The Wisconsin Woodchucks trailed 5-0 before they even batted, but combining nine unanswered runs and an outstanding relief performance by Aaron Fossas they defeated the La Crosse Loggers 11-7.
The Loggers struck in a loud way as they plated five runners in the top half of the first inning chasing Woodchucks’ starting pitcher Ryan McCarthy from Sunday’s game. With the bases loaded, Johnny Bekakis beat out an inning-ending double play to extend the inning. Brandon DeFazio came in to score on the fielder’s choice by Bekakis. The very next batter Chris Keck hit a towering home run to right field giving the Loggers a 4-0 lead. The Loggers tacked on one more run when Bobby Juan came into score off a Steven Moen bloop single into center field.
The Woodchucks cut the deficit to three in the bottom of the first inning when Garrett Rucker hit a home run of his own to right field that plated Tyler Stieb on the play as well.
The Loggers belted another home run in the top of the second inning when Kevin Zak hit one over the left-center field fence now giving the Loggers a 6-2 lead.
The Woodchucks rallied and never looked back in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jake Jefferies blasted the first pitch he saw to lead off the inning over the right field wall to get the Woodchucks’ rally started. A double by Austin Diemer allowed Josh Goossen-Brown, who hit a double of his own, to score. Diemer and new Woodchuck John Menken would come into score after Edgar Figueroa hit a triple into right-center field to tie the game up at six. The red hot Garrett Rucker gave the ‘Chucks a 8-6 lead after he hit a home run off the scoreboard in right field.
Austin Diemer hit a two-run triple that brought home Levi Meyer and Goossen-Brown to extend the Woodchucks lead to 10-6. Diemer would come into score after a ground out to short by Menken to give the Woodchucks a 11-6 lead.
Aaron Fossas came in the second inning and finished game only allowing one earned run while striking out nine Loggers’ batters in those eight innings pitched.
The Woodchucks will travel to Kapco Park tomorrow night as they take on the Lakeshore Chinooks for a crucial two-game series. The Woodchucks won’t be back in Wausau until Friday when they take on the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.
Sunday afternoon belonged to the Rafters right handed pitcher, Brad Stroik, as the UW-Stevens Point prospect tossed 7 1/3 innings and issued just 4 base hits, while needing 80 pitches to work through the Eau Claire Express Lineup as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters down the Express 3-1, Sunday afternoon at Witter Field. The win gave the Rafters the rubber match of the three-game as the Rafters earned win number five against the Express the season. The win moved the Rafters back to an even 23-23.
Zack Belanger got the Rafters on the board early when the Long Beach State product launched his second home run of the season on the first pitch of the at bat. The home run was the first since a June 8 game against the Lakeshore Chinooks and gave the Rafters the early lead, 1-0.
The lead would grow in the fourth inning when the Rafters used a four-hit attack to scratch across two more runs. Erik Payne scored the second run of the day when the Virginia Tech Hokie launched his ninth home run of the season over the left field wall. The ninth home run by Payne ties him for the team lead with Jackson Slaid and Donnie Dewees who each have nine home runs, respectively. The solo home run by Payne would extend the Rafters lead to 2-0. The inning wasn’t over after Zack Belanger, Cort Brinson and Charlie Curl all followed with consecutive base hits to score the third run of the game. The RBI single by Curl was the Texas A&M Aggies third of the season. The RBI was his first since July 9th against the Battle Creek Bombers.
Blake Schmidt kick-started the Express line up in the sixth inning when the Maryland Terrapin launched his first home run of the season over the left field wall. The home run appeared to hook into the left field corner but Josh Lobeck, the home plate umpire, ruled the ball fair to give the Express their first run of the game and to close the gap, 3-1.
JP Feyereisen came in and replaced Stroik in the eighth inning after Stroik issued back-to-back base hits to begin the eighth inning. Stroik would get a big out after Jose Vizcaino Jr. dropped a bunt down the bounced back right Stroik who fired to third to get lead runner. Feyereisen would replace Stroik as Chane Lynch pinch-hit for David Diaz-Fernandez in the eight. Feyereisen won the battle getting Lynch to bounce into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play ball.
Feyereisen would come in to earn his 10th save of the season as he became the first closer this year to reach the 10 save mark.
The Rafters will hit the road tomorrow as they face the Green Bay Bullfrogs for the first of a home-and-home series before before returning back to Witter Field for a short three-game home stand. The Rafters will play five of their next seven at home as the win today moved the Rafters 10-11 overall in front of their home town faithful.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Joannes Stadium and fans can listen to tomorrow nights broadcast by tuning into the leagues to the radio broadcast on WFHR AM 1320.