EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) My gut tells me Everest is still a better team than Merrill, but that wasn't the case last night. So how did Merrill look so good and Everest look so bad?
Everest pitchers gave up 11 walks; basic baseball math suggests that you're going to give up runs if you allow that many free passes. Three of those walks came around to score.
Errors aren't the only way to measure a defense. The Evergreens committed only one error, but it's still an adventure in the field. On a short fly-ball to right, Everest assumed that a runner on third wasn't going to tag-up. He did, and the throw that should have come to the plate came back to the infield. Everest gave up another run on a similar play to left. We had an outfielder completely turned around on a fly ball. And more confusion on who-covers-at-first on right-side ground balls.
There was another small but important difference in the game. For the last few weeks Everest has been doing a lot of first-ball swinging. Good approach. Many times high school pitchers are so desperate to get ahead in the count that the first pitch is fat and hittable. It didnt work out well last night, with a lot of reaching and flailing early in the count. Merrill took the opposite approach, working the Evergreens pitchers deep into the count throughout the game. Merrill had the lead-off batter on base in 6-of-7 innings. Everest's lead-off batters reached only 1-of-7 times.
Everest plays Wausau-East Thursday. A win over the Lumberjacks would close out the Wisconsin Valley Conference schedule at 6-6.