conference and are now 10-9 overall this season. Rhinelander will conclude their regular season on Thursday when they host Tomahawk for a doubleheader at Pioneer Park. WIAA playoffs will then begin Tuesday or Wednesday bases on the seeding meeting.