For the City Times
Three-run eighth the difference in 7-5 win
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Wisconsin Rapids (44-18, 17-9) trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but three runs in the frame were the deciding factor in a 7-5 victory over Kalamazoo (18-41, 9-17) at Witter Field. Home runs from Ryan Stekl and Jake Guenther tied the game for Wisconsin Rapids and Scott Kapers delivered the go-ahead RBI double to put the Rafters ahead of Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo opened the scoring in the third inning, tallying two runs. Ryan Orr led off the inning by taking the first pitch he saw over the fence in left field, his first of the year. Jeff Reidel drove in the second run of the inning on a single to center, scoring Connor Hollis who doubled earlier in the inning to put Kalamazoo up 2-0.
The Rafters answered in the home half of the third, scoring three runs to take the lead. Charlie McConnell singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored when the catchers’ attempt to throw him out stealing third skipped away from the third baseman. Ryan Stekl and Dustin Woodcock each drove in a run, with Stekl plating Nick Anderson on a sac fly to left. Woodcock singled to right field to score Bryson Stott, his 100th run batted in in his Rafters career.
Reidel continued his hot bat against the Rafters, tying the game in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI triple. The Growlers regained the lead in the sixth, with two runs coming across on a single off the bat of Michael Diffley. Orr and Jack Duffy came in to score to put the visitors up 5-3.
Wisconsin Rapids used the long ball to tie the game at five, with solo home runs in the seventh and eighth. Ryan Stekl blasted his fourth home run of the year, and Jake Guenther hit a no-doubter to right field to tie the game.
The go-ahead run in the game came off the bat of catcher Scott Kapers in the eighth. Kapers double to center field, scoring Will Davis who double down the line and advanced to third on a passed ball. The Rafters added an insurance run later in the frame, with Bryson Stott singling with the bases loaded to take a 7-5 lead into the ninth. Layne Henderson struck out the side to pick up his league leading 16th save on the season. Cameron Busby (2-0) pitched two innings out of the bullpen to earn the win.
Wisconsin Rapids has an off day Wednesday before heading to Battle Creek, Michigan for a two-game set with the Bombers starting on Thursday. The Rafters return to Witter on Saturday for the season series finale with the Kenosha Kingfish. Coverage of all games can be found on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network.