Lords of the Flies: Pair of Sacrifices Lifts Dock Spiders over Woodchucks
Wulff’s Single Keys Comeback in 6-5 Dock Spider Win
Fond du Lac, Wis. – At this point in the season, every loss stings a little bit more. After a pair of one-run losses to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, the playoffs have gotten even further out of reach for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in 2017. Friday night in Fond du Lac, the Woodchucks (23-34; 8-14) led 2-0 and 4-2, but a pinch-hit single and a pair of sacrifice flies lifted the Dock Spiders (28-29; 12-9) to a 6-5 comeback win.
It took Wisconsin until the eighth inning to score Thursday night, but the Chucks got going in the second on Friday. Hunter Coleman led off with a walk and Logan Foster singled to put two men on, and Adonis Lao sent a chopper that dipped under the glove of second baseman K.V. Edwards to score both Coleman and Foster and put Wisconsin up 2-0.
Chucks starter Payton Coffman rolled through three innings, helped by Foster gunning down a would-be scorer at home in the second and by Trey Dawson turning a double play in the third, but Fondy got to him in the middle innings. With one out, Coffman hit Andrew Bullock with a pitch and Nick Fortes drew a walk. Luke Mangieri then got on base on a supposed catcher’s interference call to load the bases, and Eric Feliz forced home Bullock by reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Fondy tied it in the next inning. Collin Ridout and Caleb Summerhays led off with singles and advanced a bag on a wild pitch. Chris Cornelius then hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Ridout to level the score.
Wisconsin restored its lead in the fifth when Stevie Mangrum hit a two-out triple to center and scored on a Coleman single. Coleman then stole second and scored on a single from Foster to give Wisconsin its second two-run lead of the game.
It didn’t last long. Nick Fortes led off the bottom half with a walk and Mangieri singled to put two men on. Coffman locked in and got Feliz to strike out and Edwards to hit into a fielder’s choice to get two outs, but he couldn’t get out of the jam. Ridout singled home Fortes and Summerhays walked to load the bases. Marcus Davis lifted Coffman in favor of Beau Zeihen, and Zac Charbonneau responded by sending Brandon Wulff to the plate as a pinch-hitter. With the bases loaded, Wulff came through with a two-run single to left to give the Dock Spiders their first lead at 5-4.
The lead soon became two. Bullock doubled to lead off the seventh, got to third on a Fortes flyout, and scored on a Mangieri sac fly. Wisconsin responded in the eighth against reliever Kyle Huckaby. He retired the first five men he faced, but Dawson hit a one-out double and came around to score on an error by Cornelius to pull Wisconsin within one.
Lenny Gwizdala tossed a perfect eighth to keep Wisconsin within striking distance, but Huckaby, who threw eight shutout innings against Wisconsin earlier this month, locked it down in the ninth, working around a Jordan Santos single by striking out the other three hitters to preserve the 6-5 Dock Spider win.
Wisconsin’s playoff hopes are fading after the sweep, but the Rockford Rivets, threatening for first place in the second half in the South, come to town for a three-game set over the weekend. Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 5:05 PM, with game two to being 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and can be purchased online by calling 715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.
Tim Hackett, Broadcasting Intern