Titans make titanic comeback, take down Merrill 7-6 in extra innings

For the Tomahawk Leader

The Tomahawk Titans defeated the Merrill Rangers 7-6 in ten innings on Saturday night at Tyler Kahle Memorial Field.  Tomahawk erased a 2 run deficit to tie the game at 6-6 after nine innings and then got the walk off win in the tenth.

The game began as a pitchers’ duel between the Titans’ Cody Brietzke and Chase Nelson from Merrill as neither team could score in the first two innngs. Tomahawk struck first in the third inning as Caleb Armstrong led off with a single up the middle. Nelson struck out the next two batters, but a wild pitch allowed Armstrong to advance to second with two outs. Justin Jarvensivu lined a single to left field scoring Armstrong and giving the Titans a 1-0 lead. After Justin stole second base, his brother, Jacob Jarvensivu delivered an RBI single to right to increase the lead to 2-0.

After holding Merrill scoreless thru three innings, C. Brietzke ran into trouble in the fourth as the Rangers used 5 hits and a walk to plate 4 runs and take the lead at 4-2.  However, Tomahawk came right back in the bottom half of the inning with a rally of their own. K. Brietzke and Jakob Kahle got things started with back to back singles. Both runners advanced on a groundout, and then Brietzke came around to score on Connor Ahrens’ single to center cutting the deficit to  4-3. Eli Wurl’s fielder’s choice grounder plated Kahle and knotted the game at 4-4.

Wurl came in to pitch in the fifth inning for Tomahawk, but Merrill greeted him with a two-out, two run rally to retake the lead at 6-4. Wurl then settled in and pitched scoreless innings in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Meanwhile, the Titans began their comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning as C. Brietzke reached base on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Brietzke got a running lead from second base and decided to steal third. When the Rangers’ catcher rifled the ball into left field, Brietzke scored and the Merrill’s lead was cut to one run at 6-5.

Armstrong delivered a scoreless ninth for the Titans, but Tomahawk still trailed by a run heading to the bottom of the inning. C. Brietzke led off with a booming double off the fence in left field. After one out, his brother, Kory, walked to put runners at first and second with one out. J. Kahle then hit a grounder to the left side, and as Merrill unsuccessfully tried to twist a 6-4-3 double play to end the game, C. Brietzke kept running from second base and slid home safely to tie the score at 6-6 and force extra innings.

Merrill threatened in the 10th as they put runners at second and third with one out, but Armstrong got a strikeout and a fly ball to center to escape with no damage and set the stage for the Titans’ walk off win. In the bottom half of the inning, E. Wurl got things started with a one-out single up the middle. Wurl stole second and advanced to third on a grounder. Jacob Jarvensivu then delivered the winning hit as he beat out a grounder in the hole to the shortstop allowing Wurl to score the winning run.

Caleb Armstrong got the win in relief for the Titans. Tomahawk pounded out 14 hits with every player in the lineup getting at least one hit. Leading the way were Justin Jarvensivu, Jacob Jarvensivu, C. Brietzke, C. Armstrong and C. Ahrens all had 2 hits apiece.

The victory improves the Titans’ record to 5-4 and keeps them in the hunt for a Dairyland League playoff berth. Tomahawk travels to Spirit Sunday, July 20 to face the Twins. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 pm.

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