Although the Rhinelander Post 7 American Legion baseball team rallied back against Merrill in the second round of the four-team double elimination regional tournament on Thursday, they still came up short and fell 8-6 at Athletic Park.
In the first round of the tournament, Rhinelander had a tough draw and faced Antigo on Wednesday night and fell 11-1. Antigo went on to defeat Merrill on Friday and earned the regional win to advance to the state tournament in River Falls.
In Game 1, Rhinelander couldn't generate much offense and only had two hits in the loss. Antigo raced out to an early 3-0 advantage and capitalized on RBI singles from Nick Greening, A.J. Kirsch, and Jed Weix.
The Rebels would chart their only run of the game in the top of the fourth. Tyler Blomdahl led off and reached after being hit by a pitch and stole second to get into scoring position. Brad Quade drove in Blomdahl with a single, but that would be the most damage the offense would do.
But Antigo would quickly add to their two-run lead in the bottom of the fourth when they plated eight more runs. In the frame, 12 batters connected on five runs including 2-RBI's each for Matt Winter and Kirsch, and an RBI single from Ryan Brauer.
Alex Nagel pitched all five innings and earned the win for Antigo. He gave up one earned run on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Jacob DeMeyer worked the first 3 1/3 innings and charted the loss for Rhinelander. He gave up six hits for seven earned runs as well as four walks, two hit batters, and three strikeouts. Nick Spencer came in for relief and allowed four earned runs on four hits.
With the first round loss, the Rebels dropped to the losers' bracket in the four-team tournament and then faced Northwoods on Thursday, earning a 12-2 victory in six innings of action. Eagle River was then defeated by Merrill 6-1 on Friday.
In Rhinelander's only win of the tournament, they jumped on an early lead and would stay there throughout.
The Rebels plated three runs right away in the first. Brad Comer singled to load the bases. Tyler Blomdahl connected on a double and Brad Quade drew a walk. Jacob DeMeyer was hit by a pitch, allowing Comer to score. And then Nick Spencer drove in two runs on a single to give Rhinelander a 3-0 lead.
Northwoods would battle back and scored their own two runs of the game in the bottom of the first. Pitcher Spencer Huettl was hit by a pitch and Brad Sowinski singled to drive him in. Zach Neddo also singled and later scored on a fielder's choice by Nick Edwards.
Then in the second, Rhinelander would add one more run to their lead when Josh Randolph singled and was batted in by Zuiker on another single.
In the third inning, the Rebels would chart four more runs on three hits, as well as bat around the order. Tait Spencer and Quade sparked the inning with doubles and Nick Spencer connected on another single.
Rhinelander continued to cushion their lead, and found themselves ahead 9-2 in the fourth. Blomdahl started with a walk and then was able to score on a wild pitch.
In the sixth, after the Eagles changed pitchers; Rhinelander would add their final three runs of the game. Zuiker started with a double, and Comer singled to set the stage for Blomdahl, who hit a three-run homer off Sowinksi.
Comer pitched all six innings for the Rebels to earn the win. He allowed two earned runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four in the victory.
Despite a convincing second game victory, the Rebels were knocked out in their third game of the tournament. Rhinelander falling behind 8-4 at one point in the ball game, and then they made a late rally to battle back. Unfortunately that was cut short and the Rebels fell 8-6 and they would take 3rd place in the regional tournament.
Rhinelander started strong against Merrill, and Senoraske led off with a single. Comer connected on a RBI-double for the Rebel's first run. Merrill came back and tied the game in the bottom of the first.
But Rhinelander responded right back in the second and plated two more runs to regain the lead. Nick Spencer walked and would score on a sacrifice fly from Tait Spencer. DeMeyer reached on an error and was drove in on a single from Senoraske.
Zuiker started the third with a single and was able to score when Blomdahl reached on a Merrill error. Rhinelander took a 4-2 lead on the play. Quade hit into a fielder's choice before Nick Spencer walked and a single by DeMeyer loaded the bases with two outs. But a grounder from Brandon Hess would end the threat.
Three of the five Rebel errors came in the bottom of the third which help aid Merrill in their rally back and lead that they would maintain. Rhinelander trailed 7-4 to start the fourth.
In last attempt to tie the game up, DeMeyer had an RBI double to drive in Brad Quade. Josh Randolph scored Nick Spencer on a sacrifice fly. But that would be all the damage the Rebels would do, and fell two-runs short of tying the game.
Rhinelander's five errors were costly in the loss, and the Rebel’s offense also left several scoring threats stranded throughout the contest; including the bases loaded in both third and sixth frames. While Merrill would add an insurance run in the sixth when Drew Hoff singled and scored on a passed ball.
