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Rivets’ comeback falls short against Rafters

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The Rockford Rivets (17-16) dropped the opener of a two-game series to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (26-9), 6-3, at Witter Field Monday night. It was the first meeting between the two teams this season.

The Rafters got on the board early against Rivets’ starter Cole Bellair (Illinois). Dustin Woodcock (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville) singled in Charlie McConnell (Northeastern) with two outs in the first inning to give Wisconsin Rapids a 1-0 lead. The Rafters added two more runs in the third inning on a McConnell solo home run to right field and a Woodcock RBI double, to make it 3-0.

The Rivets got one back in the fourth on a Neal Tyrell (Lewis) two-out RBI bunt single, scoring Zach Thomas (Chicago State), who had two hits on the night. But the Rafters put up three more runs in the fifth, with two of them coming on Woodcock’s two-run homer to right field. Woodcock went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI on the night.

Bellair’s night was done after six innings. He struck out eight batters and walked only one, but gave up six runs, all earned, on nine hits and got the loss. Isaiah Carranza (Oregon) started for the Rafters and worked six dominant innings, striking out six and allowing just one run, to earn the win.

Rockford rallied late with one run in the seventh inning and one more in the eighth, to make it 6-3, but that was the last of the scoring in the game. In the loss, Nick Drahozal (Nebraska-Omaha) and Jon Laird (Illinois-Springfield) each worked a scoreless inning in relief and Tyrell picked up two hits including a double, to give him five hits over his last two games.

Game 2 of this series will be played tomorrow, on the Fourth of July, at 3:05 p.m.

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, 160 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.