WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wisc (Woodchucks-WSAU) The Wisconsin Woodchucks and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters needed bonus baseball to settle the final game of a three-game series, and it was the Rafters who came out on top on a walk-off single by Pat Kelly for a 6-5 win.
The Woodchucks got on the board first for the fourth consecutive evening as they took an early 2-0 lead. After a Mike Bernal lead-off single, Skyler Ewing lined a double down the left field line that sent Bernal to third with no outs. The next two batters, Nate Irving and Jake Peter both grounded out, bringing in Bernal and Ewing respectively to put the Woodchucks on top.
The ‘Chucks would add to their lead in the third inning as Brooks Braga stayed hot at the plate. Braga, who walked and stole a base in the first inning, led off the third with a single and later scored on a single by Levi Meyer to put Wisconsin on top 3-0.
The Rafters would answer with a run of their own in the third as they finally broke through against Woodchuck starter Jordan Jess. With the bases loaded and only one out, Jess plunked Austin Neary to bring in Colin Bray and make it a 3-1 game. Jess then struck out Josh Cyr and Brandon Downes to retire the side and get out of a jam.
The Woodchucks would get that run back in the fourth, once again aided by Braga. Braga doubled with two outs and scored later in the inning on an RBI single by Brendon Hayden to put the ‘Chucks on top 4-1.
The Rafters would dig back in the fourth as Jordan Jess’ control hurt him once again. Jess walked the lead-off batter Kenny Towns, allowed a base hit to Nick Ammirati, and hit Jordan Dreiling to load the bases. With the bases loaded and one out, Sean Godfrey blasted a two-run double to cut the Woodchucks lead to 4-3 heading into the fifth inning.
After Jess hit the lead-off batter Cyr in the fifth, Cyr went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Downes. With two outs, Ammirati hit a ball to third baseman Hayden who made a diving stop, but the throw was mis-handled by first baseman Ewing to extend the inning on the error. The next batter, Dreiling placed a bunt perfectly, beating it out for a single to score Cyr from third and tie the game at four runs each.
The score would stay locked at four until the seventh inning. With two outs and the bases clear, Mike Bernal doubled in front of an RBI single by Skyler Ewing that scored Bernal, putting the ‘Chucks on top 5-4.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Rafters answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Ammirati lined a double to right-center field that scored Towns from first, once again tying the game at five heading into the eighth.