The Rhinelander Green Babe Ruth Senior would earn the top seed after defeating Merrill Gray 9-5 Monday night at Athletic Park and will advance to the title game. Eagle River will also advance to face Rhinelander Green after beating Laser Pro International in the semifinals game on Tuesday.
The Hodags would take a 5-2 lead after several Merrill errors after three innings despite not having a single hit. Rhinelander was able to hold off Merrill in a late rally to earn the four-run win.
In the second frame Walker Hartman, Teagan Guckenberg, Jordan Kuczmarski, and Ben Sinclair all walked and eventually scored with the aid of wild pitches and passed balls form Merrill’s pitching. Rhinelander would add another run from Quinn Lamers after he drew a walk and scored on yet another Merrill passed ball.
Despite the early struggle at the plate, Rhinelander finally got swinging and added some insurance runs in the final few innings. Jesse Mahner connected on an RBI single in the fifth and Hartman had an RBI groundout.
In the sixth inning, Devyn Orth would lead off with a single. Sinclair drove in Orth with another single. And Riley Lepak scored Sinclair on an infield hit.
Merrill would stay within reach early and scored twice in the third inning and once in the fifth frame. In the seventh Merrill would add a pair of runs after a pair of errors, but Rhinelander prevented any further damage to hang on for the win.
The Hodags would finish the night scoring nine runs on six hits with Kuczmarski, Lamers, Lepak, Mahner, Orth, and Sinclair each finished with one hit in the win.
Hartman started on the mound for Rhinelander and gave up two unearned runs on a hit in three innings of work and finished with six strikeouts. Mahner came in for relief and earned the win, giving up three runs all which were earned and charted six strikeouts in the final four innings.
The Hodags will face Eagle River for the fourth time this season for the Senior League championship on Wednesday night at Stafford Field. The game will begin after Rhinelander Prep’s game at 5:00PM.