Bluejays cruise to win over Colby/Abby in regional semis
By Jared Schmeltzer
An 11-run third inning included a Kelsie Belfiori inside-the-park homerun as the Merrill softball team rolled to a 15-0 Division 2 regional semifinal win over Colby/Abbotsford on Monday.
Merrill scored four runs in the first inning to take the early advantage. Michelle Lahr hit a sacrifice fly and Abi Burgener smacked a two-run double and another run scored on a wild pitch.
In the third inning, a ground out for Zoe Berna scored a Bluejay runner. Later, Nicole Zoellner would ground out as well, scoring another Merrill run. With one runner on base and two outs, Belfiori hit a line drive to right field, which the Colby team couldn’t track down until Belfiori to hustle around for an inside-the-park homer. With the Jays leading 10-0, an Ally Semling double to left field scored two more runs for the Jays. With the bases loaded, two wild pitches allowed the Jays to add two more runs to their total. Bella Troyer then singled on a hard grounder to the third baseman, allowing the final run to score.
“We played a very clean game defensively,” said Merrill head coach Matthew Ellenbecker. “Courtney Krueger mowed through their batting order and Kamille Ament made a great play in the right-centerfield gap on the one ball they hit hard. Offensively we adjusted well the second time through the order,” Ellenbecker adds. “We hit the ball well in spots first time through, but we did so consistently the second time through. It was a huge positive to see those adjustments.”
The game would end there, with the Jays enforcing the mercy rule of a 15-run lead after three innings. Merrill will host the winner of Antigo and Hayward for the Regional Finals on Thursday, at 4:45 p.m.