After Wisconsin Rapids tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Wisconsin Woodchucks wasted no time in responding, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth inning en route to defeating the Rafters, 5-4, Saturday night at Witter Field.
Catcher Zach Arnold and first baseman Brendon Hayden led off the Chucks’ eighth inning with back-to-back singles, and advanced to second when Rafters’ sidearmer Nolan Blackwood balked them each up ninety feet.
Following a strikeout to third baseman Paul DeJong, designated hitter Jake Scudder was walked intentionally to load the bases for shortstop Ryan Howard.
Down in the count 0-2, Howard hit a sharp ground ball past Rafters’ shortstop Zach Domingues into left center field for a two-run single. Second baseman Eric Garza tallied an RBI groundout later in the frame, which proved to be the game-winner after the Rafters scored two runs off Northwoods League All-Star closer Max Ising.
The Chucks’ led the ball game until the Rafters’ tied it in the seventh inning because of a first-inning, two-run homerun off the bat of Hayden, his eighth homerun of the year.
Despite the two runs allowed, Ising tallied his 11th save of the year. The win went to Chucks’ southpaw reliever Austin Tribby, who gave up one run on one hit in one inning, improving to a perfect 5-0 on the year.
Lefty Kaylor Chafin started the game for the Chucks, and in five innings of work, surrendered just one run on five hits, while striking out five and walking one.
The Woodchucks return home on Sunday afternoon, as they battle the Rafters in the second of this home-and-home series. First pitch from Athletic Park is scheduled for 5:05 P.M.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwood’s League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwood’s League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 115 Northwood’s League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwood’s League YouTube channel. For more information, visit woodchucks.com.