Rafters Sink Rivets In Extra Innings
Polizzi’s double breaks tie and Rafters finish sweep
Rockford, Ill. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (42-21, 18-9) surged ahead of the Rockford Rivets (29-35, 12-16) with a twelfth-inning RBI double by Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hills) and captured a 6-5 victory in the finale of their four-game road trip.
The bulk of the Rafters’ scoring came in the top of the second inning, trailing by a score of 1-0. After consecutive singles by Joey Morgan (Washington) and Patrick Cromwell (Clemson), Brett Thompson (Hope International) sacrificed the runners into scoring position and Polizzi worked the first of his three walks on the night. Andrew Turner (LIU-Brooklyn) chopped a grounder to the left side of the infield to score the game’s tying run and then Scott Kapers (Valaparaiso) doubled home a pair to offer the Rafters a lead. Finally, a run-scoring single by Richie Palacios (Towson) extended the Rafter lead to 4-1 and sent Jake Repavich (Grand Canyon) back to work with a lead.
After a scoreless second inning from Repavich, the Rivets responded with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth. With one out in the sixth inning, Repavich was lifted in favor of John Jaeger (Sterling College), who inherited a tight situation with runners on second and third and just one out. On a deep fly ball to center field, Polizzi threw out Neal Tyrell at third base to end the inning before Connor Perry crossed home plate, keeping the score at 5-4. Repavich’s final line included 5 1/3 innings of work and five runs (all earned) on 10 hits and three walks, while striking out four.
In the top of the seventh inning, Richie Palacios dropped down a bunt hoping to work his way aboard to begin the inning. On a wild throw to first from Rivet starter Cory Wright, Palacios advanced all the way to third, setting the stage for the Rafters to tie the game. On the ensuing pitch, Jake Lumley (Canisius) singled to right field to bring Palacios home and tied the game at 5-5.
The next four innings were categorized by outstanding bullpen performances on both sides, as Jaeger and Blair Lakso (Buffalo) combined to throw 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Rafters entering the twelfth frame. A leadoff walk by Patrick Cromwell and a sacrifice to move him into scoring position offered Polizzi a chance to break the tie. On a 1-1 pitch from Matt Vanek, Polizzi tore a double just inside the left field line to plate Cromwell and gifted the Rafters a 6-5 advantage.
Closer Garrett Schilling (Xavier) entered in the bottom half of the inning seeking to secure the win for the Rafters and succeeded by stranding the tying run on second base. The save was Schilling’s league-leading sixteenth of the season and locked up Lakso’s sixth win of the campaign.
The Rafters return home to begin a six-game home stand on Saturday night, beginning with the Kenosha Kingfish. First pitch at Witter Field is slated for 7:05 PM with gates opening at 6:05 PM.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Rafters as your favorite team.