Danny Zuiker lays down a sacrifice bunt during the sixth inning on an American Legion baseball game between Rhinelander and Tomahawk at Kahle Field in Tomahawk Wednesday, July 10. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
7/13/2019 7:34:00 AM Big sixth dooms Rebels at Tomahawk
TOMAHAWK - Down on pitching, things finally caught up with the Rebels in the sixth inning Wednesday night against the Cubs.
Tomahawk scored five runs with two outs in the inning, the difference in a 10-5 game at Kahle Field.
Trace Brayton was credited with the go-ahead RBI after getting hit by a Teagan Guckenberg 3-1 offering. A throwing error in an effort to pick Matt Bartz off third allowed him to score and Tomahawk cleared the bases with a two-run single by Isaiah Scheffler and an RBI single by Shawn Dirkx to take a 10-5 lead.
"That was pretty much it, some walks, some hits, some misplays by us and that's all it takes," Rebels manager Dan Huhnstock said. "You let a team like that hang around and you're playing a tight game with them and the breaks just started going their way."
Rhinelander played from behind much of the way but had a chance to take the lead in the top of the sixth. Josh Randolph singled in Quinn Lamers to tie the game at 5 with one out in the inning. Martin Hoger flew out to center on the next at-bat and Abe Laggis was thrown out trying to tag and score from third.
"Their centerfielder has a good arm and made a nice series of throws," Huhnstock said. "He hit the cutoff and the cutoff made a nice throw to the plate. It was a close play at the plate. We noticed during warmups that the centerfield had a good arm and it was a fairly shallow ball. It had to be something where it should have been a close play judging by where he fielded the ball."
Rhinelander jumped out in front in the first on an RBI single by Hoger, but Tomahawk scored twice in the bottom of the inning as Nick Kahle doubled in Matt Bartz and scored on a double play ball by Tony Matti.
It was back and forth from there. Josh Randolph doubled and scored on a Liam Stevens sacrifice fly to tie the game in the third, but Tomahawk answered back with an RBI single by Payton Bunce in the bottom of the inning. Rhinelander tied it again in the top of the fourth as Isaac Bixby walked, stole second and eventually scored on a passed ball, but Tomahawk again answered it its half of the inning as Marcus Matti walked and scored on a Kahle groundout. Bartz walked and came around on a wild pitch.
Joe Schneider added an RBI single for Rhinelander in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4.
With most of its pitchers still observing mandated rest following the Merrill Invite, Jacob Dreifuerst got his second start of the season and allowed three runs on five hits over three innings. He gave way to Guckenberg in the fourth who took the loss, giving up seven runs on three hits with five walks over 2 2/3 innings.
"We did not play a very sharp game and we did not have a whole lot of or normal starting pitching staff able to throw tonight. It was an opportunity to see some of the younger guys and now we know that some of the younger guys have to do some work," Huhnstock said. "Jacob never really found his groove tonight and Teagan showed some good pop early but tired a little bit. That's the most pitches he's thrown in a long time."
Randolph went 3-for-4 on the night for Rhinelander and Schneider added two hits off the bench, but the rest of the team managed only two hits as the Rebels left 11 men on base after stranding 17 in an extra-inning win Sunday against Madison.
"We left a few people on base again tonight so, again, just not getting clutch hits to put a team away," Huhnstock said.
Also Wednesday night, the Rebels found out they would split this year's Great Northern Legion Conference title with Medford, which joined the Rebels at 7-1 in league play with a 9-2 win over Minocqua.
Rhinelander was slated to play Merrill Thursday night, but the non-conference game was canceled with Merrill unable to field a team. The Rebels (13-7) close out the regular season Sunday night at Clintonville.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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