Bluejay baseball rally fuels sweep of Tomahawk

The Tomahawk baseball team has gone through some growing pains this season, but the Hatchets had the Bluejay baseball team on the ropes in the opening game of Thursday’s double-header at Athletic Park.
Then Merrill flew off those ropes and delivered a knock-out punch. The Jays pulled that one out by a 8-7 tally, then followed it up with a 15-2 triumph.
“They played us tough that first game,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “They hit (Dylan) Burkam really well. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he hung in there. He’s a tough son-of-a-gun.”
Tomahawk knocked out 13 hits on Burkam-although the Merrill hurler did fan 12-and built a 6-1 lead through 4-1/2 innings.
But the Jays made their move with one in the fifth, and four in the 6th to tie it up at 6-6. RBI singles by Alex Ruge, Jordan Burton and Jack Osness keyed the tying rally, after an error allowed David Pophal to score in the 5th.
Tomahawk regained the edge at 7-6 in the 7th when Andy Firkus completed a 4-for-4 game with an RBI single. Burkam’s 12th K ended the threat with two on base.
In Merrill’s half of the inning, a drop of a lead-off fly ball, a Burton smash liner and Pophal getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases with one out. Osness then capped a 4-for-5 performance by smacking a two-run, walk-off liner to right center.
“We took advantage of what they offered,” Artac said. “Osness was hotter than heck that whole game.”
Burkam (13 H, 3 W, 12 K, 7 R, 6 ER in 7 I) collected the win. Firkus (13 H, 2 W, 8 R, 6 ER in 6-1/3 I) took the loss and Kory Brietzke (1 H) finished it off.
Osness (4-5, 4 RBI), Burton (3-4, 3 R), Michael Koppleman (2-4), Burkam (2B) and Golisch (2B) paced Merrill, while Firkus (4-4, 2B), Brietzke (2-4, HR, 3 RBI) and Seth Wescott (2-4) boosted Tomahawk.
Merrill struck quickly in the nightcap, knocking out four in the 1st highlighted by a two-run Golisch double and Matt Woller run-scoring single. Burton hit a two-run single after another Woller RBI hit in a five-run third that pushed the margin to 9-0.
The Hatchets got one back in the bottom of the 3rd with Clay Borchardt’s RBI single, and another in the 4th on an error, two passed balls and a wild pitch.
Alex Cordova answered with an RBI ingle in the 5th, and the Jays scored five in the 7th after two outs to punctuate the win. An RBI hit by Cordova, back-to-back homers by Burkam (two-run) and Golisch, and Burton RBI single powered the closing rally.
Golisch (4 H, 5 W, 7 K, 2 R, 1 ER in 6 I) picked up the win and Osness (1 H) finished it off.
Dylan Brietzke (7 H, 4 W, 1 K, 9 R in 3 I) received the loss, and Peter Kleinschmidt (9 H, 3 W, 3 K, 6 R in 4 I) came on.
Golisch (3-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R), Cordova (3-5), Burkam (2-3, HR), Woller (2-3, 2 SB), Mitch Sherfinski (2-3), Kubichek (2-4, 2B) and Burton (2-5, 3 RBI) amassed 16 hits.
Wescott doubled as four THS batters hit.
With the wins, Merrill improved to 10-10 overall, and were 3-7 in the Valley before Tuesday’s contest at 3-7 Wausau East. Merrill received the #11 seed for the playoffs in Sunday’s seeding meeting, and will play at Hudson on Tuesday, May 31.
Tomahawk fell to 2-15 overall and was 2-9 in the GNC. The Hatchets open the playoffs by hosting Northland Pines on Friday.
Pointed effort
The Bluejays made a tremendous attempt at a rally in Tuesday’s game with SPASH, bouncing back from a 9-0 1st-inning deficit to grab a 14-12 lead in the 6th.
But Point close out a 16-14 slugfest by knocking out four runs in the top of the 7th.
“That was a wild game,” Artac said. “It was amazing after the first (inning) how well we played them.”
Burkam hit a 2-run homer in the 4th and a 3-run shot in the 6th. Woller (3-5, 3 R, 2-5, 2-HR, 5 RBI), Koppleman (2-3, 2B, 4 RBI), Osness (2-2, 3 W), Kubichek (2-4) and Paul (1-2, 2B) powered the offense.
Golisch (7 H, 1 W, 8 R in 1/3 I), Paul (4 H, 3 W, 3 R in 3 I) and Cordova (6 H, 4 W, 3 K, 5 R, 3 ER in 3-1/3 I) pitched. Point’s Clay Giese went 3-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI.
Robin rally
The Hatchets managed just one hit against Mosinee on Monday in a 2-0 loss.
“Kory gave up nine hits but always found a way to get out of it,” THS coach Bill Turgeon said.
Brietzke (9 H, 1W, 1 K in 6 I) took the loss. Dylan Brietzke knocked a 4th-inning single for the only hit and Jones and Kleinschmidt collected walks.
Robin rally
Tomahawk dropped a 7-3 home contest to Antigo last Tuesday after taking a 3-1 lead in the 1st inning.
“Offensively we didn’t do too bad,” Turgeon said. “If we can play seven good innings of baseball we can turn this season around.”
The Red Robins scored pairs of runs in the 4th, 5th and 7th innings for the win.
Kleinschmidt (2-3), Josh DeNamur 2-4) and D. Brietzke (2B) paced THS hitting. Wescott (5 H, 5 W, 2 K, 5 R, 4 ER in 5 I) took the loss and K. Brietzke (4 H, 1 W, 1 K, 2 ER in 2 I) relieved.

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