Joe Schneider hits the game-winning single in a Northwoods Babe Ruth Senior League tournament semifinal game between Rhinelander Green and Eagle River Blue at Northland Pines High School Monday, July 15. Rhinelander Green scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Eagle River Blue 2-1 and set up an all- Rhinelander tournament championship game against Laser Pros International. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
Jordan Kuczmarski pitches during the first inning of a Northwoods Babe Ruth Senior League tournament semifinal game between Laser Pros International and Tomahawk Gold at Stafford Field Monday, July 15. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
7/18/2019 7:33:00 AM Babe Ruth Roundup Green, Laser Pros make all-Rhinelander Senior League final
When the Northwoods Babe Ruth Senior League tournament championship was decided last night, it was guaranteed to stay in Rhinelander.
The Hodag city's two Senior League's squads were set to battle for the title after winning semifinal contests Monday night, however they won in completely different fashions.
Rhinelander Green scored twice in the last of the seventh to upset second-seeded Eagle River Blue 2-1 at Northland Pines High School. Laser Pros handled fifth-seeded Tomahawk Gold in a rout, dispatching the Hatchets 13-1 in five innings.
Up in Eagle River, all was quiet for Rhinelander Green until the seventh inning when the bottom two in the order - Sam Schneider and Sam Schoppe - drew leadoff walks off reliever Nolan Lurvey. Both runners moved into scoring position thanks to a wild pitch and Kolby Ridderbusch's single to center drove in Sam Schneider to tie the game.
With the Eagle River infield in, Cole Lehman grounded out to second and Sam Schoppe was unable to make a break for the plate from third. Ryan Jamison then drew a walk to load the bases before Joe Schneider delivered the game-winner, a single up the middle. Rhinelander Green, by virtue of a coin flip, was the home team for the contest.
The game was a pitchers' duel with Rhinelander outhitting Eagle River 4-3. Scoreless into the sixth, Eagle River Blue struck first when Logan Hissom hit a hot shot to third base for a single and made it to second when a late throw across the diamond sailed wide. Hissom stole second and scored the game's first run when Lurvey hit a bloop single to shallow right field.
Both teams had their chances. Rhinelander moved a runner to third in each of the first three innings and was unable to score. The Green team also got the first two runners on in the fifth, but left them stranded.
Eagle River, meanwhile, couldn't cash in with the bases loaded in the second as Kadin Kroeplin hit a two-out grounder back to the mound that allowed Rhinelander to get out of the inning. In the third, Isaac Vedder tried to tag and score from third on a flyout to right by James McCormack, but a perfect throw from Cal Laggis in right got to the plate in time and Joe Schneider was able to apply the tag for an inning-ending double play.
Jamison picked up the win in relief for Rhinelander, allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout in two innings of work. Jacksen Smith started, struck out three, walked two and allowed a hit over three innings. Joe Schneider struck out five batters over two innings and worked around a couple of hit batsmen in the fifth.
Ridderbusch and Joe Schneider each went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Rhinelander Green. They were the only two players to record hits for the Hodags.
Meanwhile in Rhinelander, following a rain delay due to a passing thunderstorm, Laser Pros struck like lightning and made short work of Tomahawk Gold to improve to 15-0 on the season.
Laser Pros scored multiple runs in every inning, going to work right away with two runs in the opening inning. Tim Fox led off with a single, stole second and came around on Isaac Bixby's base knock. Later, Ian Miller reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Jesse Mahner's base hit.
Laser Pros tacked on three in the second as Jordan Kuczmarski reached on an error and scored on Ben Sinclair's double. Sinclair came around on Fox's second hit of the game and Logan Schmoeger walked and eventually came around to score.
Kuczmarski singled home a run and eventually scored on a wild pitch to bring the score to 7-0 in the third, and No. 10 hitter Riley Lepak had the big hit of the inning, a two-run single to make it 9-0. Miller doubled home Devyn Orth to make it 10-0 in the fourth and get the merry-go-round going. Miller scored on Mahner's single, Mahner scored when Kuczmarski reached on an error in left field and Kuczmarski came around on a sacrifice fly by Sinclair.
Tomahawk's lone run came on a two-out single in the fifth off Sinclair. Fox received credit for the win, pitching two scoreless innings with a strikeout and two walks. Kuczmarski started, struck out three and worked around a pair of base runners who reached on errors. Laser Pros pounded out 15 hits over four innings. Fox, Bixby, Miller, Mahner, Sinclair and Cook each had two-hit nights while Mahner, Sinclair and Lepak drove in two runs each.
Rhinelander Black nearly pulls upset
Rhinelander Black had undefeated and top-seeded Crandon on the ropes Tuesday night but was unable to deliver the knockout blow, falling to the Cardinals 9-7 in nine innings in a Prep League semifinal in Crandon.
The game was pushed back one day due to rain.
Crandon, the visiting team by virtue of a coin toss, scored twice in the seventh to tie the game and eventually scored two in the ninth to win.
The Black team had its chances in both of those frames, but left the bases loaded each time. Will Gretzinger, Pierce French and Alex Rappley each drew walks to load the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh, but Rhinelander was not able to push across the winning run. Owen Ives and Oscar Hanson both struck out, and Richard Threlkeld popped out to end the threat. Gretzinger, French and Rappley got aboard again to load the bases with one out in the ninth, but a pop fly by Ives and a strikeout by Hanson ended the contest.
Rhinelander stranded 17 base runners overall in the contest. A back-and-forth game early, Rhinelander drew five straight walks to score twice in the fourth and take a 6-5 lead. Kyrle Vanney walked and scored in the sixth to give Rhinelander an insurance run.
Rhinelander had seven hits in the contest, including two each from Ives and Gretzinger. The Hodags drew 19 walks in the game. Pitching stats were not immediately reported.
Crandon went on to face Three Lakes Wednesday night in the Prep League title game.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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