For the City Times
Slinger and Eagan dominate on the mound for the Rafters in double-header
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – With dominant pitching backed by timely offense, Wisconsin Rapids (37-13, 10-4) defeated Kenosha (28-22, 6-9) at Simmons Field 3-0 in game one and 12-0 in game two of the Saturday double-header. The Rafters are now 5-0 this year against the Kingfish.
The pitching led the way for both teams through the first eight innings of the first game. Kenosha starter George Faue left after one inning, but the Kingfish bullpen stymied the Rafters bats the next seven innings.
In the third inning off Davis Schwab, the Rafters loaded the bases with two outs, but Schwab worked a pop out to avoid any damage.
Rafter’s starter Jesse Slinger (6-1) carried a no-hitter through four innings before a Derek Bangert single to lead off the fifth. Slinger quickly set down the next three batters in order to protect the shutout.
Jacson McGowan for the Rafters led of the sixth with a single and Jake Guenther followed with a double, but the Kingfish reliever Austin Paisar worked out of the jam by retiring the next three batters to keep the game scoreless.
It took until the ninth for Wisconsin Rapids to put a run on the board, and it started with a Will Davis leadoff single. Nick Anderson followed with a single of his own, and Bryson Stott drew a walk to load the bases. Ryan Stekl drove a single back up the middle to score the first run of the game. With the bases still loaded, Dustin Woodcock roped a single to right and drove in two more runs, giving the Rafters a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
Cameron Busby issued a leadoff runner, but induced a ground ball for a double play for two quick outs. Busby forced a groundout to end the game, earing his second save in as many tries this year. Slinger struck out one batter while allowing just two hits in eight innings. In two road starts this year, the righty has tossed 14 and a third scoreless innings. Justin Hasek (3-1) is tagged with his first loss of the season.
To start game two, the Rafters put a run on the board with an RBI groundout courtesy of Stekl, who brought in McConnell after a leadoff single.
The Rafters wasted no time in adding insurance runs in the third inning. Stekl led off with a single and Woodcock walked as McGowan singled to right to drive in Stekl. Guenther bounced a ball back up the middle that shortstop Ben Troike fielded and tossed to second for one out, but Woodcock came around to score all the way from second to give the Rafters a 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the fourth, Stott and Stekl notched back-to-back hits to put runners at the corners for the Rafters. Stott scored on a passed ball to put the Rafters in front 4-0.
Another two out rally sparked the Rafters offense in the fifth as Dom Paiotti and Scott Kapers walked, and Santino Rivera drove a single to center to bring home Paiotti and extend the lead 5-0.
More insurance runs were provided in the sixth as Stott and Stekl led off with a single and walk, respectively. Woodcock loaded the bases with a walk of his own, and McGowan launched a three-RBI double to right center to push the Rafters in front 8-0.
Jack Eagan (7-0) carried a no-hitter through six innings before Mike Madej dribbled an infield single in-between the pitchers mound and second base. The lefty starter allowed just three base runners through the first seven innings.
With a chance to sweep the double-header, the Rafters offense poured in four runs in the eighth, led off by a Stekl single. Woodcock dove him in with a sacrifice fly to put the Rafters up 9-0. Guenther walked, Paiotti singled, and Kapers reached on an error by Logan Paulsen in left to score a run. Rivera then lined a two-out double to right center to bring home two, and push the Rafters in the lead 12-0.
George Castillo and Aaron Herr combined to pitch the final two innings for Rapids to preserve the 12-0 win. The Rafters won both games of a double-header for the first time of the season. Wisconsin Rapids has won eight in a row vs. the Kingfish dating back to last season.
Both team square off on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. from Simmons Field, with pregame coverage starting at 3:50 p.m. on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR, the Rafters Radio Network.