By David Keech
In a battle of the top two teams in the Northwoods League South Division, the Kenosha Kingfish defeated the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, 6-3. The Kingfish pulled away late, scoring two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to pick up the three-run victory.
J.D. Nielsen picked up the win in relief for the Kingfish, tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless ball. John Jaeger (Pacific) took the loss for the Rafters, coming on in relief of starter Craig Pearcy. Jaeger threw three innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits.
Brett Shimanovsky got his third save of the year for Kenosha, working his way around two Rafter hits to close out the game.
Ryan Cleveland (Georgia Southern) stood out at the dish for the Rafters, collecting a pair of hits, scoring a couple runs and picking up a walk in his five plate appearances. Demetrius Sims (Bethune-Cookman) scored the other Wisconsin Rapids run, while Blake Molitor (Illinois State) picked up the lone Rafter RBI.
After both teams scored a run in the second inning, it was the Kingfish who took the early lead in what would turn out to be a pitching battle. Kenosha picked up a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on a RBI triple followed by a sacrifice fly, taking a 3-1 lead.
The Rafters chipped away at the lead and eventually tied it at 3-3 with runs in the fifth and sixth.
Kenosha took the lead for good in the top of the eighth on a two-RBI, two-out single by catcher Alex Dunlap. A pair of singles in the top of the ninth added an insurance run for the Kingfish.
Craig Pearcy (Morehead State) threw a quality start in his first start for the Rafters, tossing six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking none.