By Cooper Perkins
Special to the City Times
Pitcher’s duel ends with walk-off
In their return to action after Wednesday night’s suspended game, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (38-16, 12-6) outlasted the Lakeshore Chinooks (23-32, 8-11) for a 1-0 walk-off win. On the back of outstanding performances from each starting pitcher, the game entered the final frame scoreless before a two-out rally and a bases-loaded wild pitch scored the game’s only run.
After a shaky first inning that saw right fielder Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) save a run on an outfield assist, Rafter starter Eric Ligda (Millersville) settled into form and turned in a masterful performance. While matching Lakeshore starter Marshall Kasowski pitch for pitch, Ligda worked seven scoreless innings, while surrendering just three hits and one walk, matching his season-high with seven strikeouts. Unfortunately for Ligda, the frustrating trend of thin run support continued to plague the Pennsylvania native, as upon his exit, the game rested in a 0-0 tie.
For the Chinooks, Kasowski, the Northwoods League leader in strikeouts, demonstrated exactly why he has been at the top of the leaderboards virtually all season. In seven scoreless innings, Kasowski allowed just three hits and matched his season-high with 12 strikeouts. Before the Chinooks handed the ball to their bullpen in the eighth inning, the Rafters had yet to push a runner to second base.
After the Rafters stranded a pair of runners on base in the eighth, they proceeded to make their move with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. After working the count full against Nick Lackney, third baseman Patrick Cromwell (Clemson) dribbled an infield single down the third base line to offer the Rafters a base runner. The next batter, Ben Fisher (Eastern Kentucky), erased a frustrating evening with an infield single to short, putting runners on first and second for pinch hitter Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago). Following a four-pitch walk to Calabrese, Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hills) stepped into the batters box and watched Lackney’s 1-2 offering kick to the backstop and allow Cromwell to score the winning run.
For the Rafters, reliever Blair Lakso (Buffalo) earned the win with a pair of scoreless innings. The walk-off victory was the Rafters’ second win on the final pitch in the last three days and ran their home record to a dominant 19-7 mark.
Hoping to continue their run of success against the Chinooks, the Rafters will return to action on Friday night against Lakeshore with first pitch set at 7:05 PM and gates opening at 6:05 PM.
For information please call raftersbaseball.com.