Explosive Rafters Offense Leads to Weekend Victories
For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — An explosive Rafters offense carried them to wins this weekend, putting up 20 runs in two games.
Rafters Score 13 Unanswered to Defeat Fond du Lac
After falling behind early, Rafter bats warm up with 17 hits
The Rafters fell behind early to the Dock Spiders, but timely hitting paced a 13-5 victory from Witter Field on Friday night. Fond du Lac led 5-0 after two innings, but the Rafters tacked on multiple runs in four separate innings to score 13 unanswered and put away Fond du Lac. The Rafters improve to 3-1 on the season, while Fond du Lac falls to 2-2.
The Dock Spiders pressured Rafters pitching early, loading the bases with no outs in the top half of the first inning. Fond du Lac pushed across the first run of the game on a T.J. Fetters wild pitch, which scored Orynn Veillon from third. The Dock Spiders would add one more run on a Luke Mangieri sacrifice fly to center, scoring Collin Braithwaite. The Dock Spiders would load the bases again with 2 outs, but Fetters struck out Chris Lund to end the threat.
The visitors would pad their lead scoring three runs in the second, capped by an Eric Gilgenbach two-run no-doubter over the left-field wall. The homer was Gilgenbach’s second in as many days, with a home run last night against the Rafters. The visitors led after two frames, 5-0.
The Rafters bats would come alive in the third, scoring their first run on a Jake Guenther blooper over the shortstop to score Josh Rehwaldt from second. Mitch Mallek would tally his fifth run batted in on the season on a cue shot that settled on the third base line, scoring Christian Jones from third. The next hitter, Brock Hallum, recorded his first hit on the season with an RBI single to center, closing the lead to 5-3 and scoring Jake Guenther. The rally would continue with two outs in the frame and the Rafters scored their fourth run of the inning on a Nick Owens gapper. The Rafters brought nine batters to the plate and cut the lead to 5-4 after three full innings.
The bat of Nick Owens would tie the game in the fifth on a single back up the middle to score Mallek from second. The next batter, Bryson Stott, would give the Rafters their first lead of the game on an opposite field drive to left, scoring Owens and Hallum. After trailing 5-0, the home side secured the lead, 7-5.
The Rafters tagged on three more runs in the sixth, to extend the lead to 10-5. Matt Schmidt picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly, scoring Jones from third. The Rafters tacked on their ninth run after a successful double steal and overthrow by Dock Spiders catcher Collin Braithwaite attempting to catch Nick Anderson on the back-end of the steal. Owens continued his hot streak with an RBI sac fly, scoring Anderson from third.
Christian Jones added an insurance run in the seventh on a solo shot to left, opening the lead the five runs. Jones leads the team with two home runs. The home side added two more in the eighth to take a 13-5 lead into the ninth.
Koby Bishop entered to close the door on the Dock Spiders, and retired the side. Jesse Slinger earned the win for the Rafters, throwing five innings in relief, striking out four. Matt Richey was tagged with the loss, allowing three earned runs. Nick Owens paced the comeback for the Rafters, driving in four runs to lead Wisconsin Rapids.
Late Offense Carries Rafters in Road Win Against Lakeshore
Rafters score six runs in the top of the eighth in late inning explosion
It took until the sixth inning to score and the eighth to take the lead, but the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters used a late offensive push to win 7-2 against the Lakeshore Chinooks from Kapco Park on Saturday.
The offense started early for Lakeshore in the bottom of the first. Zach Biermann doubled with two outs to set up Jacob Richardson, who drove a ball over the left-center field wall to give the Chinooks a 2-0 early lead. Zach Spears started for the Chinooks and then carried Lakeshore the first five innings without allowing a run.
In the top of the sixth, Dustin Woodcock came up to bat in his first game with the Rafters in 2017. With a runner on second, Woodcock drove a double to left-center to put the Rafters on the board and close the gap 2-1. That was the only run Spears allowed in his seven innings of one-run baseball. The lefty struck out nine.
J.P. Stevenson started on the mound for the Rafters, allowing three hits in six innings. At one point, he retired 13 straight batters to give the Wisconsin Rapids offense a chance to take the lead.
That opportunity came in the top of the eighth for the Rafters when Jake Guenther drove an 0-2 pitch to center field for a single in a pinch-hit at-bat. Shaq Robinson wasted no time following Guenther, lining a triple in the right-center gap to score Guenther to tie the game. With Robinson on third and Nick Owens at the plate, the full count pitch from Brenden McGuigan (0-1) got away from Chinooks catcher Justin Bardwell, scoring Robinson from third and giving Wisconsin Rapids its first lead of the game.
Christian Jones continued his home-run streak in the eighth inning, drilling a three-run blast over the right field wall. Jones has homered in three straight games.
Raul Rizo (1-0) earned the victory by pitching the seventh and eighth innings for the Rafters, striking out four Chinooks in two scoreless frames. Alex Jackson entered the game in the ninth to secure the 7-2 win.
Wisconsin Rapids and Lakeshore finish the series Sunday at 5:05 pm. Coverage of the game can be found on WFHR 1320 AM or WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network at 4:50 pm.