12U All-Stars still in the district hunt

The Merrill Little League 12U All-Stars showed some real character by knocking Roche a Cri out of the District Tournament on Monday with a 10-1 triumph.
They had opened the event with last Monday’s 5-3 win over Northwoods, but fell 11-1 to Rhinelander on Tuesday to drop into the second-chance bracket in the double-elimination tournament.
Merrill led just 2-1 after 2 innings, but increased the pressure with 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th and 5 in the 5th.
“I’ll tell you what, the kids had a great game,” Merrill manager Mike Schielke said. “Riley Anderson pitched a heck of a game, and all the kids hit the ball. When they did hit the ball, we had good fielding behind Riley.
“I really liked how we came together as a team. They stayed positive the whole game and once you do that you’re going to go a long ways.”
Kordell Renken ripped a solo homer in the 1st, and Anderson hit an RBI single in the 2nd. Zach Mootz bunted Quinn Steckbauer home in the 3rd, and Merrill scored back-to-back runs on a Chase Bonnell’s double and Anderson’s single in the 4th. Merrill really opened up in the 5th with a triple from Mootz, a double from Kade Bonnell, a 2-run single from Brody Gehrke and a 3-run homer from Anderson.
Anderson fired a two-hitter while striking out 12 and walking just 2. He was 3-3 with 5 RBI, and 7 other batters hit.
Up Nort
Merrill tied Northwoods 1-1 in the 3rd, then bounced back from a 3-2 deficit with 2 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th to secure the 5-3 win.
“That was our first game together as a team, and they showed me something,” Schielke said. “They played from behind two times and came out on top. They had timely hitting. That’s what you need in tight games. Our defense was solid behind Riley.”
Lead-off doubles by Hintze and Zach Anderson finished in runs in the 3rd and 4th, and a Hintze triple kicked off the 6th. Kole Meyer’s double drove in a run after Jared Ollhoff walked to start the 5th. Z. Anderson knocked Meyer home with a hit.
Anderson (4 H, 5 W, 6 K, 3 R, 1 ER in 6 I) collected the win. Hunter Hintze (3-4, 3B, 2B, 2 R), Mootz (2-4, 3B), Z. Anderson (2-2, 2B), K. Bonnell (2-2), Kole Meyer (1-2, 2B) and Renkin (2 RBI) paced Merrill to 14 hits.
Hodag thump
Rhinelander unloaded the big bats last Tuesday, scoring its first 6 runs on a trio of two-run homers, including two from #8 hitter Logan Freud.
Merrill’s only score came from an Ollhoff walk, stolen base and Gehrke RBI double in the 4th.
“Our defense played well, but our offense really struggled,” Schielke said. “We’re young. We only have four 12-year-olds. Going into this type of play you have to have a well-balanced offense and defense that can stop them.
“Now it’s one game at a time. If we can get rolling we definitely have the pitching to get through (to the state tournament). We have a tremendous amount of talent. I just wish the kids could see that. They just have to go out, have fun and let it happen. I’m waiting for them to cut loose in games.”
Merrill managed just 3 hits.
Z. Anderson (11 H, 2 W, 5 K, 11 R, 10 Er in 5 I) was saddled with the loss.

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