Pilz strikes out six in three innings of relief to earn win
By Steve Pilz
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Chaparrals ran their Dairyland League record to 2-0 with a 2-1 victory over the Wausau River Hawks on Friday night in their home opener at Jack Hackman Field.
Wausau drew first blood in the first inning. After a ground out, the River Hawks turned an infield single and a double to center into the game’s first run that would be the only score all the way to the eighth inning.
Marshfield’s Drew Spaeth and Wausau’s Jordan Huenerfuss took over on the hill, trading scoreless innings after the first. Spaeth gave up just one more hit after the first inning. He yielded just three hits in seven innings, walking three, and striking out a dozen.
The Chaps offered little offensive support.
In the fourth, Marshfield left two runners on and in the sixth stranded both Nate MacDonald and Justin Rayburn, who had started the frame with a pair of singles.
Spaeth’s night ended after seven hard fought innings, and he exited for reliever Bobby Pilz. Pilz promptly created his own jam with a pair of walks, followed by a bunt that he fielded but could not get out of his glove for an error. With the bases now loaded, Pilz struck out the next three batters to escape any damage.
That seemed to be the momentum the Chaps had sought all night.
MacDonald lashed a one-out single, and Rayburn reached as well on an infield error. Riley Erickson grounded out, moving the runners to second and third. Sam Schwanebeck drew a walk, bringing Luke Wirtz to the plate. The burly designated hitter smacked his third single of the night, looping a ball into left-center field that plated both MacDonald and Rayburn, giving the Chaps their first lead and one they would not relinquish.
Pilz made the one-run lead stand up as he mowed down the final three batters, all on swinging strikeouts. Pilz struck out six of the nine batters he faced.
Marshfield will take to Hackman Field again on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. with a league game against Whittlesey.
Chaparrals 2, River Hawks 1
Wausau 100 000 000 – 1 3 1
Marshfield 000 000 02x – 2 8 3
WP: Bobby Pilz. LP: Jordan Huenerfuss.
SO: M, Drew Spaeth (7 inn.) 12, Pilz (2 inn.) 6. BB: M, Spaeth 3, Pilz 2.
Top hitters: M, Luke Wirtz 3×4, 2 RBIs; Nate MacDonald 2×4; Riley Erickson 2×4.