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Furious 9th inning rally falls short for Rivets

Anthony Forte rounds second after hitting a solo shot to right field for Rockford in the bottom of the 9th inning. His home run started a five-run rally for Rockford that nearly gave Rockford the comeback win. Photo courtesy of Doug Timmermann of JK Richards Photography. 

LOVES PARK, IL – Rockford trailed by six runs going into the 9th inning, and the game looked like it was just about over.

The Rivets scored five runs in the 9th, but were unable to complete the late comeback as they fell to the Bullfrogs 7-6 on Sunday afternoon. Max Bain (Northwood) gave Rockford a solid start, and although the Rockford bullpen could not keep the game within reach, Rockford’s rally in the 9th nearly gave them the win.

This time, Rockford scored first in the ballgame. Neal Tyrell (Lewis) had the first hit of the night with two outs in the 1st inning. Brian Klein (Texas Tech) followed with a single of his own, and due to a Mikey Filia (UC-Irvine) fielding error in the outfield, Tyrell was able to score. Rockford led 1-0, but their lead only lasted a few innings.

Max Bain (Northwood) had his pitches working early, as he began the game with three scoreless innings. But in the 4th, Connor Bagnieski (State College of Florida) and Riley Smith (Minnesota) hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Bagnieski stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch before Smith came home off a Troy Johnston (Gonzaga) RBI single.

Rockford only managed three hits from the 2nd to the 6th, all three of which came in the 6th. Hunter Feduccia (LSU), Tyrell, and Klein each got on base, but Feduccia was picked off at 3rd base and Kian O’Brien (Madison College) flew out to center to end the threat.

Green Bay added two more runs in the 7th inning off JC Hughes (Rock Valley CC). Hughes walked Ben Hart (Oakland) to begin the frame and Willie Bourbon (Northwestern) tripled him home. Bourbon scored in the next at-bat when Zack Plunkett (Arkansas) flew out to left field, and Green Bay led 4-1.

The Bullfrogs were able to add three more in the 8th on just one hit. Mike Kogut (South Suburban) walked three Green Bay batters and threw three wild pitches as the Bullfrogs’ lead ballooned to 7-1.

But a furious rally by Rockford brought the game within reach in the 9th. Anthony Forte (Richmond) led off with a solo home run, and Logan Michaels (Madison College), Trevor Paradoski (Texas Tech), and Brynn Martinez (Quincy) all singled to load the bases for Feduccia, who hit a bases-clearing double to left center. Zach Bailey (Madison College) scored Feduccia with an RBI single, and all of a sudden Green Bay’s lead was just one. Klein, the next man up, singled but Zach Rheams (Texas Tech) hit into a line drive double play that doubled off Bailey at second base for the first two outs of the inning. O’Brien came up and grounded to the third baseman, but an errant throw to first that dribbled into right field allowed Klein to make it all the way past third from first base. Just as the game looked like it would be tied, a throw from the first baseman Bourbon to the catcher Plunkett nailed Klein at home to end the game.

Bain (2-2) took the hard luck loss, going six innings and giving up just two runs. The loss was Rockford’s (37-27, 20-10) only against Green Bay (22-42, 10-19) for the season in eight games between the two clubs.

The season is coming to a close in the next week for the Rivets. Rockford still has two home games remaining, this coming Thursday and Friday. Thursday is Thirsty Thursday, featuring $1 Miller Lite drafts. Gates open at 5:35 p.m. for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters come to town. Call 815.240.4159 to inquire about buying your tickets today!

The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 24th season of summer collegiate baseball in 2017. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, 180 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals), two-time World Champion Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets) and Lucas Duda (Mets). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com. 

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