Chucks Go Down 9-0, Nearly Pull off Insane Comeback in 10-8 Loss to Growlers
Tim Hackett, Broadcasting Intern
Wausau, Wis.- The Wisconsin Woodchucks came back from a seven-run deficit against Fond du Lac earlier this year. Wednesday night in Wausau, the Chucks (8-14) very nearly came back from down nine, but their valiant efforts were thwarted in the end by the Kalamazoo Growlers (6-16) in a 10-8 Wisconsin loss.
Kellen Rholl had struggled in his first three Woodchucks starts, and his fourth start was his rockiest. He faced six hitters in the first and got none of them out, allowing four walks and two hits, and, ultimately, four runs, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Jason Sullivan. Josh Bottenfield came in to stop the bleeding temporarily by getting three outs in the first, but the Growlers struck for five more against him in the second, highlighted by a two-run home run by Matt Koehler and a two-RBI double by Jeff Riedel.
The Woodchucks trailed 9-0 going into the bottom of the second. But from then on, it was comeback time. Kalamazoo starter Tyler Drabick looked complacent with a huge lead, and the Chucks struck for four against him in the second, punctuated by a solo shot from Yeager Taylor in his second Wisconsin at-bat.
The Chucks kept creeping closer, scoring once in each of the next four innings to pull within one. Ivan Nunez doubled and scored in the third, Taylor doubled and scored in the fourth, Andrew Smith doubled home a run in the fifth, and Stevie Mangrum launched his league-leading ninth homer of the year in the sixth to, incredibly, make it 9-8.
That comeback would not have happened were it not for Payton Coffman. The righty was sensational over five innings of relief, facing one over the minimum through four before Kalamazoo finally got to him on an RBI triple by Mike Diffley in the seventh. Coffman’s five innings were the most any Chucks reliever has thrown this season, but the offense could not complete the comeback against Kalamazoo relievers Zach Vitkuske and Beau Ridgeway in a 10-8 Growler win.
This brief Wisconsin homestand continues Thursday night for Woodchucks vs. Growlers round two at Athletic Park. Austin Lambright will make his season debut for Wisconsin opposite JR Holloway in his first start of the season for Kalamazoo. First pitch will be at 6:35 PM.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and the 2017 Northwoods League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, presented by Ascension. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.