For the City Times
Rafters Sweep Mallards in Madison on Friday
Henderson earns 15th save, offense shows timely at-bats in two wins
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – To finish the season series against Madison (30-26, 11-11), Wisconsin Rapids (41-17, 14-8) completed a double-header sweep of the Mallards on Friday at Warner Park, winning game one 9-6, and game two 5-3. The Rafters finished the season 6-2 against the Mallards.
Madison jumped on Rafters starter Jesse Slinger (7-1) in the first inning, led off by a Cole Daily double on the first pitch he saw. Daily advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a Sam Armstrong sacrifice fly.
To lead off the second, Dustin Woodcock reached on an error, and came around to score on a Dom Paiotti to tie the game at one. Quickly taking the lead for the first time, Charlie McConnell led off the third with a walk. Bryson Stott followed with a walk, and Ryan Stekl singled to left to give the Rafters a 2-1 lead. Will Davis led off the third for the Rafters with a double, and scored when he stole third base and the throw flew passed third basemen Thomas Smart to put Wisconsin Rapids in front 3-1.
Sam Armstrong tied the game with one swing for Madison, lifting a two-run homer to center to tie the game 3-3 after four.
In the fifth, the Mallards got a jumpstart from the bottom of their order. Cade Bunnell led off with a single, and Maverick Handley drew a walk. Andrew Baker singled to center to give Madison a 4-3 before Armstrong roped a double to bring in two more and push the Mallards in front 6-3 after five.
Wisconsin Rapids wasted little time on offense to jump back in front. To lead off the sixth, Jared Nelson drove a double, McConnell singled, and Anderson drove in Nelson on a single. Stott drove a double to left to pull the game within one before Stekl tied the game on a sacrifice fly. Woodcock then flared a single to left, giving the Rafters the lead back, 7-6. Two more Rafters scored on a Mallards error to put the Rafters in front 9-6.
Cameron Busby worked the final two innings of the game to earn his third save on the season, striking out Doran Turchin in the seventh with two men on base to secure the 9-6 win. Slinger picks up his seventh win of the season, tossing five innings.
In the first inning, McConnell reached on an error and came around to score on a double play ball to put the Rafters in the lead 1-0.
Rafter’s starter Jack Eagan dealt two scoreless innings to start the game, striking out five batters before allowing two runs in the third to Madison. Zac Taylor notched an RBI single, and the second run scored on an overthrow of third to push the Mallards ahead 2-1.
Tristian Bayless walked Stott to start off the fourth while giving up a single to Woodcock in the next at-bat. Davis walked to load the bases, and in his first game with Wisconsin Rapids, Michael Ruffolo worked a bases loaded walk to bring home a run and tie the game 2-2.
The first two runners of the fifth inning reached base for Rapids, as Nick Anderson singled and Stekl walked. Woodcock roped a single to right to give the Rafters their second lead of the game, 3-2.
Matt Elsenpeter led off the bottom of the inning for Madison with a base knock, and was followed up by a Daily single. Vinsky bounced into a fielder’s choice, and Taylor drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly.
McConnell continued to swing a hot bat with a single to lead off the seventh. Anderson bunted him over, and Stekl was intentionally walked. Stott drove as single to left to load the bases for Woodcock. The lefty drove a double down the left field line to score two, and give the Rafters a 5-3 lead.
Layne Henderson entered in the bottom of the inning to work his league-leading 15th save in as many tries, striking out two batters to complete the 5-3 win.
Rafters Drop Series Opener to Chinooks
Late rally comes up short in 8-7 loss to Lakeshore
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – A ninth inning rally came up just short for Wisconsin Rapids (41-18, 14-9) in an 8-7 loss to Lakeshore (31-27, 13-10) on Saturday at Witter Field. A big second inning from Lakeshore was highlighted by a bases clearing triple from Jacob Richardson in the Chinooks first trip to Witter Field this season. Trailing 8-5 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Rafters pushed across two runs and loaded the bases, but Nick Campe forced a ground ball to escape the jam with the save for Lakeshore.
The visiting Chinooks did not take long to get on the board in their first trip to Witter Field this season, scoring in the top of the first inning. Jacob Richardson knocked in the run with a two-out double off the wall in right-center, plating Matthew Mika who led off the game with a single.
Wisconsin Rapids struck back with two runs in the home half of the first on a pair of RBI hits with two outs. Ryan Stekl doubled to right field to score Nick Anderson for the first run of the inning. Stekl came in to score when Jake Guenther cued a ball down the third base line just past the glove of the third baseman.
Lakeshore regained the lead with a big second inning and chased Rafter starter Quinn DiPasquale, who reached the single inning pitch limit. After the lead-off batter stuck out, the Chinooks loaded the bases and Matthew Mika punched one through the hole between shortstop and third base to plate Tim DalPorto and Drake Lubin. Following a hit by pitch, Jacob Richardson unloaded the bases with a triple to the gap in right. Richardson scored on a Nick Gatewood double for the sixth run in the frame.
The teams traded runs in the third inning, as the Chinooks led 8-3 after three. Mika knocked in his third RBI of the evening with a double to plate DalPorto for Lakeshore, while Bryson Stott singled and scored for the Rafters on a Dustin Woodcock RBI single.
The Rafters cut the deficit in the seventh inning, scoring two runs to pull within three of Lakeshore. A throwing error scored the first run of the frame and newcomer Christian Kuzemka delivered a sacrifice groundout in his first plate appearance in Wisconsin Rapids to score Woodcock.
Wisconsin Rapids rallied in the ninth inning and scored two runs to close the gap and looked to walk-off or force extra innings. Nick Anderson stepped in the box with the bases loaded and two outs, drilling a grounder down the third base line, but a stellar play from Richardson clinched the win for the Chinooks.
Joe Heineman (4-0) earned the win for Lakeshore, allowing one run in three and a third innings of work. Nick Campe closed the door on the Rafters threat in the ninth to pick up his second save in 21 relief appearances. Rafter starter Quinn DiPasquale (6-2) was unable to make it past of the second inning and was tagged with the loss.