WAUSAU- The Wisconsin Woodchucks wrapped up their regular season play against the Madison Mallards Sunday evening after struggling to find the groove heading into the post season, falling in their last six games on the road.
The Woodchucks stumbled early in the top of the first inning after Mike Reuvekamp, and Derek Fischer reached on back to back singles to put runners on first and second for the Mallards. Nicholas Howard walked loading the bases, and Joe Luvisi mishandled a routine groundball to bring around Reuvekamp and Fischer to put the first two runs on the board.
In the same inning, Jacob Reese singled, brought around Howard from third, and Jack Livingston grounded out, allowing Jeff Zimmerman to score the final run of the inning as the Woodchucks trailed 4-0.
The Mallards added to the lead in the second inning against Jordan Luvisi beginning with Mitch Elliot as he singled to begin the second, four- run inning.
After a Reuvekamp walk, Derek Fischer grounded out to score Elliot from third. Nicholas Howard drove in another run on an RBI single, and Jeff Zimmerman took care of the rest with a two run home run to stump the Woodchucks 8-0 in the second inning.
Wausau native Ryan Zweck came in to toe the rubber in attempt to slow the heavily slugging Mallards to begin the third inning. The decision deemed successful as Zweck shut down the side on three consecutive fly outs to end the insanity.
The Woodchucks got on the board in the bottom half of the third inning when Eric Filia- Snyder reached on an error by Mike Reuvekamp that scored Madison Carter from third.
The score remained until the top of the seventh inning when Jeff Zimmerman singled to right field scoring Nicholas Howard from second base to post the 9-1 lead.
The tenth run of the game also came in the top half of the seventh inning as Travis Becherer flew out to right field for the sacrifice fly to score Zimmerman from third base, posting the substantial 10-1 lead over the slumping ‘Chucks.
The Woodchucks would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning however, when Eric Filia- Snyder grounded out to second base, allowing Madison Carter to score, and Brendon Hayden, as he flied out to right field deep enough to score Brooks Braga from third base.
Zweck ran into a jam in the top of the eighth inning, loading the bases with three consecutive singles by Reuvekamp, Fisher, and Howard, but found his zone and dealed strikes, gunning out Jeff Zimmerman on a 2-2 count, and then got Jacob Reese to fly out to center field to end the inning. Zweck ended his day with six innings pitched, eight hits, and only two earned runs.
The Woodchucks offense took a turn in the bottom of the eighth inning, leading off with two consecutive singles by John Roberts and Joe Luvisi, followed by a Matt Richer walk to load the bases.
Bryant Munoz came to the plate and knocked in a shallow fly ball to left field, scoring John Roberts for the first run of the inning, followed by a RBI walk by Madison Carter, and a grand slam by Brooks Braga to bring the lead to within one run in the bottom of the eighth inning with nobody out.
Eric Filia- Snyder, the very next batter repeated, and belted a solo home run to right field as the Woodchucks committed back to back homeruns to tie the game at ten a piece.
Jackson Lowery would ground into a double play for the second out, and Joe Luvisi flew out for the third to end the complete madness in the eighth inning.
After a 1,2,3 shut down inning for Jackson Lowery in the top of the ninth, the Woodchucks got another shot to walk off for the ninth time this season, and break the franchise record with 43 wins on the season.
The Woodchucks went down 1,2 in the bottom of the ninth, but Madison Carter slaped a single to center field to put the winning run on the bases. Carter however, in the midst of Brooks Braga’s at bat, was caught stealing first to end the momentum.
Finally in the bottom of the tenth inning, after Brooks Braga reached on a Reuvekamp error, an Eric Filia- Snyder double that rattled against the wall, and a intentional walk to Brendon Hayden, pitcher Jackson Lowery stepped to the plate with bases loaded and nobody out.
On the first pitch Jackson grounded to the pitcher and a collision with the third basemen allowed Brooks Braga to score the ninth walk off win of the year, and break the franchise record in wins with 43.
The Woodchucks are back in playoff action Monday evening at 6:35 at Athletic Park against the La Crosse Loggers for the first game of the playoff series.
COURTESY WISCONSIN WOODCHUCKS
Wisconsin Rapids, WI – August 12, 2012 – The best Rafters season in history came to a close Sunday at Witter Field. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (11-24-1, 27-42-1 overall) finished on a strong note, holding the Lakeshore Chinooks (18-17, 35-35 overall) to their lowest run and hit total in the season series and hanging on for a 4-3 win.
Behind 1-0 early after the first, the Rafters scored four runs off of Lakeshore starter Nick Soldano in the fourth. After a leadoff strikeout, four straight Rafters reached. The big hit of the inning, and the game, came from the newest Rafter, Cole Cefalu (SO, UW-La Crosse). With the bases loaded, Cefalu looped a shot down the right field line. Alex Bacon (SO, Univ. of North Florda) scored easily, and coming home second, Nick Ammirati (JR, Mississippi State Univ) was beat by the throw from Forrest Chadwick by a number of steps.
Ammirati spun around the tag and, after passing the plate, dove bag to touch home, missing the tag from Connor Lynch for the second run. The play would loom large in the one-run contest. What would have been the second out was not, and with two away, Brandon Hohl (JR, Univ. of Illinois) doubled home the decisive fourth run to put the Rafters ahead 4-1.
Kenny Towns (FR, Univ. of Virginia) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. A run scored off of him, unearned in the first inning, after a walk, an error, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Forrest Chadwick. After that, one walk and one hit batter over the next 18 batters. That was it. It wasn’t until the third batter of the sixth that he allowed another hit, a triple to Chadwick. With a 4-1 lead, Ryan Krill hit an opposite field home run to cut the lead to one.
Towns was done after six, and three relievers finished the job. The combination of Tommy Danczyk (SO, Univ. of Thomas), Tommy Organ (SO, Univ. of North Florida), and Skyler Debilzen (JR, UW-La Crosse), all second-year Rafters pitchers, allowed just one baserunner to hold on to the 4-3 win.
Towns (1-2) took the win and Soldano (5-5) evened his ledger with the loss. Debilzen picked up his second save of the year.
The victory, the 27th of the season, caps off the most successful season in team history. The Rafters smashed all sorts of records, including most wins in a season (27), longest winning streak (8), and best team batting average (.262).
On Fan Appreciation Night, the Rafters want to thank all of their fans and their generous Founding Partners for helping make year three another great season!
COURTESY WISCONSIN WOODCHUCKS