For the City Times
Woodchuck pitching the factor in first home defeat
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – A historic run of 14 wins in a row came to an end Saturday evening in Wisconsin Rapids, with the home Rafters falling to the Wisconsin Woodchucks 4-2 from Witter Field.
The Woodchucks jumped on the Rafters early and slow bats throughout the night ultimately ended the franchise record for consecutive wins. Stevie Mangrum drove in two runs for the Woodchucks, including a solo-home run for his eighth of the year. With the loss, the Rafters fall to 16-2 on the season, still in command of first place in the South Division.
The visiting Woodchucks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring a run in each of the first two frames. Northwoods League home run leader Stevie Mangrum continued his impressive start to the season by blasting a solo shot to deep centerfield to open the scoring in the first. Wisconsin would add another in the second when Andrew Smith would score on a Milton Rivera double.
Wisconsin Rapids answered back in the third, manufacturing two runs on one hit. After the first two batters reached base via the walk, Nick Owens laid down a bunt to set the plate for Bryson Stott. The left handed hitting shortstop delivered a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Jake Guenther from third. Nick Anderson would plate the second run for the Rafters with an RBI single, scoring newcomer Wyatt Mascarella. After three full innings the game was knotted at two.
The Woodchucks took the lead in the fifth as Stevie Mangrum drove in his second run of the evening with a single to score Andrew Smith. Smith would score again in the seventh inning, after he was hit by a pitch and stole second, on a Tristan Clarke single to right field. Wisconsin’s 4-2 lead would be held by the bullpen for the remainder of the game to earn the win.
The Rafters stranded nine runners on base in their first loss of the year at home. Tevita Gerber (0-1) earned the loss for Wisconsin Rapids, who maintain a three- game lead over Battle Creek after the defeat.
The story of the evening was the bullpen for the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Five scoreless innings in relief of starter Gordon Cardenas were executed by the combination of Andres Papageorge, Jackson Owens, Lenny Gwizdala and Orsen Josephona. Aided by errorless baseball, the Woodchucks improve to 6-12 on the year.
The Rafters and Woodchucks will meet again today in Wausau at Athletic Park in a 3:05 p.m. start. Coverage of the game can be found on WFHR 1320 AM or WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network at 2:50 p.m.