By Craig Marx, Editor
It took until the bottom of the final frame for the Antigo Red Robins’ baseball season to come to end in the second round of the WIAA Regional Playoffs. Wausau West came back from an early two-run deficit to clip the Robins 3-2 in Wausau on Thursday evening, ending a memorable year for head coach Scott Farmer, his staff, and, most importantly, players.
“Two real good teams played tonight. The guys have nothing to hang their heads about. They fought well – we just got beat. Getting beat while playing your game is a little easier to handle,” Farmer said. “We had our chances and could not capitalize on them [and] they did. I truly feel we outplayed them for most of the game but they came through more often than we did.”
Wausau West had a sloppy top of the first, committing three errors that helped allow both Max Nowinsky and Hunter Kirsch to score and take a 2-0 Antigo lead right off the bat. The Robins only hit of the inning was an RBI single for shortstop Alex Nagel.
Starter Nick Greening held the lead intact in the bottom of the first, but the Robins soon went cold at the plate. Logan Grunenwald, receiving the start for the Warriors, was able to get comfortable after the two-run top of the first and hold Antigo without a score for the remainder of the game.
West halved the Antigo lead in the bottom of the second as Travis Lang scored after taking lead-off walk. In the bottom frame of the fifth, Paul Weise hit an RBI double to bring in Peyton Nelson and tie the game at two all.
The Robins had an opportunity in the top of the fifth with Kirsch reaching third with two outs, but Antigo unfortunately left the junior third baseman stranded.
Kirsch singled to lead off the crucial top of the seventh and was aided to second base by a Jake Hunsick base hit. As Nagel grounded into a fielder’s choice, Grunenwald picked off the lead runner in Kirsch trying to reach third.
Nelson started the top of the order in the bottom of the seventh with a single. With one out, Weise took a walk, setting up Zach Pearson for an RBI hit to bring in Nelson and end the Antigo playoff run.
Greening allowed six Warrior hits while striking out three batters and walking four. Grunenwald, with the win, gave up eight Antigo hits, striking out five Robins and walking three.
“Nick threw real well tonight and our defense made the plays when they needed to,” Farmer said. “The defense and pitching was so good that both teams got their leadoff hitter on base five out of the seven innings and only scored five total runs. That is hard to believe in a high school baseball game.”
Senior right fielder Arin VerHagen had a nice day at the place, going 3-4, while Kirsch went 2-4 with a run scored.
The Robins had a tremendous season even if the postseason was cut short. Antigo finished 17-6 overall and 11-1 in Great Northern Conference play, a GNC league of which the Robins were its champions.
“It was a very great season this year. We went on two, very nice winning streaks this year – one of nine [games] and the other of seven. These guys were really fun to get out there with day in and day out,” Farmer added about his young men.
The Robins varsity baseball club graduated nine players this spring, including Jake Husnick, Alex Nagel, Ben Jansen, Jake Fleischman, Nick Greening, Cody Below, Max Nowinsky, Arin VerHagen, and Brian Cuevas Ruiz.
“The coaches want to thank the seniors for their years of dedication to the program and their leadership,” Farmer went on to say. “This season was a complete reflection of them and their dedication to the sport and we wish them the very best in the future and look forward to what it brings for them. They should all be successful young men. The coaches also want to thank the underclassman for their hard work and look forward to seeing them through the summer and next season.”