After a Woodchuck lead until late in the game, a ninth inning blow up allowed the Loggers to walk away with the first win of the series 11-6, as nine runs crossed home in the ninth inning at Athletic Park Monday evening.
The Loggers struck early in the top of the first inning against Woodchucks starter, Austin Pettibone. Loggers Matt Chapman was hit by a pitch, and Kevin Kramer followed and slapped a line drive to deep left field that allowed Chapman to reach third base, and Kramer on second with a stand-up double.
Richard Prigatano did the rest, grounding into a fielder’s choice that brought Chapman around to score the first run of the night.
The Woodchucks would take the lead in the bottom half of the first inning, when Logger’s starting pitcher, Jake Stassi walked lead off batter Madison Carter, and Brooks Braga, only to give up to ground outs to advance the runners, and score Madison Carter off a Brendon Hayden RBI groundout to tie the game at one.
The go-ahead run came off a stand-up, RBI double by pitcher Jack Fischer that scored Braga from third base for the second run of the inning.
The Woodchucks took a hold of the game in the bottom of the second inning with two consecutive singles by catcher, Nic Barnes, and left fielder Bryant Munoz to put runners on first and second. Madison Carter followed the back-to-back singles with a three run home run to left field as the Woodchucks grabbed a controlling 5-1 lead.
The Loggers began to climb back into the game in the third inning with a RBI double from Richard Prigatano that scored Matt Chapman from first base to close the deficit to three.
A scoring opportunity presented itself in the fifth inning for the Woodchucks with bases loaded and two outs, but John Roberts was carved out by Stassi, stranding three ‘Chucks on the bases to end the inning.
Jumping on the missed opportunity, the La Crosse Loggers started the sixth inning with a solo shot by Brandon Bednar to decrease the deficit to just two runs, followed by a Tyler Kuresa double, with no outs.
That would be all for Austin Pettibone as he went 5 1/3 innings pitched, three strikeouts, and one walk.
Brett Higginbotham would toe the rubber with no outs and a Tyler Kuresa on the bases in the top of the sixth inning to hold the Loggers from a comeback.
One more run would cross to make it a one run game for the La Crosse Loggers as Tyler Servais grounded out to Joe Luvisi, allowing Tyler Kuresa to cross the plate.
As Jake Stassi’s pitch count grew to 85, his time would be called as Logger’s reliever Zach Wright came in to face Madison Carter.
On the second pitch, Carter slapped a grounder got through the shortstop and third base hole, allowing Joe Luvisi to score as the Woodchucks went back up by two runs heading into the seventh inning.
The Loggers continued to hang around as Kevin Kramer came through with an RBI single to score Matt Chapman after his leadoff double cutting the Woodchucks lead in half with just two innings of play left.
In the eighth inning, Tyler Kuresa started things off for the Loggers with a single that punched through the second basemen and first base whole to put the tying run on the bases. Immediately following Kuresa, Joe Meggs singled on a bunt down the first base line putting the lead run on the bases with only one gone.
Austin Bailey came to the plate and singled in the gap to left field, but Bryant Munoz threw a rocket shot that put out Tyler Kuresa at the plate, keeping the tie game away.
Matt Chapman kept things interesting in the top of the eighth inning however, loading the bases with two outs with an infield single that controversially was called safe.
Higginbotham would end the inning on a line drive directly at Brendon Hayden to keep the score a 6-5.
The game soared into the ninth after the Woodchucks went down 1,2,3, in the bottom half of the eighth inning; Pascal Paul came in to close out the game in the heart of the Loggers line up.
Richard Prigatano led off with a single that stretched into center field, followed by a double by Bobby Juan that held Prigatano on third.
Athletic Park was silenced when Brandon Bednar singled to right field, that scored Richard Prigatano, and Bobby Juan to take the 7-6 lead with nobody out.
Another double rattled against the wall by Tyler Kuresa, scoring Brandon Bednar to put the ‘Chucks in a hole down 8-6.
The agony did not end for the Woodchucks as a fifth consecutive hit rattled off the right field wall to bring in another La Crosse run, immediately followed by Tyler Servais’s two run blast that cleared the right field wall to suddenly make it a 11-6 game.
The nightmare inning finally ended after nine total runs crossed as the Loggers cruised their way on to victory for game one.
The Woodchucks will be back in action Tuesday in La Crosse for a 7:05 start as they try to tie the series, and force a game three.
COURTESY WISCONSIN WOODCHUCKS