For the City Times
Christian Jones three home-run day aids Jesse Slinger in 14-1 victory
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – In dominating fashion, Wisconsin Rapids (27-9) ended the first half of the 2017 season with a 14-1 win at Witter Field against Rockford (17-17) on Independence Day.
In Wisconsin Rapids, fireworks came early for Rafters fans, both from the batter’s box and the pitcher’s mound. Four home runs and 14 runs for Rafter bats were led by Christian Jones, who sent three home runs out of the park and finished 3-4 with five RBIs. Not to be overshadowed by the hitters, Jesse Slinger threw a complete game, allowing just one run and three hits. Slinger remained effective through all nine innings, needing just 89 pitches to complete the 14-1 victory over the Rockford Rivets.
Wisconsin Rapids jumped on the board in the third inning when Jones sent his first home run of the afternoon over the wall in left-center field. The Rafters loaded the bases with no outs and pushed two runs across in the frame and chase Rivets starter Lukas Veinbergs (0-1) from the game. Nick Anderson drove in the first run on a fielder’s choice and the second run scored on an error.
Jones decided to continue the fireworks show early on Independence Day from Witter Field, blasting a line drive just inside the foul pole in left field to put the Rafters up 4-0 in the fourth.
In the fifth, two more home-runs for Wisconsin Rapids extended the lead to 9-0. Ryan Stekl hit a two-run home run to the deepest part of the park, his second on the year. Jones then hit his third home run in as many innings, bending a line drive around the foul pole in left to continue a career day at the plate. A three-run homer for Jones tallied his fifth RBI of the day.
The Rafters added four runs in the sixth on a pair of two RBI hits from Bryson Stott and Josh Rehwaldt. Stott doubled to center and Rehwaldt singled up the middle to plate the four runs for Wisconsin Rapids. One more run came across in the eighth on an error by the shortstop to extend the lead to 14-0.
Rockford scored their lone run of the day with two outs in the ninth inning on a John Rave RBI single to centerfield. Slinger tossed five innings of no-hit baseball before Zach Rheams notched the Rivets first hit to lead off the sixth. Slinger now has the second most wins in the league and is 5-0 on the year.
The Rafters win marks a sweep against the Rivets this week, and the Rafters have now won the past five games in the all-time series. With the victory, the Rafters post their best record ever for a single half of baseball. It is the first time in franchise history the Rafters have had less than 10 losses in a half.
The Rafters square off against the Green Bay Bullfrogs Wednesday from Witter Field, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. to start the second half of the season. It will be Bark in the Park Night with dog frisbee giveaway presented by Quality Feed and Seend. Owners and dogs are encouraged to dress up for the on-field costume parade. In addition, concessions will be offering the Hot Dog Hundo Promotion, with a chance to win cash prizes up to $100 by purchasing a hot dog. Pregame coverage starts at 6:50 pm on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network.