MERRILL – The Marshfield softball team earned a pair of wins it desperately needed to stay in the Wisconsin Valley Conference race on Thursday.
The Tigers took down first-place Merrill, sweeping a doubleheader 6-1 and 10-6, at the Merrill Area Recreation Center.
Marshfield is now 9-3 overall and 5-2 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, one-half game behind Stevens Point for first place in the conference standings. Point beat Wisconsin Rapids, 9-4, on Thursday, to improve to 6-2 in the Valley.
With the pair of losses, Merrill falls to third place in the conference at 5-3 and is now 9-4 overall.
Marshfield has not won a Wisconsin Valley Conference championship since finishing in a three-way tie for the title with Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids in 1998.
In the opener, Rhiannon Corozolla and Madalen Bornbach each hit home runs and drove in a pair of runs for the Tigers. Those two, along with Taylor Barwick and Brianna Jakobi, each had two hits as Marshfield had 13 in all.
Courtney Donahue pitched a complete game, striking out two and allowing just three hits, to earn the win for the Tigers.
In Game 2, Merrill forged ahead 6-5 with a three-run fourth inning, knocking out Marshfield starting pitcher Sandra Costa.
Marshfield responded with a five-run bottom of the fourth to forge ahead.
Donahue entered with two outs in the fourth, got out of the jam, and threw a pair of scoreless innings to finish off the win.
Loryn Jakobi had a home run and two RBIs, Bornbach also drove in a pair of runs, and Brianna Jakobi had a double and three RBIs for the Tigers.
Marshfield plays a nonconference game at Tomah on Friday.
Tigers 6, Bluejays 1
Marshfield 001 230 0 – 6 13 1
Merrill 000 100 0 – 1 3 3
WP: Courtney Donahue. LP: Kendall Krueger.
SO: Donahue 2; Krueger 4. BB: Donahue 2; Krueger 2.
Top hitters: MAR, Rhiannon Corozolla 2×4, HR, 2 RBIs; Madalen Bornbach 2×4, HR, 2 RBIs; Brianna Jakobi 2×4; Taylor Barwick 2×4, 2B. MER, Kelsie Belfiori HR, RBI.
Tigers 10, Bluejays 6
Merrill 120 300 – 6 8 2
Marshfield 203 50x – 10 9 2
WP: Donahue. LP: Krueger.
SO: Sandra Costa (3 2/3 inn.) 2, Donahue (2 1/3 inn.) 3; Belfiori (2 1/3 inn.) 1, Krueger (2 2/3 inn.) 1. BB: Costa 2, Donahue 1; Belfiori 2, Krueger 2.
Top hitters: MER, Belfiori 2×3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Megan Schroeder 2 RBIs; Abi Burgener 2×3. MAR, Loryn Jakobi 2×3, HR, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Corozolla 3B, 2 runs, RBI; Bornbach 2×3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs; Maddie Mews 2×2, 2B, RBI; B. Jakobi 2B, 3 RBIs.
Records: Marshfield 9-3, 5-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Merrill 9-4, 5-3 WVC.