The Rhinelander High School softball team rallied back in game one against Tomahawk on Thursday to split a doubleheader at Pioneer Park. The Hodags would score two runs in the seventh to comeback to defeat the Hatchets 3-2 but that momentum quickly wore off in the second game of the evening, and Tomahawk proved to be solid at the plate and earned the 12-2 win, marking another split series for RHS this season.
Ace Stephanie Kuester broke open the pitching dual when she scored the first run of the night on a solo homer down the right field line in the third frame. But Tomahawk fought back and scored in the top of the fifth when a throw to first base was dropped on two outs, allowing Jordyn Kaminski of the Hatchets to score.
Then in the final inning, Kaminski started off with a double for Tomahawk and would score on a sacrifice fly by Courtney Theiler which would give the Hatchets a one-run advantage.
But the Hodags struck when it counted the most to answer in bottom of the seventh. With nobody on and two outs, Cami Buchmann reached on an error while Tomahawk intentionally walked Stephanie Kuester who was 3-for-3 at the plate up to that point. Mikayla Evenstad had a perfectly placed slap-blooper to shallow right down the line. Buchmann was able to beat out a throw to the plate to tie the game 2-2.
And once again, the Hatchets intentionally walked Makayla Kuester which brought sophomore Ella Mullikin up the plate. Mullikin beat out the throw on a swinging bunt down the third-base line, which allowed Stephanie Kuester to score from third, which gave the Hodags the one-run victory.
Despite five errors for Rhinelander's defense, they still charted the win with Stephanie Kuester only giving up two-hits while walking four and striking out three.
The Hodags finished with six hits off Tomahawk pitcher Rachel Dallman and scored three runs. Dallman walked four batters all intentionally and struck out 11.
But Game 2 proved to be a different story, where the Hatchets plated 10 runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings against Molly Wagler to earn the 10-run victory.
Tomahawk plated twice in the first frame and would stay ahead from that point. The Hatchets biggest inning was in the fourth when they cashed in on seven big runs to blow the game out.
Rhinelander's only two runs came from Makayla Kuester who connected on a two-RBI double in the fifth. But the Tomahawk would clench the winning run in the sixth after scoring on a wild pitch.
The Hodags earned a three-seed for the WIAA playoffs and will face sixth-seed Lakeland on Wednesday night at Pioneer Park. The winner will advance to the regional final game on Thursday that will be held in Merrill.