By Craig Marx, Editor
With two Great Northern Conference games remaining between now and the postseason, the Antigo Red Robins baseball team is coming in hot after winning all three games of its weekend tournament in Marshfield, defeating the likes of Holmen, Menomonie, and the hosting Tigers.
“It was a great weekend for the team all around, except for the weather. Our defense was outstanding. Each pitcher was spot on in each game – especially [considering] the weather conditions. And our bats really were working well again. We are starting to get things headed in the right direction. We really did play well. All three games were great team wins with help coming from all over the diamond and on the bench,” Coach Scott Farmer said.
Antigo vs. Holmen
The Robins took apart Holmen 16-4 on 16 hits against the Vikings’ pitching staff while Nick Greening and Ben Jansen took care of their own business on the mound.
Jansen picked up the win in 4.1 innings pitched, striking out two Viking batters and allowing just one hit and zero runs. Greening, the starter, was relieved after the two outs in the third inning following Holmen’s fourth run scored.
Holmen briefly led 4-1 entering the sixth inning, where Antigo displayed some two-out magic. With back-to-back walks to Jansen and Collin Meinert, a double by Max Nowinsky plated the first two of the senior’s four RBIs on the day.
Jake Husnick also added a double later in the sixth, helping Antigo gain the lead 6-4 entering the bottom of the inning. As Jansen held the Vikings at bay with just one walk in the sixth, the Robins laid on the gas to begin the seventh inning.
Holmen’s Jordan Schuster had a difficult time managing his walks in the top of the seventh, giving three Robins their free bases before being replaced. Hunter Kirsch’s three-run double came as part of a 10-run inning for Antigo, including base hits from Husnick, Jansen, Meinert, and Arin VerHagen.
Nowinsky finished 2-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored, while Jansen’s bat after entering the game in his relief role was also effective, going 2-3 with three runs scored. Husnick was 3-5 with three RBIs.
“Ben really did a fantastic job in the first game to keep us close untill the bats woke up,” Farmer said afterward.
Antigo vs. Menominee
The Antigo boys continued to shell its opponents, this time in the form of a 10-1 win over the Menomonie Mustangs where Nagel and VerHagen showed poise on the mound.
Nagel was awarded the win after pitching four standout innings, striking out two Mustang batters and walking just one. Nagel was responsible for the lone Menomonie run. VerHagen, closing out the final two innings, also had a pair of strikeouts while holding the Mustangs scoreless.
Antigo jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the Nagel pounded a two-out double. Nowinsky continued to dominate, leading off the second inning with a triple that allowed him to eventually score off of a Kirsch double with one out.
The Mustangs’ Nate Stanley scored the only run for Menomonie in the fourth inning, reaching base after being hit by a Nagel pitch. With VerHagen coming in as relief, the senior closer retired seven batters in his two late innings of work.
The Robins added five more runs in the last two innings. Nagel was an ace 3-3 at the plate for the day with two doubles, while Kirsch was equally impressive at 2-2 with his own pair of doubles. Tatro scored four times for Antigo, going 3-4 while being walked once.
Antigo vs. Marshfield
Antigo concluded its three-game weekend on Saturday with the perfect cap to the road trip – a 7-1 win over the hosting Marshfield Tigers.
Tatro and Jesse Jankowski did “an outstanding job on the mound” according to Coach Farmer. With Tatro claiming the win, Antigo’s starter went four innings in which he struck out three and walked just as many, giving up just two hits and no runs. Jankowski, closing out the final three frames, allowed just one run in the seventh inning that he was not credited for.
With the game neck and neck until the fourth inning, Antigo piled on five runs on five hits, including three for extra bases in the top of the fourth. VerHagen was able to lead off with a double, followed by a one-out double from Matt Winter. A later Tatro triple brought in Nowinsky after the latter reached on a base hit.
The Robins added a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings. Scott Berg scored the only run for the Tigers after scoring on a fielder’s choice.
Antigo managed 18 total hits. Nowinsky was 3-4 once again with two RBIs, while Tatro and VerHagen both finished 3-5, each with a run scored and one brought in.
The Robins can capture the Great Northern Conference title outright after their two GNC games this week will effectively wrap up the regular season. Contests include Tuesday (Kretz Field at 5 p.m.) against Medford and Thursday (Rhinelander High School at 5 p.m.) against a Hodag team that currently trails the Robins by half a game in the GNC standings.
“I hope this was a great sign of things to come. We have two big conference games this week and then time to prep for the playoffs. We will be hosting Green Bay Southwest on Tuesday, May 31st,” Coach Farmer concluded.