Seven-Run Fourth Downs Timber Rattlers, 9-5
After scoring one-run on opening night, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. Then a double avalanche occurred, as the Beloit Snappers scored seven-runs in the inning to take the lead, and snow came ending the game after five innings.
It was a cold night at Pohlman Field, with temperatures hovering around freezing when the game began. A 27-mph wind added to the tough conditions, but that did not seem to faze the Timber Rattlers early on. In the top of the second they jumped out to a two-run lead when Jake Gatewood singled to start the frame and moved to second on a walk to David Denson. Sthervin Matos followed by laying down a perfect bunt that moved both runners into scoring position. That brought Carlos Belonis to the plate, who ripped a hard line drive single into center that easily scored Gatewood. Denson held at third, but scored when Troy Stokes reached on a fielder’s choice. That made the score 2-0.
The Snappers responded in the bottom half of the inning with a single run. Skye Bolt singled with one out and he moved to second on a ground out. With two outs and Bolt in scoring position, Steven Pallares delivered a clutch RBI single into left field that scored the speedy Bolt to make it 2-1.
Wisconsin responded in their next at-bats. Isan Diaz led off the top of the third inning with his first home run of the year. The towering shot over the right field just stayed fair to extend the lead back to two.
The Timber Rattlers would increase the lead in the top of the fourth. Matos reached on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch. A ground out moved him to third, and Stokes delivered a clutch two out single to score Matos and make it 4-1.
Marcos Diplan had been pitching extremely well through the first three innings, only allowing the one run and, staked to a three-run lead, this looked like it was going to be a good night for him, but in the bottom of the fourth things fell apart. Bolt was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Nick Collins followed with a single to make it first and second with no one out. Pallares then singled into right field, scoring Bolt and moving Collins to second. That brought Jesus Lopez to the plate, who attempted to lay down a bunt, but Matos made a fine play at first and looked like he was going to nail the runner at third. However, his throw was wild and Collins scored, with the other two runners moving into scoring position.
That would be it Diplan. Quintin Torres-Costa came on in relief, but the damage would not end. A wild pitch scored Pallares to make it a one-run game, and then a bank of lights suddenly turned off. A 16-minute delay ensued while they reset the lights, and the snow began to fall as well while the temperature dropped. The conditions were wreaking havoc and it showed when play resumed.
Justin Higley walked when the game restarted. That made it first and third with still no one out. Trace Loehr hit a grounder back to the pitcher, but a throwing error allowed Loehr to reach safely and Lopez to score. The Snappers had tied the game and they were not done yet. Ryan Howell drilled a line drive double to the wall in left field, bringing home both runners to make it 6-4. Beloit had their first lead of the game and still had two runners on base. Chris Iriart hit a sacrifice fly that scored Loehr and allowed Howell to reach third. Brett Siddall drove home the seventh run of the inning with a ground single that hit off Diaz’ glove allowing Howell to score. That made it 8-4.
In the fifth, Wisconsin got a run back. Xavier Altamirano relieved for Boomer Biegalski, and gave up a single to Diaz to start the frame. Diaz would steal second, but was caught stealing third. With two outs and no one on it looked like the inning would end quickly, but Tucker Neuhaus beat out a ground ball for a single. Jake Gatewood then reached on an error as Loehr had a hard time making a play in the tough weather conditions. David Denson then walked to load the bases, and Neuhaus scored on a wild pitch. That made it 8-5.
In the bottom of the fifth, Freddy Peralta came on in relief. He retired the first two hitters, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Loehr and Howell. Iriart followed with a double that scored Loehr to extend the lead back to four.
As the inning ended the snow picked up even more. The Snappers came out to the field but, after the managers met with the umpires, it was concluded that it was not safe to continue. The game was called after five.
Altamarino (1-0) was the winner, while Diplan (0-1) took the loss.
Diaz had the big bat for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, going 2-2 with a run, RBI, and a homerun. He also drew a walk.
The Beloit Snappers rapped out 10 hits in just five innings. Bolt was 2-2 with two runs scored. Pallares was 2-3 with a run and two RBI. Howell was also 2-3. He scored a run and drove in another.
Saturday’s Game has been postponed and will be played as a double-header on Sunday. Game 1 starts at 2:05 and will have Jon Perrin (0-0) going for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers against James Naile (0-0) for Beloit.
By Robert Pannier