Third Times a Charm: Timber Rattlers Walkoff to Win First Game of the Season

by Kevin Kimmes

On Saturday afternoon the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers faced off against the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the third and final game of their season opening homestand. The Timber Rattlers, who were 0-2 going into Saturday’s contest, put the ball in the hands of right hander Brandon Williamson, while the Kernels countered with lefty Ryan Crowley.

Not wasting any time, the Timber Rattlers struck first as center fielder Chadwin Stang recorded his first hit of the young season, a double, which led off the bottom of the 1st inning. Two batters later, Stang would reach home on a Jason Rogers double. Rogers, who was hitting in the designated hitter position on Saturday, would also steal third, but would find himself stranded as the next two hitters struck out.

The Kernels would answer with a run of their own in the top of the 3rd thanks to a solo homerun from shortstop Trevor Hairgrove, tying the game at one run a piece.

The Kernels would take the lead, 2-1, in the top of the 5th when center fielder Chevy Clarke singled, stole second, was advance to third on a grounder from catcher Carlos Lugo, and eventually scoring on a passed ball during Hairgrove’s at bat. The Rattlers answered back in the bottom of the 5th on a solo homer from Stang, tying the score at 2 a piece.

The 6th inning would see the Kernels create a run out of no hits as both third baseman Kaleb Cowart and designated hitter Frazier Hall drew walks. Cowart, who stole 2nd during Hall’s at bat, would be advanced to third on a fielder’s choice which removed Hall from the base paths, and placed first baseman Gary Mitchell at 1st. During Clarke’s at bat, Mitchell broke for 2nd, reaching easily as catcher Tyler Roberts’ throw got past second baseman Greg Hopkins, allowing Cowart to steal home ahead of the throw to the plate. This brought the score to 3-2 in favor of the Kernels.

The Rattlers answered back in the 7th when right fielder John Dishon drew a walk to start off the inning which allowed Stang to reach 1st on a fielder’s choice in the next at bat. A Hopkins grounder would advance Stang to second, and he would score off of a Roger’s RBI single to again tie the game, now at 3 a piece.

The 9th would see both teams slugging it out. The Kernels would manufacture 3 runs thanks to a Hairgrove RBI single that scored Clarke from third and a double from center fielder Ryan Jones which would score Hairgrove and second baseman Kevin Mosequit. The Kernels were now in the drivers seat with a lead of 6-3 with only 3 outs remaining, but it would not be enough to complete the series sweep.

With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Dishon walked, eventually scoring on a Stang RBI double bringing the score to 6-4. Hopkins and Rogers would both walk to load the bases, still with only one out. A single from left fielder Ben McMahan would score both Stang and Hopkins, and in the process, tie the game at 6 a piece.

First baseman Parker Berberet would bury the dagger with a walkoff single that scored Roger’s from third and gave the Timber Rattlers their first win of the 2012 season.

The Rattlers will return home to Time Warner Cable Field on Thursday April 12th as they take on Peoria. Game time is set for 6:35 pm.

Game at a Glance:

Player of the Game: Chadwin Stang – 3/4 with 2 doubles, 1 homerun and 2 RBIs

WP: Stephen Peterson (1-0)
LP: Logan Odom (0-1)

TIME: 3:05
ATTN: 1,192

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Kernels Pop Rattlers Bubble With Opening Day Win

by Kevin Kimmes

The Timber Rattlers season officially kicked off last night as 4,576 fans packed in to Time Warner Cable Field for some early April baseball. Despite temperatures that quickly dipped as the sun went down, the crowd was in high spirits for the first game of the new season.

The Timber Rattlers’ starting pitcher, Matt Miller (L, 0-1), found himself in trouble right out of the gate as he walked the Kernels’ second baseman, Kevin Mosequit, on 4 straight pitches to start the game. Despite the struggles, he was able to put together 2 innings of scoreless ball.

In the 3rd inning, the Kernels’ put on a hitting clinic resulting in 4 runs scored including doubles from third baseman Kaleb Cowart, first baseman Frazier Hall, and catcher Abel Baker. The Timber Rattlers would fight back in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring their first run of the season when 1st baseman Jason Rodgers singled off Kernels starting pitcher Austin Wood, allowing shortstop Yadiel Rivera to score from third. Rivera had reached base earlier when he was hit in the helmet by a wild pitch to start off the bottom half of the inning.

The Kernels would tack on two more runs in the 7th inning as left fielder Ryan Jones scored from first on a Cowart triple. Later, Cowart would touch home after a wild pitch from Timber Rattlers reliever Kevin Shackelford got by catcher Rafael Neda allowing him to score from 3rd.

Not content with a  five run lead, the Kernels would score one more run off of Timber Rattlers’ reliever Tommy Toledo in the top of the 9th inning off of yet another double by Hall.

Despite being down by six runs heading into the final half inning of play, the Timber Rattlers decided not to go quietly. Left fielder Ben McMahan lead off the bottom of the 9th with a double to center. Then after two quick outs by 3rd baseman Greg Hopkins and catcher Rafael Neda, designated hitter Brandon Macias would match McMahan’s double with one of his own bringing the score to 6-2. Unfortunately, this would be all the offense the squad could muster as Rivera would record the final out of the game in the next at bat.

The Timber Rattlers will play game two of this three game series tonight at Time Warner Cable Field with a 6:35 pm start time. The Timber Rattlers will bring Drew Gagnon to the mound to face Cedar Rapids’ Mike Clevinger in what should be an exciting contest.

Game at a Glance:

WP: Austin Wood (1-0)
LP: Matt Miller (0-1)

Star of the Game: Kaleb Cowart (Cedar Rapids) – 4/5 (.800) – 2 singles, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI,

TIME: 2:48
ATTN: 4,576