Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Win Midwest League Championship

20120917-110332.jpgby Kevin Kimmes

Despite leaving Appleton on Thursday tied at a game a piece, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers were able to overcome the hostile environment of playing on the road and took games 3 and 4 in Fort Wayne in order to win their first Midwest League pennant. The win was the cherry on the sunday of what was an amazing season for Milwaukee’s Low-A affiliate. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the highlights.

8 Timber Rattlers Take Part in the Midwest League All-Star Game

The following players took part in this years All-Star Game held at Kane County:

Greg Hopkins
Seth Harvey
Drew Gagnon
Rafael Neda
Jason Rogers
Tommy Toledo
Mark Williams
Yadiel Rivera.

7 Players Promoted to High-A Brevard County

Jason Rogers
John Dishon
Seth Harvey
Parker Berberet
Tommy Toledo
Drew Gagnon
Andy Moye

Rehab Starts A Plenty

The following Brewers each spent some time on the Appleton Roster this year:

Carlos Gomez
Jonathan Lucroy
Shaun Marcum

For the Record

Brandon Macias set a dubious team record becoming the most hit batsman in team history. Macias was hit 21 times this season, breaking the old record of 18 times held by Luis Tinoco.

Chadwin Stang’s 19 game hitting streak was the 3rd longest in team history behind Luis Tinoco (27 in 1996) and Josh Womack (22 in 2005).

Ben McMahan became only the 2nd player in team history to record double digits in doubles, triples and home runs in a season with 21/11/15. The only other player to complete this accomplishment was Chris Colton in 2004.

The following players had multi-homer games this season:

Tyler Roberts
Max Walla
Cameron Garfield
Greg Hopkins (x2)

Cream City Cables would like to not only congratulate the players, coaches, and staff for all they did to make this championship possible, but also would like to thank the organization for providing us access to the team and players throughout the season. I can’t wait to get the 2013 season started to see what the team does in defense of the title.

Talking to Tommy Toledo: Rattlers Reliever

by Kevin Kimmes

Before yesterday’s game, I had an opportunity to talk to Timber Rattlers relief pitcher Tommy Toledo about what it has been like seeing his childhood dreams come true, and the accident that almost derailed them.

CCC: Tommy, when did you first realize that you could make a living as a pitcher?

TT: I remember the draft was pretty exciting back in college. So for me and my family the ultimate goal was to play pro ball, so after I got drafted, I was really excited about it. That’s when I realized it was going to be a profession.

CCC: Speaking of family, your parents came to town for the game at Miller Park. What was that like?

TT: It was exciting. I flew them out for the two nights just for the Miller Park game. I didn’t really expect to pitch either, because I was in the relief club, but I got really lucky and was able to throw in front of them which was really cool.

CCC: I saw your dad the following day sitting behind home plate wearing the University of Toledo Sweatshirt.

TT: Yeah, my dad is a trip. He loves it.  He loves everything about baseball, so he’s been following everybody on the team.

CCC: As you mentioned, your current role is as a relief pitcher. Any aspirations of becoming a starter?

TT: I’m already living the dream right now, so whatever I can do to get on the mound is great. I have no problems coming on in relief, or starting. Any way that I can help out the team, anything at all, that’s up to them. It doesn’t bother me at all.

CCC: In college, you were involved in an accident that lead to you taking a line drive shot to the face. Can you tell me a little about that?

TT: It was a line drive right off the bat in college. I didn’t really get a chance to put a glove in front of it and it hit me pretty square in the face. I had a bunch of fractures and some plates. In total, I had 8 plates and 36 screws, so that’s all under my face right now. It was just one of those freak accidents, so you’ve just got to get over it.

CCC: So, when you take the mound, is there still any lingering apprehension that comes to mind from that incident?

TT: No, not at all. I remember the first day I had to come back. I just wanted to get back out there and throw again. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to play. I had sat out the year before, so I just wanted to get out and play again. That’s just what I wanted to do.

CCC: Now, with you being a Florida guy, how are you adjusting to the weather in Wisconsin?

TT: For the first month it was a little cold, I won’t lie, it was a  little chilly. It was cold for me, it was cold for everybody. Now, it’s starting to get nice. It’s really nice outside right now. So, it was a little adjustment made, but it’s over now, so we’ll see.

CCC: What players did you learn the most from watching growing up?

TT: As a little kid I grew up watching Cal Ripken Jr. and Mariano Rivera. He’s my favorite pitcher, so I was bummed to hear him get hurt a couple of days ago. I grew up watching those two guys, and I remember watching Greg Maddux. I loved watching him pitch. My dad helped me out when I was little. He coached me the whole time. So, it was just a bunch of different people.

CCC: Finally, what do you think it has taken to get you to where you are at right now?

TT: Hard work. Just trying to get out there every day, staying on a routine. A lot of it is God given. I’m just thankful that every day is another chance to get out there and play. My parents, my family and my friends have also been very supportive.

Tommy is currently 3-0 with 1 save and an ERA of 3.00 in 8 appearances. He can be found online at @TommyToledo13 on Twitter.

We at Cream City Cables wish Tommy all the best this season, and look forward to his continued success.

Cheifs Extinguish Rattlers Fire: Series Sweep Broken Up In Final Game

Despite early showers and a questionable forecast, 2,450 fans turned out for the fourth and final game between The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (5-5) and the Peoria Chiefs (4-6) on Sunday. The game marked the midpoint for the Rattlers current homestand, as they will play 3 games against the Burlington Bees early this week before hitting the road Thursday for six games.

