Merrill 10U still rolling in Little League tourney

Another solid win last Tuesday put Merrill’s 10U Little League team in great position.
The squad reached the winner’s bracket final on the District 5 tourney with the 15-2 rout of Antigo in Antigo.
That set up a Tuesday, July 19, contest in Schofield with D.C. Everest National for the catbird seat in the tournament.
“These guys play good together, that’s the biggest thing,” Merrill manager Steve Kufahl said. “We’re really impressed and pleased with the way they played.”
Merrill held a slim 1-0 lead through the 1st two innings, after a Quinn Steckbauer walk, and Hunter Hintze single and Kordell Renken RBI hit.
They pushed it to 4-0 in the 3rd, with a 3-run Renken homer, compounded by a pair of lead-off errors.
The host team appeared to be making a comeback move in the bottom of the 3rd, with three walks wrapped around an error scoring a run and leaving the bases loaded with no outs, but a pair of come-backers to the pitcher Steckbauer killed the rally. The first led to an out at the plate, while the second was turned into a 1-2-3 double play.
“Quinn has really good game instincts,” Kufahl said. “He knew what to do with the ball right away. He pitched very well.”
Merrill’s 4th took an opposite tack. After a lead-off K and runner caught stealing 3rd, Merrill sent 12 more batter to the plate, racking up 11 runs. Kole Meyer hit a 2-run single followed by run-scoring hits from Riley Anderson and Chase Bonnell. Zach Anderson doubled two home, Steckbauer singled in a score, and Hintze hit an RBI grounder that was bobbled. Then Renken drove in 2 with a triple, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to an in-the-parker.
“Kordell had a big game, 3-3 with 6 RBI’s,” Kufahl said. “He’s 5-5 with eight RBI’s and four runs in two games.”
Antigo picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the 4th, but the game ended there.
Steckbauer (1 H, 5 W, 5 K, 2 R, 0 ER in 3-2/3 I) earned the win and Anderson got the final ground out.
“The kids came to play,” Kufahl said. “They were a little confused the first inning, because the pitcher threw them a curve ball. But they settled down and everybody hit the ball well.
“Riley Anderson out in centerfield threw a guy out at the plate with a perfect throw. Course if he hadn’t gotten him we would have hollered at him for not hitting the cut-off man.”
Renken (3-3, 6 RBI, 2 R, HR, 3B), Steckbauer (2-3, 4 R), Hintze (2-4, 3 R), Zach Anderson (1-2, 3 RBI) and Meyer (1-2, 2 RBI) led the hitting.

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