For the City Times
Big seventh inning propels Growlers to victory
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Two innings provided all the offense Kalamazoo (8-19) needed to defeat Wisconsin Rapids (22-5) on Monday from Homer Stryker Field in a 7-4 victory.
Rapids had an early chance to put runs on the board, loading the bases in the top of the second with two outs but Kalamazoo starter Ryan Johnson (2-0) buckled down and recorded the final out.
Through the first three innings, both pitchers were locked in, not giving up a run. Rafters starter Sam Carver (1-2) gave up one hit through the first three innings and no runs.
After back-to-back walks by Ryan Stekl and Josh Rehwaldt to lead off the fourth, the Rafters were unable to score one against Johnson in the inning.
It took until the bottom of the fourth for the first run of the game to hit the board. Carver allowed a single to Connor Hollis and walked Jason Sullivan to put two on. Hollis scored on a bases loaded walk, while Sullivan came in on an Ivan Estrella sacrifice fly to give the Growlers a 2-0 lead.
With one out in the sixth, Dustin Woodcock drove a double to deep center to put himself into scoring position, but the Rafters offense could not bring him in off Johnson.
Jake Guenther led off the seventh with a walk for Rapids while Wyatt Mascarella drove a single to left. With runners at the corners, Will Davis grounded out for his first career RBI with the Rafters to score Guenther and pull the Rafters within one, trailing 2-1.
After Rapids pulled the game to within one, Kalamazoo jumped on Rafters reliever TJ Fetters in the seventh. Kaleb Murphy and Christian Moya notched consecutive singles to start the inning. Jeff Riedel singled in a run while Hollis did the same. Michael Diffley drove a two-run double to score two more and Charlie Carpenter recorded an RBI groundout to give the Growlers a 7-1 lead after seven.
To start off the eighth, Bryson Stott and Woodcock drew back-to-back walks and Christian Jones walked with two outs to load the bases but the Rafters stranded the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
Woodcock helped pull the Rafters within 7-4 after a three-run homer in the ninth inning with two outs. It was Woodcock’s fourth long ball of the year. Stekl doubled, but Beau Ridgeway closed the door for his second save of the season.
Johnson earns his second win on the year after tossing seven innings of one-run baseball while Carver is tagged with the loss.
Wisconsin Rapids heads home on Tuesday to face Fond du Lac on Skyward Educator’s Appreciation Night with Teach of the Year Mr. Adam Klonowski Bobblehead Giveaway. First pitch from Witter Field is slated for 7:05 pm. Coverage of the game can be found on WFHR 1320 AM or WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network. Pregame coverage begins at 6:50 pm.