Wisconsin Rapids, WI – June 18, 2012 – It sure wasn’t pretty early. Boy was it majestically beautiful late. For the seventh time this season, and fifth time at home, Rafters came from behind to attain victory. With an eighth inning grand slam from Brandon Hohl (JR, Univ. of Illinois), the Rafters took a 5-4 lead that held up against the Eau Claire Express. 1,028 were on-hand at Witter Field to watch the late-inning magic.
Rafters starter Cam Seidl (JR, UW-Stevens Point) was Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde once again. After his previous start began brilliantly and ended in disastrous control issues, Seidl got shelled early but cruised late. The right-hander went six-plus innings, his longest outing of the year, allowing four earned runs, on eight hits and a trio of walks. He allowed eight of the first eleven batters he faced to reach a stretch in which the Express took a 4-0 lead.
He would allow only three more baserunners. At one point, Seidl retired eight consecutive outs. The Appleton, WI didn’t have his best start, and didn’t strike anyone out for the first time this season, but he battled and kept the game in reach.
After he recorded his final out, the Rafters would commence the comeback. A run in the sixth on a lineshot home run by Brandon Downes made it 4-1.
In the eighth, the Rafters rattled off four straight hits. Back-to-back-to-back singles from Pat Kelly (FR, Univ. of Nebraska), Josh Cyr (JR, Univ. of North Alabama) and Brandon Downes (FR, Univ. of Virginia) loaded the bases for Brandon Hohl. The Rafter’s third baseman smashed the first pitch he saw foul. He then worked the count in his favor, taking three pitches out of the zone. Express reliever Devin Moore left a 3-1 pitch up in the zone, and Hohl smashed it, a towering drive up into the lights that erupted the Witter faithful as it soared over the left-field wall, giving the Rafters a 5-4 lead.
Seth Fuller (FR. Western Illinois Univ.), perfect once again, recorded a one-two-three ninth to pick up his second save. The right-hander is unscored upon in 13.2 innings this season.
Tommy Danczyk (SO, Univ. of St. Thomas) tallied his third win to improve to 3-0. He worked two scoreless innings, getting out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the eighth, without which Hohl could never have been the hero in the first place. Moore (0-1) took the loss in his second appearance of the summer.
The Rafters (11-9), in a second place tie with Green Bay, travel to Eau Claire (7-13) for the second game of the three-game series Tuesday. First pitch is at 6:35 pm from Carson Park.
COURTESY WISCONSIN RAPIDS RAFTERS