WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) - For the second straight night the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters approached the brink of victory only to be turned away at the last moment as they fell to the Waterloo Bucks 5-4 Tuesday.
Trailing by one into the ninth the Rafters loaded the bases thanks to back to back singles from Cody Koback and Michael Smith. After a sacrifice and intentional walk the bases stood loaded with Rafters. But Ryan Palermo struck out and Jenzen Torres flew out on a 3-2 pitch to send the Rafters to another slim defeat.
Dan Johnson made his longest start of the season for the Rafters, working through the sixth. The righty allowed three runs, just two earned, on five hits, three walks and four strike outs. Two errors and two walks in the second coupled a two out hit batter in the fifth provided the only speed-bumps in Johnson's outing as the Bucks scored all three runs with a pair of two out hits.
The near comeback in the ninth marked the second Rafters rally of the evening. Facing a 3-1 deficit into the bottom of the seventh a hit batter and a walk put Matt Cornwell at second and Koback at first. A sac fly from Smith, an RBI single from Evan Laude and another sac fly from Brian Embery put the Rafters ahead.
It was a short lived lead for the Rafters however. After a scoreless seventh, reliever Garrett Branske hit the first batter he faced then walked two with two outs. Steve Godawa entered the bases loaded jam and allowed a two run double to set the 5-4 final. Branske takes the loss, his first of the season.
Koback posted a second straight stellar night. The Rafters outfielder reached base in all five plate appearances and went 3-for-4 with three singles. Matt Cornwell reached base twice out of the lead-off spot, while Evan Laude piled up three hits and two more RBI on the night.
The Rafters take to the road for four straight starting Wednesday in Battle Creek. The Rafters take on the Bombers at 6:05 central time on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday it is on to Madison for the first two of a three game weekend series against the Mallards.
Courtesy: Rafters Press Release