Rivets swept by Rafters, still must wait on playoffs

Brad Littleton throws a pitch for Rockford against Wisconsin Rapids on Friday. The Rivets fell 5-3 as they look for their first ever playoff appearance. Photo courtesy of Doug Timmermann of JK Richards Photography.

LOVES PARK, IL – The Rivets are very close to clinching their first-ever playoff berth, and a win on Friday night would have made it a bit closer.

However, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (51-19, 24-10) took the victory 5-3 over the Rivets in a hard-fought battle between the two clubs.

Brad Littleton (Indiana), Rockford’s starter, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 1st inning, and Rockford rewarded him with runs in the home half of the 1st. Hunter Feduccia (LSU) singled and Brian Klein (Texas Tech) launched a pitch from Rapids starter Jesse Slinger (Youngstown State) over the right field wall for a quick 2-0 Rockford lead.

The Rafters got on the board in the 3rd, starting with a Nick Anderson (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) double. Ryan Stekl (Canisius) double home Anderson to cut Rockford’s lead in half.

Slinger settled in after the 1st, and did not give up any more runs in his six innings. The Rafters, though, continued to produce runs in the following innings. In the 4th, Jake Guenther led off with a double. Charlie McConnell (Northeastern) walked with two outs before Anderson notched a two-RBI single, extending the Rafters’ lead to 4-2.

Nick Drahozal (Nebraska-Omaha) worked three scoreless innings in relief of Littleton, and the Rivets were able to cut the Wisconsin Rapids lead in that time. Zack Thomas (Chicago State) walked and reached second base in the 7th after Kian O’Brien (Madison College) singled. With two outs, Anthony Forte (Richmond) hit a hopping grounder that got past Rafters second baseman Michael Ruffolo (Rockhurst), allowing Thomas to score and cutting the Rafters’ lead to 4-3.

David Brown (Kutztown) came in to pitch the 9th, but gave up a leadoff hit to McConnell and walked Anderson. Thomas then came in to pitch, and although he got two outs Brynn Martinez (Quincy) could not handle a ground ball off the bat of Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville), which allowed Anderson to score and give the Rafters an insurance run.

O’Brien got on base in the 9th, but the Rivets were unable to score as they fell by a final score of 5-3. Depending on how the next few games shake out, Rockford could be looking at their first playoff appearance in franchise history.

The Rockford Rivets would like to extend a special thank you to all the fans who made this season a success. The Rivets are offering a 5 game pack next season for $75! Be sure you get yours today – just call the ticket office at 815.240.4159.

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,