Rhinelander’s Martin Hoger stands on second base in a downpour during an American Legion baseball game against Tomahawk at Stafford Field Monday, June 24. Hoger hit three doubles in the Rebels’ 8-0 victory, which was called in the sixth inning due to rain. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
6/27/2019 7:30:00 AM Rebels douse Cubs in rain-shortened win
Walker Hartman began to rain on Tomahawk's offensive parade Monday night and Mother Nature finished the job.
The Rhinelander righty allowed two hits over six innings and the Rebels won a non-conference contest over the Cubs 8-0 at Stafford field when rain ended play for the night in the Rebels' half of the sixth.
Hartman also had a three-hit night for Rhinelander (6-4, 3-0 GNLC). Martin Hoger added three doubles in the contest and Jacob Dreifuerst hit a two-run home run in the fifth to give the Rebels some more breathing room.
"Walker pitched a really nice game, kept them off the boards and we made several nice defensive plays behind and got hitting contributions up and down the lineup again - a winning combination," Rebels manager Dan Huhnstock said.
Hartman, a junior-to-be, had by far his best outing of the summer, in a 70-pitch effort. He struck out seven - including five of the final seven Cubs he faced.
Rhinelander jumped on the board in the bottom of the first as Tomahawk starter Tony Matti struggled to find the strike zone.
Danny Zuiker was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch. After Hoger doubled, walked by Josh Randolph and Liam Stevens loaded the bases for Hartman who hit an RBI single to right to give Rhinelander a 2-0 lead.
It took a little while for the Rebels to get to the soft-throwing righty. Seven of the team's 11 hits came after the second trip through the batting order.
"He was just a little slower than we were used to and kept us off balance a little bit," Huhnstock said.
Joe Schneider hit an RBI grounder to score Hartman in the fourth and Zuiker followed with a single that plated Alex Kubeny to give Rhinelander at 4-0 lead. The Rebels added to that advantage in the fifth as Randolph led off with a double deep to the gap in left center. Dreifuerst followed with a ball on a similar line, but hit even deeper for his first home run of the summer.
"That was a rocket. It got out of here in a hurry," Huhnstock said of Dreifuerst's shot that gave Rhinelander a 6-0 lead.
Rain picked up in intensity late in the fifth inning and early in the sixth. Rhinelander got hits from Jesse Mahner, Isaac Bixby to lead off the inning, followed by an RBI double from Hoger. After Randolph hit an RBI groundout to short, the skies let loose and the game was deemed official following a brief on-field conference between both managers and home plate umpire Paul Johnson.
"When Mother Nature opened up, that was the end of it," Huhnstock said.
Hartman allowed two-out hits to Trace Brayton and Isaiah Scheffler in the first and second inning, but quickly got out of both games. His biggest trouble game in the fourth after a leadoff walk to Tony Matti. Jacob Kahle reached on a error to give the Cubs runners on first and second, with nobody out in a two-run game, but Payton Bunce hit a sharp grounder back to Hartman for a double play and Hartman retired the final eight batters he faced to preserve the shutout.
Tomahawk, which elected to play an independent schedule this summer after being a part of the Great Northern Legion Conference in its first three seasons of existence, fell to 0-9 on the season.
"A game that you think you should win can be the most dangerous game that you have. It's nice to take care of business and get the job done," Huhnstock said.
The Rebels took on Mosinee Wednesday night in a GNLC doubleheader at Stafford Field, the final two games of Rhinelander's nine-game homestand. The Rebels hit the road Friday night to face Merrill in a non-conference contest. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Athletic Park.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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