Wausau, Wis. – The Rockford Rivets (11-8) couldn’t take down the Wisconsin Woodchucks (6-13) on Saturday night at Athletic Park, as the Rivets lost by a score of 7-4. The Woodchucks found the big bats when they needed them and were able to win by three despite having one less hit than the Rivets.
It was a battle between two 2017 Northwoods league all-stars on the mound, as Cole Bellair from Rockford and Orsen Josephina for Wisconsin got the starts for their respective teams. Josephina cracked first as Jacob Vander Wal drove in Wyatt Mascarella in the top half of the second to put the Rivets up one.
The Woodchucks didn’t take long to respond as they put one run across in the bottom of the second, and then belted a two-run homerun to center field to give themselves the advantage by a score of 3-1. Bellair was ultimately credited with the loss, his first of the season. Rivets’ manager Brian Smith talked about Bellair’s performance after the game.
“Cole did a good job battling,” Smith said, “He had very little command with his fastball tonight, so he really had to pitch backwards all night.”
Bellair lasted five innings, allowing four hits, striking out five, and only allowing one earned run.
The Woodchucks went into their bullpen in the seventh and the Rivets pounced on the new pitcher Austin Elliot. Brock Mathis and Vander Wal both brought in runs with no outs, Cade Bunnell brought in a run with two outs, but three Rivets were left stranded when Wyatt Mascarella lined out to the Woodchucks’ shortstop to end the inning.
Bunnell and Parker Bates each had multiple hits for Rockford. Tanner Propst also came on in relief for the Rivets, and in one and two-thirds innings of works, he did not allow a hit or an earned run and struck out three.
The Rivets look to split the series with the Woodchucks tomorrow afternoon. First pitch for that one is scheduled for 3:05 PM.
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, 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, more than 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rockfordrivets.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rivets as your favorite team.