By Coooper Perkins, Special to the City Times
In a low-scoring affair that saw both starting pitchers dominate for the majority of the evening, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (27-13) fell to the Green Bay Bullfrogs (16-24, 1-3) by a final score of 3-2 on Saturday night. Late defensive miscues and a quiet night at the plate proved to be the Rafters’ undoing, as the South Division First-Half winners fell for the first time in the second half and watched their four-game winning streak fall by the wayside.
Jake Repavich (Grand Canyon) toed the rubber for the Rafters on Saturday night and turned in an excellent start that was tarnished by his second loss of the season. After a shaky first inning in which the Bullfrogs scored the first run of the night on a run-scoring fielder’s choice, Repavich settled in for the Rafters and pitched five consecutive scoreless innings leading into the top of the seventh.
With the score still 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning, the Rafters finally broke through against Green Bay starter Chad Mabini after a collision between right fielder Marcus Shoemaker and second baseman Josh Hollander resulted in a two-base error to put Logan Mattix (Georgia College) on second base with no outs. The next batter, Patrick Cromwell (Clemson), subsequently singled to put runners on the corners with none out. Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) proceeded to drive a 1-0 pitch deep enough to left field to score Mattix from third and tie the game. Two batters later, catcher Scott Kapers (Valparaiso) laced an RBI double down the left field line to give the Rafters a 2-1 lead, their first of the ballgame.
The lead, however, would be short-lived, as the Bullfrogs responded to create a two-out rally of their own in the bottom half of the inning. A two-out walk from Repavich and an error at second by Jake Lumley (Canisius) put runners on first and second and offered the Rafters cause to turn to Nick Belzer (Des Moines Area CC) out of the bullpen. Back-to-back singles from Parker Coss and Marcus Shoemaker would plate a pair of runs and offer the Bullfrogs a 3-2 lead heading to the eighth inning. Both runs would be charged to Repavich, leaving the southpaw with a final line of 6 2/3 innings pitched, two hits, three runs allowed (one earned), three walks, and two strikeouts.
After a largely uneventful eighth inning, the Rafters staged a one-out rally against Bullfrog closer Jeremy Graf in the top of the ninth. Trailing by just a run, the Rafters drew three consecutive walks and loaded the bases for pinch hitter Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago). With the count sitting at 1-2, Calabrese bounced a chopper back to the mound where Graf fielded the ball cleanly and threw home to catcher Brian Lees, starting a game-ending 1-2-3 double play and sealing the Rafters’ fate.
The Rafters will look to return to their winning ways Sunday in the late afternoon against the Kenosha Kingfish with first pitch at Simmonds Field scheduled for 4:05 p.m.
For more information, please visit raftersbaseball.com