Clarke and Ryan the heroes as Woodchucks walk off in twelve
Wausau, Wis. – 25 runs. 31 hits. More than seven hours of baseball. Add that all up and you get two Wisconsin Woodchucks wins on Wednesday, as Wisconsin swept Wisconsin Rapids in the home-and-home doubleheader for the second time this year. After the Woodchucks pasted the Rafters 15-5 in game one in Rapids, game two took well over four hours to complete before the Woodchucks (23-32; 7-12) scored on a somewhat fluky walk-off hit in the bottom of the 12th inning to dispatch the Rafters (38-17; 11-7) 10-9 Wednesday night in Wausau.
The Chucks got the second game of the doubleheader going thanks to a leadoff single by James Davison and an RBI double by Hunter Coleman in the first, but the Rafters answered back. Dustin Woodcock tied the game with a solo shot in the second before Bryson Stott hit a 2-RBI single in the third and Jared Nelson delivered the same thing in the fourth to put Rapids up 5-1.
Wisconsin scored 15 runs in game one, but never scored more than four runs in an inning. In the fourth inning of game two, the Chucks scored seven. The first batter in the inning got out, but the next nine all reached. Nolan Ryan, Tristan Clarke and Stevie Mangrum each drove in a run and Coleman and Davison both drove in two in the frame to put Wisconsin up 8-5.
From there, the game turned into a dogfight. Rapids got within two in the fifth on a Woodcock single, but Wisconsin restored its lead in the bottom half on a Clarke single. Stott singled home one more in the sixth to shrink the deficit back down to two, and the Rafters finally pulled off the comeback in the eighth. Nelson led off with a walk and Charlie McConnell doubled him home before Stott brought home McConnell on a sacrifice fly to level the score at nine apiece.
With the score still tied, Adonis Lao led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, but the bottom of the Wisconsin order couldn’t bring him home, and the Woodchucks headed into extra innings for the second straight home game. Orsen Josephina and Nick Avila were both fabulous in relief, keeping the game deadlocked until the 12th. Both teams threatened to score in the 11th, but for the second time this year, the 12th inning was the final one.
Josephina got the first two outs in the 12th in his fourth inning of work, but then McConnell reached on an infield single and Nick Anderson followed with a base knock of his own to put runners on the corners with two away. Josephina locked it down and got Stott to ground out on three pitches to end the threat and give the Chucks another chance to win.
They capitalized on the chance. Avila had pitched five scoreless innings in the ballgame but Ryan hit a one-out single in the 12th and Davison followed with a walk to put the winning run in scoring position. They say if you put the ball in play, good things happen. That’s just what Tristan Clarke did when he smacked a grounder to Stott in the shortstop hole, and, at the last moment, the ball caught a divot in the dirt and bounced off of Stott’s body and into left field. Ryan hustled home to score the winning run, and the Woodchucks tallied their first walk-off of the season in a crazy 10-9 win.
The Woodchucks will be back home after winning the season series over the Rafters for their final home game of the season against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders. Drew Hanson will start for the Chucks, with first pitch at 6:35 PM at Athletic Park.
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.