Rhinelander’s Walker Hartman reacts after hitting a double during a Great Northern Legion Conference baseball game against Northwoods at Stafford Field Wednesday, June 19. The Rebels scored 12 times in the first inning and beat the Eagles 17-4. (Photos by Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
Rhinelander’s Jacob Dreifuerst delivers a pitch during the first inning of a Great Northern Legion Conference baseball game against Northwoods at Stafford Field Wednesday, June 19. Dreifuerst picked up a win in his first varsity-level start, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings.
6/22/2019 7:30:00 AM Rousing Rebels Rhinelander puts up 12 runs in 1st inning, beats Northwoods 17-4
A little run support never hurts when sending a pitcher to the mound for his first varsity-level start. The Rhinelander Post 7 Rebels took that notion to the extreme Wednesday night.
The Rebels pounded out 12 runs on nine hits in the first inning, more than enough to make a winner out of Jacob Dreifuerst in a 17-4 rout over Northwoods in a Great Northern Legion Conference game at Stafford Field.
Dreifuerst, who got the ball Wednesday because the majority of Rhinelander's staff was still on Legion-mandated rest following this past weekend's Rebel Invite, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings. After keeping the Eagles off the board in the top of the first, he had plenty of runs to play with thanks to the Rebels' explosive opening inning.
"That definitely fit the bill tonight, gave him plenty of wiggle room there," Rebels manager Dan Huhnstock said.
Rhinelander batted around twice in the first inning - sending 18 batters to the plate in total. Seven of the first eight batters in the inning reached safely and scored, and Northwoods prolonged the damage with a pair of two-out errors.
Danny Zuiker, Abe Laggis and Martin Hoger all singled to lead off the home half of the first. Hoger's single plated Zuiker for the first run of the inning. Josh Randolph hit into an RBI fielder's choice and, following back-to-back walks, Payton Johnson hit a two-run double to make it 4-0.
Another run scored when Walker Hartman's fly to shallow center was dropped. Joe Schneider followed with an RBI groundout before Zuiker and Laggis came through with their second singles of the inning to make it 8-0. Randolph added a two-run single and back-to-back errors at third allowed him to score. Johnson delivered the final blow of the inning, a single up the middle, to make it 12-0.
The bats remained hot for Rhinelander a game after piling up 21 hits in a 13-5 win over Clintonville Sunday to close out the Rebel Invite.
"Hopefully we can build on that," Huhnstock said. "We had good production, solid base knocks up and down the lineup. We showed the depth of our lineup a little bit tonight, guys making good contact all night long."
The Eagles used a walk and three straight hits to plate three runs in the third, and had another three-hit streak lead to a run in the fourth, but Rhinelander's offense did not let up much, either.
Dreifuerst helped his own cause in the third, hitting an RBI double to score Liam Stevens. Hartman doubled two batters later to score Dreifuerst.
The Rebels loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth. Alex Kubeny extended the inning with an RBI walk and Hartman hit a hot shot past second to collect his second and third RBIs of the game.
Six Rebels had multi-hit nights as the team pounded out 15 hits overall. Zuiker and Laggis each had three hits while Hoger, Randolph, Johnson and Hartman had two-hit nights. Randolph, Johnson and Hartman all had three RBIs. All 11 Rebels who played reached base and 10 of them either scored a run or collected an RBI.
Dreifuerst was solid in a 70-pitch effort, walking two and striking out one. It was the senior-to-be's first start of the year. He made a relief appearance in a June 8 game at Antigo and made only two relief appearances for the Rhinelander High School baseball team this spring.
"It was a heck of a outing for him, first start," Huhnstock said. "He done a whale of a job, kept the ball around the plate pretty much all plays all night and we made some nice defensive plays behind him."
Rhinelander had a stellar defensive play in every inning of the contest. Johnson made a long running catch in the gap in left center to deny Tucker Wittkopf extra bases and get the Rebels out of the first inning. Zuiker made a long catch in the second on Patrick Heck's blooper to shallow right that was reminiscent of the catch Lucas Michlig made back in 2010 to secure the Rebels' AA state championship over Kimberly.
Rhinelander got out of the third as Hoger flagged down a fly in deep right center by Heck and threw to first to double off Wittkopf. The infield turned a double play off Stetson Flannery in the fourth after the Eagles loaded the bases with nobody out and Rhinelander turned two again after Pines got the first two runners aboard in the fifth.
"We made some nice defensive plays, I think maybe three double plays with the outfield assist double play - two in the infield and one in the outfield," Huhnstock said. "The outfielders caught some balls in the gaps too, which was nice to see."
With the pitching restrictions expired, the Rebels had a full staff - minus Dreifuerst -available to pitch Friday night in a GNLC contest against Medford that concluded after deadline. Rhinelander continues its current nine-game home stand Monday night with a non-conference contest against Tomahawk.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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