Jacob DeMeyer delivers a pitch during a Great Northern Conference baseball game between Rhinelander and Antigo high schools Tuesday, May 16 at Kretz Brothers Park in Antigo. (Scott Walbeck/Antigo Daily Journal)
5/18/2017 7:32:00 AM Antigo's offense too much for Hodags in GNC clash
There is a reason that Antigo is the four-time defending Great Northern Conference baseball champions.
Rhinelander High School found out why Tuesday evening as the two top teams in the conference squared off and Antigo pulled away late and won 7-2 at Kretz Brothers Park.
The Red Robins clinched a share of a fifth consecutive title with the win. The Hodags are still alive, but have to run the table - including a rematch with Antigo next Monday at Stafford Field - and hope Antigo loses at Mosinee Thursday.
Rhinelander struck first on an RBI single by Alec Modrow in the top of the third, but Antigo had an answer, as Garrett Held blasted a 3-run home run in the bottom of the inning.
Eventually, the Red Robins overwhelmed the Hodags late in the game, scoring a run in the fifth and three in the sixth.
"Antigo has a real strong lineup, up and down, one through nine in their order," RHS head coach Joe Waksmonski said. "They do not give away any at-bats. Every out we got tonight, we earned. They worked our pitcher, Jacob DeMeyer, into a lot of deep counts and got his pitch count up to a point where he had a high pitch count in the bottom of the sixth, to the point where we actually had to pull him out with one out to go. Even in the fifth and sixth innings, they're relentless. They scored in both those innings with two outs and nobody on."
Antigo scored a run with two outs in the fifth after three straight singles.
Then in the sixth, the Red Robins managed two doubles, a walk in a triple to score the final three runs.
Rhinelander managed some offense of its own, however, getting seven hits off of starter Brady Tatro, and another off reliever Hunter Kirsch.
The Hodags stranded runners - a total of eight - at inopportune times, with no extra-base hits.
While getting a run in the third, they ended the inning with the bases loaded.
"We were able to get our hits, but we weren't able to string it together to plate a lot of runs," Waksmonski said.
While Antigo managed to take the first game, the fact that the Hodags managed to string together hits gives them confidence heading into the second matchup on Monday.
"It was an evenly matched game," Waksmonski said. "It was 3-1 for most of the game, until the fifth. They're relentless and we kind of let the game get away from us. You have to give them a lot of credit. They earned everything they got. Jacob DeMeyer, I thought he pitched well. Even though the final line might not look like it, I thought he pitched well tonight."
DeMeyer allowed six runs on 10 hits, while striking out two. He also went 2 for 4 with an RBI at the dish.
Rhinelander (12-4, 7-2 GNC) is back in action against Tomahawk today at Hodag Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SabatoNick.
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