Little League 10U boys off and running in district tourney

Wausau National offered a formidable challenge for the Little League 10U All-Stars at Ott’s Park on Monday, and it didn’t get any easier after the Nationals scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 2-1 lead.
But if you put a challenge in front of the Merrill boys, they proved they will rise to it. They knotted the game up by the 3rd inning, and took charge of the 5-2 triumph with a 3-run 5th.
“All-around, they did a good job,” Merrill manager Steve Kufahl said. “The kids were excited about the win.
“I was proud of them, but we can do better. Where we can improve is with our bats. I don’t think we hit close to what we can.”
Merrill was limited to four hits, including a 2-2 performance by Michael Casper.
But they made the most of the limited offense, including scoring a run without a hit in the top of the 1st. After Casper and Jake Bailey walked, Casper swiped third on a wild pitch and continued home following an errant throw from the catcher.
Ty Bailey doubled in the third and scored on Casper’s first hit. Casper then doubled home a run in the 5th. After J. Bailey was hit by a pitch, a double steal put them in position to score on Cole Zimmerman’s single for the 5-2 lead.
National had squandered an opportunity in the 4th when a steal attempt after 1-out single was thwarted.
“Caleb (Gustafson) threw out the guy stealing second and put a damper on the inning for Wausau. He put the throw right where it needed to be. All (shortstop) Ty had to do was drop the glove down.”
A walk and error followed, but an infield fly shut it down.
Casper (3 H, 2 W, 6 K, 2 ER in 5-1/3 I) reached his pitch limit after striking out the 1st batter of the 6th. The next National batter ripped a triple off reliever J. Bailey, but he stranded after Bailey struck out the last two batters.
“I was impressed with their defense,” Kufahl said. “I talked to the kids a couple of times and said the defense had to be there.
“Michael pitched a good game, too.”
Kufahl likes his squad’s chances due to versatility that includes pitching arms.
“One of the things about this team is most of these guys can play just about anywhere,” he said. “Just about any of them, if I need them to throw, they can do it.”
You can’t blame the team if it was feeling a little deja vu.
“Last year we beat Wausau National in the first round of the tournament and we did it again this year,” Kufal said. “It was the same kind of game.”
Merrill faced Northwoods on Tuesday at Ott’s with a chance to reach the winner’s bracket final. After that, they would be off until at least next Monday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top