For the City Times
Rockford moves into first place in South Divisional second half of the season
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – For the first time this season, Rockford (28-22, 12-5) holds possession of first place in the second half South Divisional standings with a 4-3 win against Wisconsin Rapids (38-15, 11-5) on Tuesday from Rivets Stadium. The series is now split 3-3 on the season.
Both starting pitchers locked down in the first two innings, as Rockford’s starter Max Bain (1-0) allowed two base runners in the first two innings but worked around them both.
It took until the third for a team to score, and it was the Rivets who struck first. Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State) led off with a single and Neel Tyrell (Lewis) followed up with a base hit of his own. Zach Rheams (Texas Tech) and Brett Whelton (McNeese State) drove back-to-back RBI singles to give Rockford a 2-0 lead.
The following inning Rockford was led off by Anthony Forte (Louisiana State – Eunice) and a double. Hunter Feduccia (LSU) drew a walk, Hutchinson grounded out to bring in a run, and Tyrell unloaded for an RBI triple to give the Rivets a 4-0 lead after four.
Wisconsin Rapids put two runs on the board in the fifth inning when Jared Nelson (Phoenix College) drove in Will Davis (Hope International) on a single to left. Charlie McConnell (Northeastern) and Bryson Stott (UNLV) each singled to load the bases, while Ryan Stekl (Canisius) notched a sacrifice fly to pull the game within 4-2.
Mason McReaken (SIU-Edwardsville) entered out of the Rafters bullpen to pitch after George Castillo (0-1) went the first four. McReaken dealt four scoreless innings, facing the minimum of 12 batters out of the bullpen with three strikeouts.
To start the top of the ninth, McConnell bounced his third hit of the game back up the middle for a base hit. Stekl then drove a single to left to bring home McConnell and pull the Rafters within 4-3 of Rockford. However, Zach Thomas earned his fourth save of the season by getting Dustin Woodcock to line out on the warning track in right center field to end the game. The Rafters and Rivets square off two more times this season.
The Rafters return to Witter Field for a home and home double-header with the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Game one is slated for 12:05 p.m. at Witter Field, with the gates opening at 11:00 a.m. Pregame coverage starts at 12:00 p.m. on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network. Game two in Wausau is set to begin at 6:35 p.m. with coverage starting at 6:25 p.m.