The Chiefs wasted no time getting to Rattlers starter Andy Moye as second baseman Zeke DeVoss smashed the first pitch of the game for a triple. DeVoss would score on an RBI grounder from center fielder Pin-Chieh Chen, which gave the Cheifs an early 1-0 advantage.

The Rattlers would answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the 1st thanks to a single from 3rd baseman Brandon Macias. Macias would eventually reach home on a RBI grounder from designated hitter Jason Rogers bringing the score to 1-1.

The Rattlers would tack on a run each in the 4th and 5th innings to pad their lead at 3-1. Despite the low score, the Rattlers appeared to be in the drivers seat thanks to the pitching staff.

Moye, who was stung early in the first, rebounded to have a solid 3 innings of work striking out four and only giving up two hits and two walks. He was relieved in the 4th by Jacob Barnes who put up 4 scoreless innings, followed by Seth Lintz who put together a scoreless 8th on four batters faced.

When Timber Rattlers reliever Tommy Toledo took to the mound, it seemed a foregone conclusion that a win was at hand. However, the inning would prove to be the Rattlers undoing as Toledo would face 8 batters before recording the 3rd out and both shortstop Marco Hernandez and left fielder Oliver Zapata would score tying the score at 3-3.

The Rattlers would respond with a flurry of offense in the bottom of the 9th as Rogers, along with shortstop Yadiel Rivera and left fielder John Dishon, would each single. Unfortunately, that was as far as the offense would go as catcher Tyler Roberts would record the inglorious “Golden Sombrero”, striking out in all four of his at bats, to end the 9th inning and move the game to extra innings.

In the top of the 11th, Zapata blasted a booming 408 foot homer off Tyler Cravy giving the Chiefs a 4-3 advantage. A Chen single would eventually score giving Peoria the 5-3 advantage and the win.

The Rattlers will play the first of 3 games against the Burlington Bees today at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Rattlers are scheduled to start Matt Miller (0-2, 6.30) while Burlington will send out Drew Granier (0-0, 3.00). Game time is set for 6:35pm.

Game at a Glance:

Player of the Game: Oliver Zapata – 2/4 – 2 Runs – 1 HR – 1 RBI – 1 BB

WP: Yao-Lin Wang (1-0, 0.00)
LP: Tyler Cravy (0-1, 9.00)
BS: Tommy Toledo (1, 6.35)

Time: 3:41
Attn: 2,450

Bringing It All Back Home – Rattlers Win Game 1 Of 7 Game Homestand

by Kevin Kimmes

On a day that saw the Brewers get shut out by the Chicago Cubs 8-0, the Timber Rattlers found themselves in the position to seek a little redemption for their parent club as they took on Cubs affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, in the first game of a 4 game series. Under clear skies and with a game-time temp of 57 degrees, the 740 fans in attendance at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium were in for a great night of April baseball.

The Rattlers struck first in the bottom of the 1st inning when Jason Rogers (playing in left field) connected on a pitch from Chiefs’ starter PJ Francescon (0-1, 3.48) and took it 377 ft for his second homerun of the week. The blast gave the Timber Rattlers an early 1-0 lead.

Rattlers’ starter Drew Gagnon (0-0, 2.00) would keep the lead alive into the 5th, striking out 6 in 4.2 innings of work, when with two outs in the 5th, Cheifs third baseman, Brad Zapenas, singled, stole his way to second, and eventually scored on left fielder Pin-Chieh Chen’s single to tie the game a 1-1. Gagnon would finish the game with a total of 7 Ks in 5 innings of work.

Not content to be tied for long, the Timber Rattlers opened up the bottom of the 6th inning with a solo homer from Chadwin Stang (also his second of the week) which put the team back out front 2-1. But the Rattlers weren’t done yet. Designated hitter Brandon Macias would follow the Stang homer with a single, advancing to 2nd on a wild pitch, and eventually scoring on a single from first baseman Parker Berberet to bring the score to 3-1.

The Chiefs tried to close the gap in the 8th inning when Zapenas drew a walk off of Rattlers reliever Tommy Toledo (1-0, 3.86), advanced to second on a wild pitch, and eventually scored on a single from catcher Rafael Lopez. The single would mark the end of Toledo’s night as the Rattlers would call on Seth Harvey (0.00) to pick up the save.

The Timber Rattlers would make Harvey’s job easier thanks to Stang drawing a walk to start off the bottom of the 8th. Stang would advance to 2nd on a Macias sacrifice bunt, and eventually score as a wild pitch would move him to third followed by a throwing error from the catcher, Lopez, which would plate him for the second time of the night and bring the score to 4-2.

Now, with a two run advantage, Harvey would work through the top of the 9th only giving up a single to Reggie Golden who collapsed in a heap as he touched 1st base. Zeke DeVoss would be brought in to pinch run, but would never be given an opportunity to advance.

The win brings the Rattlers record to 3-4, tied with Peoria, Kane County, and Beloit.

The Rattlers are back in action at Time Warner Cable Field tonight for game two of this four game series. Start time is 6:35 pm. The Timber Rattlers are scheduled to send Mark Williams (0-1, 4.50) to the mound while the Chiefs will counter with  Jose Rosario (0-0, 1.93).

Game at a glance:

Player of the game: Chadwin Stang: 1/1 – 2 runs – 1 hit (HR) – 1 RBI – 1 BB – .304

WP: Tommy Toledo (1-0)
LP: PJ Francescon (0-1)
Save: Seth Harvey (1)

Time: 2:34
Attendance: 740

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