Merrill baseball players named to post-season teams
Three members of the MHS baseball team not only earned All-Valley honors, but each of them stepped up to the next level, collecting accolades on a higher plane.
Junior shortstop Ty Grunenwald was a unanimous First Team infield selection in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, and made the Second Team for All-District. Sophomore third-baseman Mason Reinhardt was a Second Team utility pick in the Valley and matched it in All-District voting.
Recent graduate and right-fielder Tom Zuelsdorff picked up Honorable Mention in the WVC, but the 4.0 student also earned a spot on both the All-District and All-State academic teams.
“Ty got that unanimous vote because of his hitting,” MHS coach Brian Artac said. “He had the 5th-best batting average at .441 and his on-base percentage was phenomenal at .587 (2nd in the WVC).
“He has some holes in his fielding, but he’ll keep working, I don’t have to worry about that. He has goals. He wants to succeed at the next level and he’ll work hard to get better. He’d make a heck of a catcher, although I’m not sure I can convince him to make the switch.”
Grunenwald had 15 hits and took 11 walks in the Valley. Overall, he hit .404, had a .551 OBP and slugged at a .635 clip with 4 doubles, a triple and 2 homers. He drove in 7 runs and scored a team-high 19. He led the squad with 21 hits.
Reinhardt finished 12th in WVC hitting at .375 and had an OBP of .429. He tied for 4th with 11 RBI. Overall, he hit .426, with an OBP of .518 and slugging % of .638 with 4 doubles and 2 home runs. He drove in 11 runs and scored 15.
“The only drawback for Mason was he only played nine conference games,” Artac said. “Look what he did as a sophomore, batting .426 overall and .375 in the Valley. He had some clutch hits for us, too. He beat East with a double off the wall and homered against West.
“I was surprised we hit 11 home runs this year, because you don’t hit them the same way with the BB core bats. It just shows who works in the weight room.”
Zuelsdorff batted .298 in the WVC with a .356 OBP, 8 RBI. Overall, he hit .351, had an OBP of .431, a slugging % of .491. He led the team with 18 RBI, scored 13 and hit 5 doubles and 1 home run.
“Tom is a perfect example of what happens to a person who works at something,” Artac said. “Baseball is the only sport he really stuck with. He worked to get bigger and faster. In his 60-yard dash he had to be a second faster. He beat out some infield hits that he never would have beat out last year.
“His goal was to make varsity and start and he did it. Playing last year in Legion ball really helped him.
“He also worked at his schoolwork. He got what he earned. He has a chance to get a WBCA scholarship. Only two guys, Adam Cordova and Aaron Hanson, have gotten one for us.”