Hejza Slam Lifts Woodchucks in Game One
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI – Facing a four-run deficit in the seventh inning, the Wausau Woodchucks (8-9) rallied to defeat the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (14-2) in game one of a doubleheader at Witter Field Thursday afternoon.
Cal Hejza (Illinois) tied the game with a grand slam to left field. The sophomore shortstop tallied five RBIs in total, leading the charge for a Woodchuck offense that was shut out yesterday.
The Rafters saw their franchise-record 14-game win streak come to an end and suffered their first loss since opening day. After a scoreless first four innings of pitching by Ernie Lugo (Salt Lake CC), the Rafters surged to a 5-1 lead with a five-run fifth inning.
They had chances to add on in the sixth, mounting the beginning of a rally against Woodchuck reliever Michael Conte (Central Michigan). But skipper Corey Thompson called upon Trevor Ernt (San Jose State), who escaped the jam and stranded the runners.
After tying the game in the seventh, the Woodchucks handed the keys over to lefty Andrew Armstrong (Florida State). The lefty recorded the final eight outs for Wausau, eventually securing a victory in his debut. He struck out three Rafters, including two to strand an inherited runner in the bottom of the seventh.
In the eighth, Mark Shallenberger (Evansville) and McGwire Holbrook (West Virginia) led off with base-hits. Hunter Dorraugh (San Jose State) bunted the runners into scoring position, setting up Ryan Sepede (BYU) to deliver the go-ahead sacrifice fly.
The one-run lead was all Armstrong needed, allowing just one hit the rest of the way. A leaping catch by Amani Larry (New Orleans) put the finishing touches on a 6-5 Woodchuck victory, their largest come-from-behind win of 2022 so far.
Game two of the double-header will take place at 6:35 p.m. at Witter Field. The Woodchucks will travel back home tomorrow.
First pitch against the Traverse City Pit Spitters is set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday at Athletic Park. Join us for post-game fireworks presented by Fleet Farm! The team will take the field in specialty Wausau Woodchucks jerseys on Saturday to raise money for the Safe Kids program, presented by Aspirus.