Senoraske took the loss for Rhinelander at the mound and allowed five earned runs in just over four innings of action. Nick Spencer came in for relief and finished the game.
In the loss, the Rebels had eight hits including three players with two hits each; DeMeer, Senoraske, and Zuiker. Merrill was then knocked off by Antigo on Friay in a 4-1 game. Antigo advanced to the state tournament and was undfeated in the Merrill Regional Tournament.
Rhinelander finished the summer league with a 15-7 record and the GNLC champions. They may have to share the title with Mosinee if their game with Eagle River is made up. With the Rebels rallying at the end of the season, the good news is they will return a majority of their players for the 2017 season.
The Rhinelander Post 7 American Legion baseball team made a strong push to end their regular season on a high note after sweeping Eagle River in a double header on Monday night at Stafford Field.
The Rebels started with a convincing 13-0 rout in the first game, and then followed it up with a 12-2 victory in the second game. After both wins, Rhinelander extended their winning streak to seven games and they are now 8-4 in the Great Northern Legion Conference standings. They are now 14-5 overall and after securing the wins on Monday and the Rebels will now earn at least a share of the conference title.
In a close conference race, Minocqua had a chance to also claim at least a share of the conference title, but fell 10-6 to Chequamegon, which was a game behind Rhinelander. Mosinee sits in second at 7-4 but was not able to make up a game against Eagle River Tuesday. The game could be made up after the regional tournament, but if the game is not played or they fall to the Eagles, Rhinelander would claim the title on their own.
Both teams went without a run in the first frame, and then the Rebels bats got going in the second when they plated five runs. Cole Spaulding started the rally with an RBI single to right before Easton Senoraske drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to right. Kurt Zuiker and Brad Comer had back-to-back walks.
Tyler Blomdahl gave the Rebels a 4-0 lead with a single up with the middle that scored two more runs. Brad Quade then walked to load the bases. And Brandon Hess was hit by a pitch to bring in another run. Rhinelander took a 5-0 lead.
The Rebels would add four more runs in the third, and all three hits in the frame came on their rally with two outs. Rhinelander used five straight batters who reached to continue their scoring in the third. Senoraske and Zuiker had walks and were followed by singles from Comer, Blomdahl, and Quade.
And in the fifth which proved to be the final inning of the game, and Rhineander scored four runs. Zuiker started the inning with a ground rule double to left. Comer connected on an RBI double to center that drove in Zuiker. And Comer was able to score on a wild pitch to give the Rebels an 11-0 lead.
Quade and Owen White both walked to load the bases for Nick Spencer, who had an RBI single to right. Spaulding reached on a fielder's choice. And Tait Spencer plated the final run of the inning with a single to left.
Rhinelander finished with 11 hits in Game 1 and held Eagle River to only two hits. Nick Spencer, Blomdahl, Comer, and Zuiker led the way for the Rebels and each had two hits in the first game. Zuiker along with two doubles also recorded the shutout on the mound.
The only spark the Eagles had was early in Game 2, when they took advantage of a walk and an error for a 2-1 advantage. That wouldn't last long when Rhinelander came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame and rallied to break the game away with eight runs in the third.
The third frame started with back to back walks from Comer and Quade. Nick Spencer reached on a fielder's choice to third base. And Hess and Tait Spencer then each recorded RBI singles to left field. The Rebels executed a double steal that would score another run and White walked to load the bases.
Senoraske walked to give Rhinelander a 6-2 lead. In an Eagle River attempt to pick off the steal at second bases, another Rebel run scored with Comer at the plate. Comer continued the rally with an RBI single to left. Back-to-back passed balls advanced runners and scored a run. And Quade capped of the frame with an RBI double to center right.
It was a slow fourth and fifth inning, as both teams in the game went without a run. The Eagles charted a hit a single in the fourth, but they left the runner stranded.
Rhinelander would close out the sixth with two runs to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule. Nick Spencer started with a shallow single to right field and advanced to third on an Eagle River error. Hess drove in Spencer with a single to center. And with two outs, Hess scored on an error to give the Rebels a 12-2 Game 2 win.
Comer, Hess, and Tait Spencer each charted two hits in the second game. Hess pitched all six frames; scattering four hits. In the win he walked two and struck out four.
Rhinelander will start regionals on Wednesday in Merrill. The Rebels will take on Antigo at Athletic Park in the now four-team double elimination tournament due to Minocqua dropping out. Rhinelander will then face Eagle River or Merrill on Thursday depending on their results of the Antigo game.
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