JUNIOR LEGION BASEBALL: Offense on display for Marshall Black in 17-1 win over Wabasso

Photo by Jake Przytarski Marshall’s Brayden Hilgemann awaits a pitch during their game against Wabasso on Tuesday. Marshall Black defeated Wabasso 17-1 in five innings.

WABASSO – The Marshall Black Junior Legion baseball team made sure offense wasn’t in short supply during their game against Wabasso on Tuesday. Marshall Black raced out with a five-run lead and used it to take a decisive 17-1 win in five innings.

Wabasso’s Ty Altermatt took the mound in the top of the first and ran into trouble early on. Leadoff man Matt Hmielewski got the first inning rally started when he reached on an error, the first of seven total errors on the day for Wabasso and something that Wabasso coach Chad Olson addressed as contributing factor to the loss.

“When you give a good team like Marshall Black extra outs in an inning they’re gonna take advantage of it, and they did here tonight,” said Olson. “We gotta shore that up.”

Marshall did take full advantage and it started with an infield single by Kaleb Welvaert to advance Hmielewski to third after he had reached second on a passed ball during the previous at-bat. The highlight of the inning came on a Jordan Mernaugh triple that brought both runners home and tallied the game’s first two runs. Marshall continued the scoring with a walk from Trey Steinbach and a passed ball during Peyton Grant’s at-bat brought Mernaugh home to score the third run. Konnor Aufenthie added two more runs on a blast to center and just like that the lead was 5-0.

Jack Bly got the start for Marshall Black and had a dominant performance that began in the bottom of the first. A walk from Colby Wall was the only offense generated by Wabasso in the inning before a Carter Benz strikeout ended the frame. It was the first of eight on the evening for Bly.

Marshall Black coach Chace Pollock lauded Bly’s performance on the rubber.

“He (Bly) did a heck of a job,” said Pollock. “That was the best he’s thrown all summer.”

Marshall Black picked up where it left off in the first, posting another crooked number in the second. Wabasso recorded the first out on a Brayden Hilgemann pop fly but an error on a Welvaert ground ball brought him to second. Mernaugh added his third RBI in two innings on a groundout to the shortstop to bring the lead to 6-0. Steinbach then hit Marshall’s second triple of the game in the next at-bat and another costly error on a hard hit groundball by Grant brought him home. A third error on an attempt to throw Grant out at second on a steal attempt allowed for Grant to make it to third before he was brought home by Aufenthie on a line-drive single. Through two innings Marshall had already put the game out of reach jumping out to a 8-0 lead.

Defensively it was more of the same in the latter frame as Bly continued to put on a pitching clinic. Bly added two more strikeouts to bring his total to three and didn’t give up a hit in what was a quick half inning.

Ti Trost took over pitching duties in the top of the third and provided Wabasso with their best half inning in the field. Marshall was able to add another run thanks to Mernaugh, but that was all the damage they could deliver as Marshall led 9-0 heading into the bottom of the third.

Wabasso registered its first of two total hits on the evening thanks to a Will Carlson single, but a pair of strikeouts and a groundout ended the inning and left a man aboard. Wabasso headed back to the field still in search of its first run.

In the top of the fourth Marshall posted its fourth of five multi-run innings thanks to an RBI single from Dillon Loft and a hard-hit grounder by Welvaert with the bases loaded. Marshall had added another run earlier in the inning when Aufenthie scored on a Zack Olsen grounder that was played with an error by the shortstop, pushing the lead to 12-0.

Bly posted another scoreless inning in the fourth and registered all three outs of the inning through strikeouts bringing him to his final total of eight.

A pitching change was made when Tim Nelson took over for Trost in the top of the fifth inning, but Marshall didn’t let up. They posted another five-run inning to push the lead to 17-0 before the final out was made. Mernaugh added a double to an already impressive statline. He finished the game 2 for 4 with four RBI.

Looking to put at least one run on the board, Wabasso’s Carlson reached first on a single and was brought home a couple batters later on a Ty Altermatt groundout to short in the bottom of the fifth, but that was all Wabasso could get.

Marshall Junior Legion will face BOLD on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Legion Field.