Woodchucks Fall in Regular Season Home Finale
WAUSAU, WI - Six runs allowed in the fifth and another in the sixth were the difference for the Wisconsin Woodchucks against the visiting Wisconsin Rapids Rafters at Athletic Park Friday night.
Playing in front of a crowd of 2,394 in Wausau, the Chucks couldn't overcome seven unanswered Rafter runs on their way to a 10-3 loss. It was the final regular season game of 2021 in Wausau, and was pivotal for the Woodchucks' playoff hopes.
Wisconsin is now 43-28 overall heading into its final matchup Saturday night, and 22-14 in the second half of the Northwoods League season.
An Anthony Catalano solo home run put the Woodchucks up 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth. But the Rafters took a lead they wouldn't relinquish one frame later.
The Chucks were outhit 13-8 on Friday and committed two errors compared to error-free baseball for Wisconsin Rapids.
Ryan Sepede did mash a two-run homer to left in the sixth.
The Rafters then added a run in the eighth on a wild pitch and two in the ninth off a solo home run and sacrifice fly. Position player Antonio Valdez pitched the ninth for the Chucks.
With one more matchup between the teams, the Woodchucks lead the season series over the Rafters, 8-3.
Playoff Race Update
The Madison Mallards beat the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders at home Friday night. Madison is now tied atop the Great Lakes West second half standings with the Dock Spiders. The Woodchucks are one game behind both teams.
Wisconsin can earn a Northwoods League playoff spot Saturday with a Mallards' loss to Fond du Lac in the state capital. That result would place the Woodchucks in their first postseason since 2014, regardless of what the Chucks do in their season finale in Wisconsin Rapids.
That is because with the Woodchucks out of the second half division title race, they will rely upon first half champion Fond du Lac to win the second half and give the Chucks the Great Lakes West's second playoff berth by virtue of having the second best overall record.
Starting pitcher Cade Denton had four scoreless frames before exiting the contest after five innings pitched. He struck out 10 Rafters.
Sepede went 2-4 with a two-run home run and a double.
Catalano had a solo homer.
Payton Nelson was 2-4 with a run.
The Woodchucks travel to Wisconsin Rapids Saturday night for the regular season finale.avorite team.
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