Parker McCone and Jackson Waydick (27) celebrate with coaches after Rhinelander defeated Merrill 8-3 in a Wisconsin District 5 Little League 10U tournament game at Pride Park in Merrill Tuesday, July 9. Rhinelander moved to 2-0 in pool play with the win and clinched a spot in next week’s second round in Wausau. (Photos by Jeremy Mayo/River News)
Blake Bauer hits a two-run single in the third inning of a Wisconsin District 5 Little League 10U tournament game between Rhinelander and Merrill at Pride Park in Merrill Tuesday, July 9.
7/11/2019 7:32:00 AM Hodag 10U All-Stars advance to Week 2 of district play
MERRILL - Strong pitching and timely hitting have led the Rhinelander Little League 10U All-Star team to the second week of the Wisconsin Little League District 5 tournament.
The Hodags clinched a spot in the second week Tuesday with an 8-3 victory over hosting Merrill at Pride Park. Rhinelander and Wausau American were both 2-0 in the pool following Tuesday's action in the four-team round-robin and guaranteed to be the two teams to advance to the next round beginning July 15 at Wausau's Doepke Park.
Rhinelander shut out Antigo 4-0 to open district play Monday.
Tuesday night, the Hodags got five strong innings on the mound from Jackson Waydick and scored in each of the first four innings to build a lead they would not relinquish.
Things got going for the Hodags in the bottom of the first after Conner Rappley hit a leadoff single, stole second and beat a throw to third on a grounder by Sawyer Bishop. Abram Gretzinger then hit a hot shot past short that allowed both Rappley and Bishop to score to give Rhinelander an early 2-0 lead.
Waydick helped his own cause with a similarly hard-hit grounder past the shortstop in the second that allowed Vince White and Rappley to cross. Waydick got to third on a wild pitch and scored on Bishop's ground out back to the mound.
Merrill got a run back in the top of the third to make it 5-1, but pinch hitter Blake Bauer came up with a big hit in the Hodags' half of the inning - a two-out, two-run single to left that scored Walter Denman and Aiden Lueder. Gretzinger doubled and scored on a Parker McCone base hit in the fourth to make it 8-1.
Merrill tried to rally, scoring two in the fifth off Waydick. The Bluejays loaded the bases in the sixth off relievers Lueder and McCone, but couldn't plate a runner as the Hodags took the win.
Waydick picked up the win, allowing three runs on three hits over five innings of work. He struck out five and walked four. Lueder walked two and struck out two in two-thirds of an inning and McCone worked around a walk to close out the contest.
Rappley, Lueder, Bauer, Gretzinger and McCone had the hits for Rhinelander in the game.
Gretzinger pitched a gem the night before against Antigo, striking out 16 in a shutout effort. He worked around five walks and three hits and got out of a jam in the fourth when the potential go-ahead run for Antigo was thrown out in a rundown between third and home.
Rhinelander answered in the top of the fifth with a four-run outburst that proved to be the difference in the game. Singles by Hoyt Danton and Rappley, and a walk by Bishop loaded the bases with one out. Base hits by Gretzinger and Judson O'Malley, and an RBI grounder by Lueder accounted for scoring the runs.
Waydick and Bishop recorded two hits each in Monday's contest and McCone added a double, but the Hodags' weren't able to score until their four-run, four-hit fifth.
Rhinelander and Wausau American were playing for the top spot in the pool Wednesday night in Merrill in a game that concluded after deadline. The winner of that game will play the second-place team from a pool that includes Appleton American, Appleton National, Wausau National and Kaukauna at 5 p.m. July 15 in Wausau. The loser of Wednesday's contest will play the winner of the other pool in the 7 p.m. game this coming Monday.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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