Rafters Open Second Half with Comeback Win
Bullpen works out of jams to beat Green Bay
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – After a franchise record for wins in the first half for Wisconsin Rapids (28-9), the Rafters faced a 4-1 deficit into the bottom of the sixth inning, but rallied behind timely hitting and clutch pitching to defeat Green Bay (12-24) 5-4 at Witter Field to start the second half.
Cameron Busby and Layne Henderson were dominant out of the bullpen and escaped jams in the seventh and ninth innings to secure the win. Wyatt Mascarella knocked in two runs for the Rafters and Bryson Stott’s go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth was the deciding factor Wednesday night.
The teams traded runs in the second inning to get the scoring started on the evening. Green Bay’s Alex Pener knocked in Troy Johnston on a single through the hole of the left side of the infield to get the Bullfrogs on the board. Wyatt Mascarella tallied his third RBI on the year for Wisconsin Rapids, singling to right field to score Bryson Stott and even the game at one.
Tanner Poole started the third inning for the Bullfrogs with a bang, sending a high fly ball over the wall in left. Poole’s first homer of the year put Green Bay up 2-1.
Pener knocked in two more runs for Green Bay in the sixth, hitting a blooper down the left field line to plate Mikey Filia and Brad Hamilton to extend the lead 4-1.
The Rafters had difficulty figuring out Bullfrog starter Connor Wollersheim, but jumped on the bullpen after Wollersheim hit the 110-pitch limit. Guenther cut the lead with a single to centerfield, but Wisconsin Rapids stranded the bases loaded, trailing 4-2 after six.
A shift of momentum took place over the course of the seventh inning from Witter Field. Green Bay loaded the bases to begin the seventh and Cameron Busby entered the game in the jam. Busby struck out Filia for the first out, and induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to escape the threat. The Rafters bats followed up by tying the game, scoring two runs on one hit in the frame. Mascarella drove in a run on a double down the right field line and came around to score the second run of the inning on an error to tie the game.
The go-ahead run stood at third base with one out in the eighth and Stott entered the batter’s box with a chance to give Wisconsin Rapids its first lead of the night. A deep fly ball to center was all that was needed to score Guenther from third and the sacrifice fly gave the Rafters a 5-4 lead into the ninth.
The ball was turned over to closer Layne Henderson who struck out the last two Bullfrogs of the game with runners on second and third to earn his seventh save of the season and give Wisconsin Rapids a 1-0 start to the second half.
The Rafters head on a five-game road trip away from Witter Field over the course of the next five days. Wisconsin Rapids travels to Green Bay tomorrow to take on the Bullfrogs before heading to Lakeshore and Kenosha for a pair of two game sets. Thursday’s game in Green Bay can be heard on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit http://northwoodsleague.com/wisconsin-rapids-rafters/ or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.