Woodchucks' Playoff Run Ends in Rapids
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis - In a winner-take-all game three of the Great Lakes West sub-divisional series, the Wausau Woodchucks were eliminated in a 9-1 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.
A seven-run fifth inning proved decisive for the Rafters, who blasted a pair of three-run homers in the frame to stun the Woodchucks - ending their magical second half run at Witter Field Tuesday night.
Early in the game, starter Jace Baumann (UW-Stout) kept the Rats off the board. He induced a pair of inning-ending double play grounders, carrying momentum from a seven-inning gem Friday night in the Woodchucks' playoff clincher.
On the other side, Rafter righty Cooper Robinson (UC-Irvine) held serve - until a pair of walks opened the door for the Woodchucks in the top of the third.
Jc Ng (Pomona-Pitzer) laid a sacrifice bunt, moving both Jakob Boos (UW-Stevens Point) and Maurice Gomez (Keiser) into scoring position.
Chase Hug (Evansville) belted a line-drive to center field, which fell into the glove of Brady Jurgella (Minnesota). It was deep enough to plate Boos from third, giving Wausau a 1-0 lead.
Baumann did not allow an earned run over his final 15 innings on the mound this season. But a pair of errors by the Woodchucks in the fifth set the stage for a Rafter ambush.
Wisconsin Rapids tied the game on an overthrow at third base by Baumann - who was trying to get the lead runner out on a bunt.
Aidan Brewer (Hillsdale) homered to left field two batters later, putting the Rafters in front 4-1.
With the crowd energized, the Rafters rallied for three more off Woodchuck reliever Brock Warren (Ripon). A double and a walk brought Jacob Igawa (Hawaii) to the plate with two outs. His no-doubter to left field put the game virtually out of reach.
Two more Rafter runs would score, but the Woodchucks were unable to mount much of a response in the late innings. Hug and Brock Larsen (Century) each led off innings with hits, but no Woodchuck would advance past second for the remainder of the night. Robinson worked a collegiate career-long seven innings in a victory.
A traveling crowd of Woodchuck fans cheered until the final out, but the Rafters hung on comfortably by a final score of 9-1.
The 2022 Woodchucks put together a spectacular stretch run. Trailing the Dock Spiders and Chinooks by three and a-half games during the Major League Dreams Showcase Aug. 2, the Chucks reeled off seven straight wins to take second place in the overall standings with a record of 38-33.
They won nine of their final 11 games to bring playoff baseball back to Wausau for the first time since 2014. A win last night was their first playoff victory since 2010. But they fell one game short of capturing the team's first playoff series win since taking home the NWL championship in 2003.
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