Rafters pick up decisive victory over Mallards
For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Playing in front of a packed house at Historic Witter Field, the first-place Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (21-12) got one step closer to locking up a playoff spot with a 5-2 win over the Madison Mallards (16-17) on Aug. 8.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Noah Thigpen hit a sacrifice fly to score Osvaldo Tovalin and tie the game. Matt Oldham hit a two-run homer later in the inning to put the Rafters on top 3-1. In the third inning, Jake Dunham hit a two-out solo shot to extend the Rafters lead.
Tovalin hit an RBI single that scored Richie Schiekofer and gave the Rafters a 5-2 cushion heading to the ninth. Brayden Bonner pitched a clean ninth inning to close out the win and earn the save. Starter Neil Abbatiello gets the win with 10 strikeouts in six innings of work.
Wisconsin Rapids now has a magic number of two, holding a 1.5-game lead over the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders. With the win, the Rafters have clinched the best overall record in the division and home-field advantage should they reach the postseason.