Steines, MacDonald each have two hits in home win
By Steve Pilz
MARSHFIELD — The Osseo Merchants came to face the Marshfield Chaparrals on Wednesday night with a gaudy record of 20-1. When they left a few hours later, they were 20-2.
In what was arguably their best game of the season — and surely their most exciting — the Chaparrals came from behind late in the game, took a four-run lead, and then held on for dear life, prevailing 6-5 in amateur baseball action at Jack Hackman Field.
Both teams had aces on the mound. Westin Wuethrich, a Greenwood High School graduate and former player at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was making his 2017 Chaparrals debut, and Osseo starter Luke Eide, a player at UW-Stout, came out blazing.
The Merchants got single runs in the first and fourth off Wuethrich, the latter unearned. Wuethrich pitched a solid six innings, striking out four and walking three while surrendering six hits.
Eide struck out the first three hitters he faced and five in his three-inning stint. He gave up a hit and no walks and was replaced by Logan Boettcher in the fourth.
The Chaps got to Boettcher in his second and last inning of work when Alex Steines led off with an infield single. Jack Donahue moved him over with a single, and when the Merchants commited an error on a Ryan Metz bunt, Steines scored when the ball sailed into centerfield.
Osseo’s 2-1 lead lasted till the seventh.
Sam Schwanebeck replaced Wuethrich in the top of the seventh and struck out two of the four batters he faced.
Osseo’s Preston Gamroth pitched his second and final inning, plunking Donahue to start the bottom of seventh. After an out, Cale Cuddie singled, and pinch hitter Nate MacDonald drove in Donahue with a single. Bobby Pilz walked to load the bases. Curt Englebrecht then popped up a pitch that the first baseman called. The ball landed 10 feet in front of the plate but not in anyone’s glove. Cuddie scored, and while some Merchants appeared to place blame, MacDonald scampered home amidst the confusion. Pilz scored a batter later on a Luke Wirtz single, and the Chaps were up 5-2.
Schwanebeck struck out the side in the eighth.
Osseo’s final pitcher, Aaron Hagberg, walked Donahue and Metz to start the eighth. MacDonald singled to load the bases, and Pilz got an RBI on another walk to make it 6-2 Marshfield.
Schwanebeck surrendered an infield single to start the ninth. A base on balls and a single loaded the bases. A Nolan Matson single made it 6-4 before a sacrifice fly provided the first out but also cut Marshfield’s lead to one. Schwanebeck struck out the next batter but drilled the one after that, putting two runners on. A couple well-placed curve balls sent the next hitter down swinging, and the Chaps had their eighth win of the season.
“It’s always good to get a home win,” said Schwanebeck, who served as acting manager in Justin Rayburn’s absence, “especially with the large crowd. Simplicity Credit Union was an awesome sponsor tonight.
“We finally seem to be playing all three facets of the game at the same time. Earlier in the season, our hitting and/or our fielding was behind our pitching, and we may have finally caught up. Hopefully we can keep it up here at season’s end.”
The Chaparrals play at Tomahawk at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and their next home game is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Spirit. Both are Dairyland League games.
(This article was originally published at MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Chaparrals 6, Merchants 5
Osseo 100 001 003 – 5 9 3
Marshfield 000 010 41x – 6 10 2
WP: Sam Schwanebeck. LP: Preston Gamroth.
SO: Luke Eide (3 inn.) 5, Logan Boettcher (2 inn.) 2, Gamroth (2 inn.) 3, Aaron Hagberg (1 inn.) 1; Westin Wuethrich (6 inn.) 4, Schwanebeck (3 inn.) 7. BB: Gamroth 1, Hagberg 3; Wuethrich 3, Schwanebeck 3.
Top hitters: O, Jesse Brockman 2B. M, Alex Steines 2×4, run; Jack Donahue 2 runs; Nate MacDonald 2×2, run, RBI; Cale Cuddie 2×4; Bobby Pilz run, RBI.
Records: Osseo 20-2; Marshfield 8-7.