Season update: Merrill Girls Varsity Softball Team playing hard despite challenges
BY TINA L. SCOTT
The Merrill Girls Varsity Softball Team has been up against challenges this season. From inclement weather and scheduling changes to tough opponents determined to win, they’ve been playing hard and battling for their hard-earned wins despite some tough losses, especially early on.
On April 6, 2023, the Merrill Girls Varsity Softball Team kicked off their season with a non-conference home game against Wisconsin Rapids Assumption and ended the evening with a loss.
Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 7 @ Merrill 1
Again on April 11 the Bluejays suffered a loss at their away conference game at Stevens Point.
Merrill 5 @ Stevens Point 15
On April 14, the Merrill girls lost a home tournament game against Reedsburg. Noteable players in the game: Olivia Pierce (2H, 1 RBI) stood out on the hitting size, with Addy Schmeltzer (2 BB, 13 K) pitching.
Reedsburg 9 @ Merrill 3
On April 14, the Merrill Varsity Girls also finally got a win, this time at their away non-conference game against Antigo. Sophie Wendorf (3H, 2 singles, and a triple) made her mark, as did Lexi Ollhoff (1 H, triple, 2RBI), and Katie Heckendorf (1 H, in park home run, 1RBI) made a home run. Addy Schmeltzer (0 BB, 6 K) was on the mound. “This win was HUGE for us, in terms of seeding later in the year, as well as being kind of stung from our last game against Antigo last year where we ran out of daylight in freezing temps, this was a great redemption for us,” said Alison Krohn, Varsity Softball Coach. “Several big hits in multiple innings kept us consistent throughout the game, and our energy was great.
Merrill 7 @ Antigo 4
On April 15 the Merrill Varsity Softball Team got another win at their away non-conference game against Columbus Catholic (Marshfield).
“Dani Schielke got her first start” on the mound this game. “She pitched one time through their order,” Krohn said. Then “Addy Schmeltzer (1BB, 6K) came in and pitched the remaining four innings.”
Sophie Wendorf (4H, 1 RBI) was a heavy hitter, Emma Frazier (2H, 4RBI) stood out, and Olivia Pierce (2H, 1 in the park home run, 3 RBI) made a home run.
“Our bats really came alive for this one,” Krohn said. “We had many girls step up into roles and get hits in tight situations. We saw what our potential is for hitting and when we play pretty good defense.” And, she said, they had zero errors.
Merrill 14 @ Columbus Catholic (Marshfield) 4
On April 21, the Merrill Girls scored their third win at their away conference game against Wausau West. “The weather was really cold and snowy, but our girls had grit,” said Merrill Varsity Softball Coach. “Every time West scored, we answered back and ultimately ended up on the winning side.” Krohn said. “We had players step up all around and it was a great conference win for us.” Maddie Drew (2 BB, 1 H, 3 RBI) and Katie Heckendorf (2 BB, 1 H, 2 RBI) both stood out with their stats. Addy Schmeltzer and Mady Graap split the pitching for the game.
Merrill 10 @ Wausau West 8
On April 27, the Merrill Varsity Softball Team lost their home conference game against Marshfield.
Marshfield 15 @ Merrill 5
On May 1, the Merrill Varsity Softball Team suffered another defeat, losing their away conference game against Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
Merrill 5 @ Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 15
May 2 marked another loss for the girls in a home conference game against Stevens Point. It was a “terrible loss to SPASH,” Krohn said. “We didn’t play like ourselves.” Sophie Wendorf pitched a little more than three innings and Addy Schmeltzer pitched the remainder. Schmeltzer also got two of the six runs for Merrill.
The evening wasn’t a total wash, though, as it was Senior night on the field for the Merrill Girls. “We did honor our Seniors, Erica Arneson, Maddie Drew, Macey Weix, and Addy Schmeltzer,” she said.
Stevens Point 20 @ Merrill 6
On May 4, Merrill lost their away conference game against Wausau East
Merrill 3 @ Wausau East 6
But May 8 was a day for excitement and celebration when the Merrill Varsity Girls Softball Team came away with a home game conference win against DC Everest at the MARC, ending a bit of a losing streak. Addy Schmeltzer pitched most of the game, and Coach Krohn described it as a “huge conference win.”
“It came down to the bottom of the seventh,” she said. “We were back and forth all game, and held steady. We played good defense and chipped away at their lead little by little, all for it to come down to the last possible half inning.”
“It was so fun and the girls really needed this win!” Krohn said.
DC Everest 4 @ Merrill 5