Tomahawk sluggers drop three, earn first win of season
For the Tomahawk Leader
WAUPUN – The Tomahawk Hatchet baseball team fell in three games last month before taking down Crandon to earn its first win of the season.
North Fond du Lac
Ten days later than scheduled and much further south, the Tomahawk Hatchet baseball team opened the 2022 season on the short end of a 13-9 outcome against North Fond du Lac on Saturday, April 9.
The game was played in place of a previously rescheduled game at Nekoosa on the same date – it was played in Waupun at Gus Thompson Field, as many fields in the northern half of the state remained unplayable. Games scheduled on March 31 (at Wittenberg), April 2 (doubleheader at Hustisford) and conference games at Northland Pines (April 11 and 14) have either been canceled or rescheduled due to the poor spring weather conditions.
The Hatchets played as the home team and were able to answer an early 2-0 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the first. Jake Kaminski (SR) walked, stole second and eventually scored following hits by Marcus Matti (SR) and Garrett Nelson (SR). Matti and Nelson would also score later in the inning.
The Orioles would match that three-spot with one of their own in the top of the third, but Tomahawk was equal to the task and scored three of their own in the bottom of the inning. Mason Evans (JR) delivered the key blow, a single driving home Nelson and Tyler Jablonski (JR).
The game went back and forth until the top of the fifth, when Tomahawk was unable to escape the inning with what was a 9-7 edge. North Fondy plated four after two outs were recorded and tacked on two more in the sixth to cap the scoring.
Matti started on the mound and covered 4 2/3 innings while Kaminski took the loss, finishing the remaining 2 1/3. Nelson and Evans led the offense with three hits each – Nelson also touched the plate three times. Matti and Jablonski each scored twice.
Tomahawk opened the Great Northern Conference schedule almost two weeks later than scheduled and dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Rhinelander at Tyler Kahle Field, 10-5 and 10-0 on Thursday, April 21.
The games marked the first played at home for the Hatchets and the first games of the season for the Hodags, who had seen all of their previously scheduled games either canceled or postponed due to inclement weather.
Game one saw Tomahawk jump to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Jake Kaminski (SR) singled, stole second and scored on a Mason Evans (JR) single. The Hatchets missed the chance for a bigger inning, however, as they left the bases loaded to finish the inning.
Rhinelander broke through in the third and fourth, pushing two and three runs across, respectively, to take a 5-1 lead. The Hatchets answered in the bottom of the fifth with three to cut the deficit to one. A Hodag error and consecutive base hits by Marcus Matti (SR) and Garrett Nelson (SR) loaded the bases – Tyler Jablonski (JR) clubbed a two-run double to right, and Jacob Towle (JR) walked to reload the bases, followed by an RBI groundout by Logan Bishop (SR).
The Hodags had another response, however, and plated five runs. They collected four hits (two doubles that pushed three of the runs across), while a walk and a Hatchet error aided the scoring. Tomahawk would push a run across in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI groundout by Brayden Jones (SR) to complete the scoring.
Game two started as a pitchers’ duel between Kaminski and Rhinelander’s Jackson Smith. With the score 1-0 Hodags, who were playing as the home team heading to the bottom of the fourth, Rhinelander broke the game open against Kaminski with six runs. A bases-clearing double was the highlight of the inning – two run-scoring singles and a bases loaded walk completed the scoring. The Hodags ended the game by run rule in the bottom of the fifth off reliever Logan Bishop (SR), scoring three runs after the first out was recorded to open the inning.
Addison Peissig (JR) collected two hits in the game. Kaminski and Jablonski collected the other two Hatchet hits in the game.
Tomahawk squeezed just enough light from the day on Monday, April 25 to secure its first win of the season, 10-9 in eight innings on the road in Crandon.
The game was a partial makeup of a scheduled doubleheader from April 23, which was postponed due to poor weather and field conditions. The second game of that doubleheader will be played as part of a JV/varsity doubleheader at Tyler Kahle Field on Tuesday, May 24 starting at 4:30 p.m.
The Hatchets played well most of the night, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Jacob Towle (JR) drove a double to left-center that scored Tyler Jablonski, who walked and stole second with one out.
The Cardinals would answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the second, but the Hatchets were equal to the task and then some, plating a run in the top of the third and two more in the fourth. Jake Kaminski (SR) walked, stole second and came around to score on Marcus Matti’s (SR) base hit in the third, and then Logan Bishop (SR) bunted with two on and none out, resulting in a Crandon error that scored Jablonski. Bishop would eventually score on Addison Peissig’s (JR) base hit in the fourth.
Both teams traded single runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, but with the Hatchets leading 5-2 and two outs and a runner on for Crandon in the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals would push five runs across, collecting three hits, five stolen bases plus two Hatchet errors, giving them a 7-5 lead heading into the sixth.
Tomahawk tallied single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie the game, then posted three in the eighth with the help of four Cardinal errors to take a 10-7 lead. The Hatchets escaped after two Crandon runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the inning and the tying run at third base.
Jablonski started on the mound for Tomahawk, covering four innings, allowing two hits, one earned run and striking out six. Matti worked the final three innings for the win, allowing two hits and one earned run. Matti and Blake Felser (SR) contributed two hits apiece to the offense, and each drove in a run. Kaminski, Matti and Jablonski each scored a pair of runs in the win.
Tomahawk was scheduled to host Merrill on Friday, April 29 and Antigo on Monday, May 2 before traveling to Antigo on Thursday, May 5 for a game that starts at 5 p.m. The Hatchets will take on Lakeland in a doubleheader at Tyler Kahle Memorial Field on Saturday, May 7. The first game gets underway at 11 a.m.