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MEDFORD BASEBALL - Make it 16 in a row; Raiders clinch second place in GNC

Make it 16 in a row; Raiders clinch second place in GNC
Carson Carbaugh
Make it 16 in a row; Raiders clinch second place in GNC
Carson Carbaugh




A school-record winning streak of 15 games in Medford’s baseball program lasted just one year.

The 2024 version of the Raiders continued to simply find ways to win in the last week, taking six more victories to stretch its current winning streak to 16. The latest victory came Tuesday when the 19-2 Raiders broke open a 2-2 game with a fiverun rally in the top of the sixth inning.

Nick Steliga improved to 7-0, getting the decision with five-plus solid innings. Charlie Gierl entered when Steliga ran into some trouble in the sixth and proceeded to set down six straight Warriors in order and the offense still put up runs despite facing one of West’s top pitchers, Lucas Hager, and having a quiet night from the top of the batting order.

“Against one of the best pitchers in the Valley Conference, we struck out one time,” Medford head coach Justin Hraby said. “Our guys have good approaches and will battle to get the ball in play with two strikes.”

The go-ahead rally in the sixth started when Braxton Weissmiller blooped a single into centerfield. A misplay on Carson Carbaugh’s fly ball put two on, but Hager got Steliga to ground out, putting himself and the Warriors an out away from ending the inning.

Max Dietzman didn’t let that happen, poking an 0-2 pitch through the hole on the right side to score both runners. Ryder Kraschnewski followed with his third single of the night and the suddenly-hot Jack Wojcik doubled to knock in Dietzman. An error on a ball hit by Evan Wilkins scored the last two runs for a 7-2 lead.

West came right back with Brennan Fictim’s two-run double, but that’s where Gierl entered and slammed the door on West’s comeback. Steliga allowed seven hits, four runs, three of which were earned, and one walk.

“We didn’t strike out a single batter, yet I would say I was very impressed with our pitching,” Hraby said. “Both Nick and Charlie were in the zone and made them earn everything they got.”

Medford’s first two runs came on a West error on a ball hit by Tanner Hraby in the third. Hager went the distance for West, allowing nine hits and only one earned run.

Kraschnewski was three for three in the freshman’s best offensive game so far.

“Ryder is starting to get comfortable at the plate and on defense,” Justin Hraby said. “He had some key hits that either got rallies started or kept them going.”

Medford, ranked 10th in this week’s Division 2 state poll, looks to keep things rolling when it hosts a good Stratford team Friday in a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader. Marshfield is in town Monday to wrap up the regular season, also at 5 p.m.

Medford 10, Merrill 2

On Monday, a five-run fourth put Medford up 8-0 and the Raiders weren’t seriously threatened from there in a 10-2 non-conference win at Merrill.

“The best all-around game we have played all season,” coach Hraby said. “Bats were good, defense was solid and Carson Carbaugh pounded the strike zone and kept them off-balance all night.”

Carbaugh gave the pitching staff a much-needed seven innings, needing just 81 pitches to go the distance. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out one. Medford outhit the Blue Jays 16-5, led by a fourhit day from Tanner Hraby, three hits from number-nine hitter Evan Wilkins and two hits apiece from Dietzman and Hayden Strebig.

With his RBI single in the seventh, Tanner Hraby broke yet another Medford baseball career record, picking up his 87th RBI. Logan Baumgartner held the record for a year.

“Tanner had a big night at the plate,” Justin Hraby said. “We are going to win a lot of games when he gets on five times. He also found an RBI late in the game to break the career record for RBIs. Quite an accomplishment considering he has hit leadoff the last two years. Just a testament to the talent we have had in our program, where others in front of him get on and a lot of good players have drove him in.

“Evan Wilkins also busted out. He is a gamewrecker for other teams when he gets on base. His speed and base running can change a game.”

Wilkins had a two-run single in the second inning, following Weissmiller’s RBI hit in the first. Wilkins singled and Hraby walked to start the big fourth inning. Parker Lissner’s double scored Wilkins and Weissmiller’s sacrifice fly scored Hraby. Lissner scored on Carbaugh’s hit. Dietzman hit a two-out, two-run double.

Carter Kaminski pitched six innings and took the loss for Merrill. He allowed 14 hits and nine earned runs. Brady Kanitz hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays.

Raiders take two

Medford finished Great Northern Conference play at 10-2 by sweeping a doubleheader at pesky Northland Pines Saturday 8-4 and 9-7. Medford had to rally late to win both games against the Eagles, who sit at 3-8, 9-12 after losing to Lakeland Tuesday. The only team to beat Medford, Division 2 top-ranked Mosinee, wrapped up the outright GNC title Tuesday with a 19-2 win at Antigo.

Game one was tied 3-3 when the Raiders put up a five-spot in the top of the seventh. That made a winner out of Hraby, who went 6.2 innings, struck out 10 Eagles, walked one and allowed four hits and one earned run.

