For the City Times
Stekl caps off big day with walk-off homer in game one
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – In a doubleheader featuring two seven-inning games between Wisconsin Rapids (49-18, 22-9) and Battle Creek (38-28, 18-13), the Rafters took both games from Witter Field with a 4-3 win in game one, and a 9-1 victory in the nightcap.
Game one needed eight innings to complete, but Ryan Stekl ended the game with one swing with a walk-off home run to win 4-3. In the nightcap, Wisconsin Rapids bats took over early, scoring six runs over the first three innings and securing a 9-1 win. Stekl led the way Monday, ending the day 6-7 with 4 RBI’s, a home run, and a double.
Game One: Wisconsin Rapids 4, Battle Creek 3 (8 innings)
Wisconsin Rapids jumped ahead in the first inning, taking advantage of an error to put a runner at third base. Bryson Stott singled with two outs and stole second before advancing to third on a failed pickoff. Ryan Stekl delivered his 47th RBI of the year on a single back up the middle to plate the first run of the day.
Battle Creek answered back with three runs in the top of the second to take its first lead in the game. Nehwon Norkeh led off the inning with an infield single and scored on a sacrifice groundout by Nikola Vasic. After starting the season on a temporary contract, Storm Joop blasted a two-run shot in his first at-bat after rejoining the team.
Scott Kapers tied the game in the fourth with a two-out, two RBI single to score Dustin Woodcock and Ryan Stekl.
The game went to extra innings and in the bottom of the eighth inning Ryan Stekl jacked a home run to deep center field to walk-off against the Bombers. Cameron Busby (3-1) tossed two scoreless innings in relief of starter Quinn DiPasquale and earned the win. Tyler Garam (1-3) tossed a complete game for Battle Creek, but surrendered the walk off home run and earned the loss.
Game Two: Wisconsin Rapids 9, Battle Creek 1
In similar fashion to game one, the Rafters scored first on an RBI hit by Stekl. Charlie McConnell walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third before scoring on Stekl’s double to left-center field.
Wisconsin Rapids hit around in the second inning, bringing four runs across the plate to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Jared Nelson knocked in two runs with a double down the left field line to score Alex Holderbach and Jake Guenther. Charlie McConnell and Stekl each drove in a run on singles in the frame.
The Rafters tacked on two more runs in the third to jump out to a 7-0 lead. Holderbach scored on a wild pitch and McConnell drove in his second run of the game with an RBI ground out to score Nelson.
Battle Creek broke the shutout in the third inning on an Alex Howard RBI double to plate Cody Hawken. Wisconsin Rapids answered that run in the fourth inning on an error. Stott crossed the plate to score his 67th run on the year.
Wisconsin Rapids added one more in the sixth on a McConnell RBI double, scoring Jake Guenther to end the scoring on the night. Nick Avila (2-0) picked up the win in game two, tossing five innings of one-run baseball while Tyler Kirkwood (1-2) was tagged with the loss for Battle Creek.
The Rafters will be off Tuesday with the Northwoods League’s Major League Dreams Showcase taking place in Madison at Warner Park. Representing Wisconsin Rapids in the game is shortstop Bryson Stott, outfielder Jake Guenther, and pitchers Layne Henderson and Isaiah Carranza. The Major League Dreams Showcase brings together 100 of the Northwoods League’s top prospects to play in front of major league scouts.