Legion Post 46 finishes second in Rhinelander Regional

A pair of losses to Antigo will haunt the American Legion Post 46 baseball team after last week’s Rhinelander Regional tournament.
Merrill opened with a 6-2 triumph over Minocqua on Friday, but stubbed its collective toe in Saturday’s 11-7 defeat to Antigo in the winner’s bracket final of the four-team event.
The boys redeemed themselves by eliminating their hosts in a 4-2 ballgame later Saturday, but now needing to knock off Antigo twice to advance to the Legion AA State Tournament, they fell by the same 4-2 tally on Sunday.
“The highlight was our game against Rhinelander,” Merrill manager Rob Klug said. “It was probably our best game of the year. That game especially we played hard.
“Unfortunately it was quite like that (Sunday). It puts a damper on things because I thought we were probably as good a team as Antigo. We weren’t able to put our bats in motion. For the most part they were pretty silent.”
Merrill managed just two hits in the final, an RBI double by Luke Golisch in the 3rd inning that scored John Koehler, and a run-scoring single by Michael Detert in the 6th. The latter followed walks to Jordan Burton and Golisch.
Antigo scored twice in the 1st on 3 hits, and added solo runs in the 3rd and 4th.
Alex Cordova (7 H, 2 W, 5 K, 4 R, 3 ER in 6 I) absorbed the loss.
Hodag heater
Merrill trailed Rhinelander 2-1 after the 1st, despite a Cordova walk, Golisch single and Kyle Kubichek RBI double. But Kyle Rajek never let the host team score again, meaning the 3 runs in the 3rd were plenty. An error and Burton single set up a 2-run Golisch double, and he scored on a Kubichek grounder.
“Kyle pitched an unbelievable game,” Klug said. “Dylan (Burkam) had been sick and Kyle stepped up for us.
Rajek (3 H, 2 W, 5 K, 2 ER in 7 I) struck out three straight in the 7th after a hit batter and single made it tense.
Golisch (2-3, 2-2B, 2 RBI), Kubichek (1-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Cordova (2 W, 2 R) boosted the 5-hit offense.
Big knock Minocqua
Merrill trailed 2-1 in the 5th inning of Friday’s opener, but a Michael Koppelman single, Matt Woller walk and two errors knotted it before Cordova crushed a grand slam.
“He worked a full count in his favor, got a pitch to hit and hit it hard,” Klug said.
Cordova also doubled and scored in the 1st on a Koppelman grounder to tie it at 1-1.
Cordova (2-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R), Woller (2-2) and Burton (2-3) helped Merrill reach 9 hits.
Golisch (0 H, 1 W, 4 K, 1 ER in 3 I) started, and Tim Jahnke (2 H, 3 W, 2 K, 1 ER in 4 I) won.
Bracket for winners
Antigo used trios of runs in the 1st and 3rd to forge a 6-1 lead, but Post 46 cut it to 7-5 in the 5th with help from a 2-run blast by Cordova, a Golisch hit, 3 walks and an error. Antigo answered with 4 in the bottom of the 5th on 4 hits, but Post 46 scored twice in the 6th for an 11-7 chance. They put 2 in scoring position in the 7th but they stranded.
“We were plagued with some errors, our old nemesis,” Klug said.
Golisch (10 H, 5 W, 1 K, 11 R, 8 Er in 4-2/3 I) lost, and Jahnke (1 H, 0 W, 0 K, 0 R in 1-1/3 I) relieved.
Cordova (2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Golisch (2-3), Kubichek (2-3), Burton (2-4, 2 R) boosted Merrill to 9 hits.
The tourney closed out a 9-16 season for Post 46.
“It was a tough summer,” Klug said. “At times we proved we were capable, but at times we were shown to be inadequate in certain areas-errors, inconsistency. The mental approach to the game was little too lax more often than it should have been.”

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