Lissner delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, Weissmiller singled in a run and Dietzman hit a two-run double, part of a much-needed three-for-four game for Medford’s senior slugger.

“It was great to see Max Dietzman bust out, and bust out he did,” coach Hraby said. “His three hits were all on great at-bats. Happy for Max. His resiliency through a tough stretch is impressive.”

Medford took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth on Hraby’s two-run double, but the Eagles tied it in the fifth.

Hraby was two for four, Weissmiller was two for four and Wojcik was two for three and scored twice.

“Tanner striking out double digits was key,” Justin Hraby said. “Our defense struggled a bit and we needed some big strikeouts to get us through some innings.”

Medford got 13 hits off Pines’ top pitcher Landyn Hoeft. He struck out four and walked one. Seven of Medford’s runs were earned.

Playing as the home team in game two, Medford used a four-run fifth to take a 6-2 lead, only to see the Eagles score five in the top of the sixth. But Medford countered with three in the bottom half to secure the 9-7 win.

The winning rally started with a Weissmiller double and Carbaugh single. An error on a one-out ball hit Dietzman scored the tying run. Carbaugh scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and Wojcik added an RBI infield single.

In the four-run fifth, the Raiders took advantage of pitching and defensive miscues by Pines and got run-scoring singles from Wojcik and Hraby.

Wojcik was two for four with four RBIs. Weissmiller and Carbaugh also were both two for four.

Strebig, who got the last out in game one, went five innings, striking out five, walking two and allowing three hits and two unearned runs. Kraschnewski got the win, covering the last two innings. He was charged with an unearned run and two walks while striking out one.

“Strebes pitched well, going five strong,” Hraby said. “I like how he battled out of a tough first inning and then just cruised along. Jack capped off a big day with some big hits. He piled up four big RBIs for us. His bat was very key in our two wins. Braxton Weismiller continued to do what he does. He is a dangerous hitter every time he goes to the plate.”

Medford 9, Lakeland 5

On Thursday, Medford got off to a shaky start with three errors leading to two runs for Lakeland in the top of the third, but the Raiders settled down for the most part after that, got their bats going and outscored Lakeland 9-5 on Youth Night at Raider Field.

Medford did all of its offensive damage in three innings –– two runs in the third, four in the fourth and three more in the fifth. The support allowed Steliga to improve to 6-0 on the mound this spring and completed a two-day sweep of the Thunderbirds in GNC play.

Weissmiller went four for four with two doubles and three RBIs. Lissner was two for four with three RBIs and Kraschnewski and Wojcik added two hits apiece as Medford outhit Lakeland 12-6. Steliga pitched six innings, allowing four hits and three runs, one of which was earned. He struck out four and walked two.

Tanner Hraby walked, moved to second on an errant pickoff throw and scored on Lissner’s single up the middle to start the bottom of the third inning. Lissner moved up 90 feet and scored the tying run on Weissmiller’s second double of the day.

Wojcik’s hit started the go-ahead rally in the fourth. Hraby singled with one out and Lissner hit another single up the middle to score Wojcik. Weissmiller’s infield single to deep short scored Hraby. With two down, Steliga helped his own cause with a two-single back up the middle off Lakeland’s freshman left-hander Drew Warren to make it 6-2.

Wojcik, Lissner and Weissmiller had run-scoring singles in the fifth to open up a 9-3 lead before Lakeland’s Ashton Bremer hit a two-run homer off Gierl in the seventh. Gierl got all three of his outs in that inning by strikeout.

Medford 6, Lakeland 1

Medford scored twice in the top of the first and slowly tacked on runs from there, capped by Lissner’s two-run, sixth-inning double, to beat Lakeland 6-1 on May 8.

The Raiders had just six hits, but they took some advantage of six Lakeland errors and Tanner Hraby pitched well again, allowing just three hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two. Gierl struck out one in the seventh.

Lissner’s clinching double followed walks to Wilkins and Hraby, both stole bases to get into scoring position.

Hraby started the game by singling off Lakeland starter Ben Peterson and went to third on an error on a ball hit by Lissner. Weissmiller’s single scored Hraby. Lissner later scored on a groundout by Steliga. Errors contributed to Medford’s single runs in the second and third innings.

Lissner drove in three runs while going one for four. Weissmiller was two for four and Hraby was two for three.

Peterson was two for two and drove in Lakeland’s only run with a two-out double in the fourth, but the inning ended when he got picked off second base. Peterson went 4.1 innings, allowing four hits and four runs, two of which were earned. He struck out three and walked two.

Max Dietzman

Medford second baseman Ryder Kraschnewski is just a little late with the tag after taking the throw from catcher Braxton Weissmiller as Lakeland’s Landon Herrick steals the base in the third inning of the Raiders’ 9-5 win last Thursday. Herrick was caught stealing an inning later. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS