By Steve Pilz
RIB LAKE — The Marshfield Chaparrals amateur baseball team opened its 2017 season with a Dairyland League victory over the Interwald Woodticks 14-12 in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon.
The Mothers’ Day affair saw a little bit of everything as the Chaps struggled to get out of the gate, trailing 3-2 into the fifth inning before grabbing an 11-3 lead at one point.
Nate MacDonald got the Chaparrals’ season off to a positive start with a base on balls and scored on a Lucius Messerschmidt sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Ryan Metz was the victim of an infield error and a soggy right field as the Woodticks got their first two base runners on. A couple of RBI singles plated two earned runs, and the Chaps trailed 3-1.
That score lasted until the fourth when Sam Schwanebeck deposited a home run over the left-center field fence to cut the Ticks’ lead to one.
The Chaps erupted for six runs in the top of the fifth.
MacDonald drilled a one-out double to right-center field before an RBI single by Justin Rayburn. Riley Erickson followed that with a single before Schwanebeck cleared the bags with another home run, this one down the left field line. After another out, Alex Steines walked in front of Cale Cuddie, who hit the Chaps’ third homer of the game.
Metz left the mound after four innings work and was replaced by Bobby Pilz, who struck out the side in the fifth.
Metz led the sixth off with a single and ended up on third after another MacDonald double. Rayburn knocked in Metz with a sacrifice fly. Schwanebeck walked later in the inning and scored on a Messerschmidt single. The Chaps left the bases loaded but still led 11-3.
Pilz struck out two of the first three batters in the sixth before walking a pair and hitting a batter. A bases-loaded error did not help and the Woodticks scratched their way back with five runs in the inning.
Two more errors in the seventh led to Interwald cutting the lead to 12-10.
Pilz pitched a scoreless eighth, finishing with nine strikeouts before yielding to Schwanebeck to close the door in the ninth.
After a walk, a single, and two more walks, Schwanebeck had a full-blown jam on his hands. A timely strikeout, a sacrifice fly, and an unassisted force play at third limited the damage, but the score was knotted at 12-12.
The Chaps went quietly in the 10th, setting the stage for the Woodticks to win it in the home half.
Schwanebeck promptly hit the lead-off man, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter walked, and the one after was hit with a pitch that loaded the bases with one out. Schwanebeck was able to wiggle out of the it as Rayburn, the Chaps’ center fielder, caught a fly ball and threw out the runner from third trying to score, ending the inning with a double play.
Pilz led off the 11th with a single to center field. He went to second on a wild pitch but had to stay there when Metz flied out to right. A grounder by MacDonald got Pilz to third before Rayburn walked. Erickson plated Pilz with what turned out to be the winning run before Schwanebeck put the cap on a four-hit, five RBI day by driving in Rayburn with a single.
Schwanebeck got three groundouts in the bottom of the 11th to finish off the 14-12 win for Marshfield.
Marshfield hammered out 22 hits, overcoming four errors and 12 runners left on base. Interwald stranded 13 runners.
Schwanebeck had four hits; MacDonald, Erickson, and Steines each had three; and Rayburn, Messerschmidt, Pilz, and Metz each had two. The Chaparrals’ next game is at Marshfield’s Jack Hackman Field next May 21 against Abbotsford.
Chaparrals 14, Woodticks 12 (11 inn.)
Marshfield 100 163 100 02 – 14 22 4
Interwald 300 005 202 00 – 12 10 0
Interwald statistics not provided.
WP: Sam Schwanebeck.
SO: Ryan Metz (4 inn.) 4, Bobby Pilz (4 inn.) 9, Schwanebeck (3 inn.) 1. BB: Metz 1, Pilz 3, Schwanebeck 4.
Top hitters: M, Schwanebeck 2 HRs, 5 RBIs; Cale Cuddie HR; Nate McDonald 2 2Bs; Alex Steines 2B.
Records: Marshfield 1-0 overall and Dairyland League.