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Rafters Complete Rare Season-Series Sweep

August 12, 2022 - Northwoods League (Northwoods) - Madison Mallards News Release

Wisconsin Rapids, WI - The Mallards had their final date with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters on Thursday night from Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids. The Rafters were able to complete the season sweep with a 6-5 win.

Thursday night marked the final start of the season for Ryan O'Hara after spending his third season playing for Manager Donnie Scott. O'Hara (5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) tied his season-high in strikeouts in his third start of the season at Witter Field. The Mallards were able to scratch for an early lead in the top of the 3rd on a Josh Caron (1-1, 2 BB) two-run home run. It was the second two-run blast from Caron in as many nights to make it 10 on the year. Wisconsin Rapids was finally able to score against O'Hara in the bottom of the 4th on a line drive single up the middle from Garrett Broussard on an 0-2 pitch.

Madison retook the lead in the top of the 5th against reliever J.J. Almeda on a bases-loaded walk by Colin Hageman. The Mallards scored five runs on bases-loaded walks in the two-game set. The Rafters responded right away with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jacob Igawa. Madison? Right back in front with a two-spot in the top of the 6th inning with singles from Grant Ross and Liam Moreno.

The next push from the Rafters came after the 7th inning stretch on Chase Call's third home run of the season against the Mallards. Call now has six homers on the season; three against Madison and three against Lakeshore. The Mallards handed the ball to the left hander from Hillsdale College, Drew Erdei, in the bottom of the 8th with a 5-4 lead. After recording the first out, the next two batters were able to reach. Levi Jensen drew a walk and moved over to second on a Chris Conniff single. Jensen took off for third after Madison's defense grew lackadaisical to put runners on the corners. He eventually came in to score the tying run on a wild pitch.

Madison put two runners on base in the top of the 9th with a single and a walk against Rafters' reliever Cael Chatham. Drew Erdei had to leadoff the inning because of the designated hitter substitution rule and struck out on three pitches. The rule states that if the designated hitter is removed or moved to a different position in the game for an injured player, the pitcher now occupies the spot of the DH. With two outs, Colin Hageman bounced a grounder toward the six-hole and Wisconsin Rapids' shortstop Aidan Brewer made a terrific play to erase Scott Shaw sprinting toward third for a fielder's choice.

The Mallards, who have under 20 active, healthy players, had to depend on Erdei for another frame to try and make it to extra innings. To begin the inning, Chase Call was hit by a pitch to put the winning run on base. After an Erdei balk moved Call into scoring position, Colin Tuft (4-5, 2 R) pulled a single to left to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Donnie Scott then made his way out of the dugout with Jacob Igawa coming to the plate. Igawa had walked off the Mallards one time already in mid-June and has three walk-off hits on the season, the most of any player in the Northwoods League. Scott not only brought in the entirety of his infield, but he pointed out toward his three outfielders as well. At first, the three outfielders took a few strides inward to protect on a fly ball. That was not the skipper's intention. Scott pulled Liam Moreno, J.J. Rollon, and Scott Shaw into the mound visit. All eleven in the baby blue uniforms huddled on the mound. They were joined by a twelfth member when Josh Caron brought Moreno an infield glove... the Mallards were going to play with five infielders.

The first batter to face off against the five-man infield was Andrew Semo. Semo drove a ball into the ground which made for an easy chopper to the Mallards' "left fielder" Moreno. Moreno rifled home for the first out. Next up for Wisconsin Rapids in the 5-5 tie was the All-Star third baseman Broussard. After taking a strike, Broussard lined the ball past the crowded infield to secure the Rafters' seventh walk-off win of the year, completing the twelve-game series sweep of Madison.

Madison will hit the road one last time in the 2022 campaign with a trip to Athletic Park to open a home-and-home series with the Wausau Woodchucks. The Mallards have a chance to play the role of spoiler with Wausau, who is tied with Fond du Lac in the overall standings, with only two games remaining. First pitch is slated for 6:35 PM and game coverage can be found on the Northwoods League Baseball Network beginning at 6:10 PM.

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