By Cooper Perkins
In the first game of the final series between the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (8-6) and the Madison Mallards (9-6), the Rafters exploded for a six-run sixth inning and came back to defeat the Mallards 9-6.
Rafters starter Jay Peters (UW-Milwaukee) struggled through the early portion of the ballgame, surrendering six runs in the first three innings of his third start. In the top of the second, the Mallards struck first on a Sam Armstrong solo home run and seized a 1-0 lead.
One inning later, Lucas Halstead singled home a run to double the Mallards lead to 2-0.Unfortunately for the Rafters, the Mallard offense was not finished in the third inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Zach Jarrett swatted a grand slam to increase the lead to 6-0.
After six marvelous innings from Mallard starter Mike Reitcheck, the Rats finally cracked the scoreboard in the sixth inning. A bases-loaded, run-scoring single from Joey Morgan (Washington) opened the scoring for the rafters. Doak Dozier (Virginia) continued the sting of success and cut the Mallard lead in half with an infield single. The throw from Mallard short stop Nico Hoerner skipped past Nate Palace at first, allowing a second run to score. With the score at 6-3, Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) delivered a two-run double to bring the Rafters within one run at 6-5. The offensive continued into the ensuing plate appearance, as Demetrius Sims (Bethune-Cookman) laced a double to right-center field that tied the game at six.
The tie game was broken by Patrick Cromwell (Santa Ana College) in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run double to give the Rafters an 8-6 lead, their first of the night. Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hill) then proceeded to add to the Rafter lead with a run-scoring single.
In the top of the ninth inning, Garrett Schilling (Xavier) shut the door and preserved the Rafters’ 9-6 victory, earning his second save.
Tonight night the Rafters will seek a series sweep of the Mallards at 7:05 PM, with gates opening at 6:05 PM. For more information please visit raftersbaseball.com