Rangers rack up seventh straight

The Merrill Rangers notched two more wins over the weekend, including Sunday’s 3-0 Dairyland win at Phillips to hang tight to the cut-off in league standings.
The Rangers improved to 7-4 in the DL, a half-game behind Rib Lake (8-4) for the fourth and final spot in the upcoming Dairyland tournament. They need to take their remaining two contests with Minocqua (3-8) and Abbotsford (3-9), while Rib Lake needs to fall in its contest with Spirit (4-7) since Rib Lake holds the tiebreaker.
Chase Nelson pitched a complete-game shut-out.
“Chase threw the ball really well,” Merrill manager John Annis said. “He didn’t allow a baserunner to reach second base until the seventh inning. We played really good defense behind him, with no errors.”
Merrll took a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning, when Annis walked, Adam Cordova doubled to right-center and Rick Kohnhorst ripped a 2-run double to left-center. Brad Kanitz singled with two outs in the 7th and scored with help from a Nelson walk and an error.
“We apparently left our bats in our bags,” Annis said. “That was really out of character.”
Jake Schlueter singled and stranded on 2nd in the 9th for the fourth Ranger hit. Nelson walked 3 times.
Abby normal
The Rangers warmed up for that important Abbotsford contest with a 7-5 win non-league road win on Friday.
“We came out hot,” Annis said.
Merrill jumped out with 3 runs in the 1st inning with a walk and a hit batter among singles by Alex Grunenwald, Kanitz, Ty Grunenwald and Brad Mattson. Dan Stefansky would hit a lead-off single and score in both the 5th and 9th innings. Alex Grunenwald tripled to start the 7th, Stefansky singled him home and after a Kanitz sacrifice, Ty Grunenwald drove Stefansky home.
“Ty Grunenwald made his Ranger debut and was 3-for-4 with 4 RBI’s, and made some nice plays for us at shortstop,” Annis said. “He made a diving catch in foul territory. It was huge that he came.”
Grunenwald had ended his Junior Legion season the day before and played so the Rangers would have nine.
Stefansky, Kanitz and Ty Grunenwald all hit 3-4. Stefansky scored 3 times and Grunenwald doubled. Alex Grunenwald went 2-5 with the triple as Merrill finished with 14 hits.
Annis pitched the 1st 7 innings and Alex Grunenwald closed.

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