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Cream Puffs toppled in ninth inning

Mequon, Wis. – For the second straight game, the Cream Puffs recovered after an empty opening frame.

Although State Fair mounted a four-run burst in the fifth inning, that remained their only scoring surge.

Woodchucks designated hitter Stephen Reid registered his third two-hit outing in six games, reliever Peyton Schofield outpitched the Cream Puffs bullpen, and State Fair fell to Wisconsin, 6-4, on Sunday at Kapco Park.

With Wisconsin’s second-highest batting average at .348, Reid tapped a single into center field for the game-deciding run in the top of the ninth that reeled in Louie Albrecht. The two-out RBI base knock was Reid’s 25thof the year and sunk State Fair for its fifth loss in its last seven games.

“I took some responsibility, I made a couple of mistakes today and I’ll wear that, but we really gave away the ninth inning,” Cream Puffs field manager Travis Akre said. “They didn’t earn their way on base and that the difference. One hit and a couple of base on balls and a hit by pitch, and all of the sudden, we’re chasing two runs.”

The Cream Puffs (10-15) are five games under .500 after pulling two games within an even record after taking a win over the first place Dock Spiders on July 24. State Fair also worsened to 11-20 at home overall, taking its first home loss to Wisconsin (16-8) since June 5.

Cream Puffs starter Joe Glassey struggled in his second start against the Woodchucks, as the Illinois product only tossed 2 2/3 innings and allowed the game’s first three runs on five hits, despite also striking out four batters.

Sunday marked the second straight start for the right-hander in which he recorded at least four strikeouts, though failed to relinquish fewer than two earned runs.

Collecting six of the Cream Puffs’ nine total hits, the upper third of the lineup’s multi-hit efforts helped plate multiple runners in the fifth.

“There’s a little added pressure being in the leadoff spot, but your job is just to get on base,” said left fielder Ethan Vecrumba, who entered the contest with a .405 hitting average versus the Woodchucks through 12 meetings.

The wave of RBI hitting in the fifth was short-lived, nonetheless.

Woodchucks third baseman Anthony Catalano led off the sixth with a single and first baseman Colton Vincent hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at four runs apiece.

Reliever Miles Halligan (0-3) gave up his second earned run after walking Albrecht and Cade Berendt hit the Harrison Long, Wisconsin’s sixth run, on a 1-2 pitch with two outs.

“We had to abbreviate some things today,” Akre said of his bullpen decisions. “He [Halligan] threw well, and it sucked that was the sour way for him to end his outing on,” Akre said.

Schofield, undefeated in 2021, pitched a dominant three scoreless innings in relief and the southpaw struck out three consecutive at one point.

State Fair’s next optimal chance appeared in the seventh, as Vecrumba doubled to left field. But after designated hitter Griffin Doersching flied out to move the Bloomington, Indiana native to third base, Vecrumba was thrown out at the plate on a 4-2 play.

“They definitely led the offense today, but we left some guys on in scoring position in the middle part of the game with less than two outs,” Akre said. “You’ve got to have contact there and you’ve got to be able to drive in a guy, and those were the differences today. We flat-out gave away today’s game.”  

Wisconsin reliever Colin Millar garnered his first save of the season having only walked designated hitter Griffin Doersching in the ninth. The Woodchucks infield then closed out the game that clinched the team’s first winning season in seven years. Second baseman Antonio Valdez stepped on second base and fired over to first base, retiring right fielder Jackson Gray, who sustained an 11-game hit streak.

Up next, the Cream Puffs will travel to Madison, Wisconsin for the start of a two-game road series, split in half by the Major League Dreams Showcase on Tuesday in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Six players will represent the ball club.