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Link Report for Sat. 9/15 -- Timber Rattlers take 2-1 series lead, can clinch title Sunday evening

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Saturday's Daily Menu:


Time listed is Central


Wisconsin: RHP David Goforth at Fort Wayne (Padres), 5:50 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime; third game of the league championship best-of-five, series tied at one game apiece


Free Live Audio Link - 1280 AM WNAM




Follow the action as it happens with box score / game log links:






Check the Rattler Radio blog for the media notes just prior to gametime

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TinCaps counting on pitching in bid for title

LaMond Pope, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette


FORT WAYNE – The fight for the Midwest League title has become a best-of-three series.


Fort Wayne and Wisconsin meet in Game 3 of the Midwest League championship series at 7:05 PM (6:05 Central) today at Parkview Field. The series is tied at 1 after the teams split games at Fox Cities Stadium.


The remainder of the series is at Parkview Field – Game 4 is 5:05 PM Sunday (4:05 Central); Game 5, if necessary, is 7:05 PM Monday (6:05 Central).


“Hopefully our pitching keeps doing the job,” Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said after the TinCaps’ 5-1 victory in Game 2 on Thursday.


“Hopefully those guys, the starters, go at least five innings and keep the game close. Our bullpen has been great so far.”


Pitching has been the story of the series. Fort Wayne starter Colin Rea and relievers Johnny Barbato and Matt Stites combined for a two-hitter in the Game 2 win. Fort Wayne has limited Wisconsin to six hits in the two games.


The Timber Rattlers have scored four runs. Two of the four scored on wild pitches. Wisconsin defeated Fort Wayne 3-2 in 10 innings in Game 1, scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch.


Frank Garces is the scheduled starter today for Fort Wayne. He went 9-6 with a 2.81 ERA in the regular season. Garces has made one start in the postseason, going six innings of Game 1 of the Eastern Division championship series against Lake County. Garces gave up two runs on four hits and struck out six but did not factor in the decision.


David Goforth will pitch for Wisconsin. He had a 10-8 record in the regular season. Goforth pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout of Game 3 of the Timber Rattlers’ Western Division opening-round series against Burlington.


Fort Wayne will have to shuffle its lineup after losing leadoff hitter Travis Jankowski to a rib injury. The outfielder was hit by a pitch in the first inning of Game 2. He left the game after the half inning and will be out the rest of the series, according to Valentin. Jankowski hit .282 during the regular season. He had 17 stolen bases. He hit .259 in the playoffs.


Kyle Gaedele will likely shift from left to center field, with Mike Gallic or Jeremy Baltz as options in left field.


“It’s a big blow,” Valentin said. “He put us in this situation. One of the reasons we are in the finals is because he was great. We’re going to miss him, but whoever comes in is going to have to step up. This game of baseball is about 25 guys, it’s not about one guy. We’ve got plenty of guys who can do the job.”


Note: Valentin and Stites were honored by Baseball America, which released its All-Star teams for each minor league classification Friday. Stites was selected as the Low-A All-Star relief pitcher. Valentin was named the Low-A Manager of the Year. The list is compiled from all rosters in the Midwest League and South Atlantic League.

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Final: Wisconsin 10, Fort Wayne 8


Rattler bats awaken! Wisconsin beats Fort Wayne10-8 in Game Three

Timber Rattlers within one win of first Midwest League Pennant

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers


FORT WAYNE, IN - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had six hits and four runs in the first two games of the Midwest League Championship Series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at home. A change of venue for Game Three was like a loud alarm clock as Wisconsin pounded out thirteen hits and scored ten runs on Saturday night at Parkview Field. The Rattlers needed almost every single run as they held off the TinCaps 10-8. The win gave Wisconsin a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.


The TinCaps grabbed a quick lead in the first inning. Jace Peterson drew a leadoff walk. Tyler Stubblefield followed with a double to right-center on a 2-0 pitch to drive in Peterson. Later in the inning, Stubblefield tried to score from third on a grounder to short, but was cut down as catcher Rafael Neda held on after a collision at the plate.


Wisconsin tied the game in the top of the third inning. Chadwin Stang's infield single knocked in Adrian Williams from third base.


The TinCaps went back in front in the bottom of the third. Yeison Asencio tripled down the first base line to drive in a pair of runs for a 3-1 lead.


Then, the Rattlers bats woke up from their Championship Series slumber. Nick Ramirez started the bombardment with an opposite field homer to left as the leadoff batter in the fourth inning. The homer was the fourth of the playoffs for Ramirez. The blast was his second of the Championship Series.


It looked like that would be it for the scoring after a walk and a double play left the bases empty with two outs. But, Neda drew a walk and Lance Roenicke singled. Adrian Williams followed with a single to left and Neda beat the throw home to tie the game 3-3 and chase Fort Wayne starting pitcher Frank Garces.


Macias was next and he cracked a 3-2 pitch from reliever Cody Hebner over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer and a 6-3 lead.


Wisconsin starting pitcher David Goforth allowed a run in the fifth on a wild pitch but was throwing comfortably with the cushion through six innings. The right-hander out of Ole Miss struck out ten in the game to set a single game high as a professional in his second straight start.


Wisconsin tacked on insurance in both the seventh and eighth innings. Ben McMahan snapped an 0-for-16 streak with an RBI double in the seventh. In the eighth, Stang's bunt single with two outs and the bases loaded scored Williams from third. McMahan followed with a single that plated two runs for a 10-4 lead.


But, the final four outs were the toughest of the night for the Timber Rattlers.


Stosh Wawrzasek entered the game for the bottom of the eighth inning after Mike Strong tossed a scoreless seventh inning. Wawrzasek got the first two outs in the eighth, but a single and a walk were followed by an RBI single by Duanel Jones. Another walk loaded the bases. Peterson would single in another run before the final out of the inning was recorded. The Rattlers entered the ninth inning with a 10-6 lead.


Wisconsin's defense was the best in the Midwest League during the regular season and had committed four errors in the first 71 innings of the post season. But, the leadoff batter reached on an error in the bottom of the ninth. Wawrzasek got the first out. Then, a grounder that looked like a potential game ending double play was misplayed to extend the game. Austin Hedges made the Rattlers pay with an RBI double to left to make the score 10-7 and put runners at second and third with one out.


Santo Manzanillo came into the game and got a grounder to short for the second out. A run scored on the play to make the score 10-8. Jones stepped to the plate as the tying run with two out ... and Manzanillo struck him out swinging to preserve the victory for the Rattlers.


Macias led the way for Wisconsin's offense with three hits, three runs scored, and three RBI. Williams, McMahan, and Stang also had a pair of hits in the game for the Timber Rattlers.


Game Four of the Midwest League Championship Series is Sunday evening. Chad Thompson is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. James Needy is set to start for the TinCaps. A win by Wisconsin on Sunday lets them claim their first Midwest League pennant - and the first championship by an Appleton professional baseball team since the 1984 Appleton Foxes. A win by Fort Wayne on Sunday forces Game Five on Monday night.


Game time at Parkview Field on Sunday is 4:05pm CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 3:45pm.




Nick Ramirez (4th, 0 on in 4th inning off Frank Garces, 0 out)

Brandon Macias (1st, 2 on in 4th inning off Cody Hebner, 2 out)


WP: David Goforth (2-0)

LP: Frank Garces (0-1)

SAVE: Santo Manzanillo (2)


TIME: 3:18

ATTN: 4,939


Wisconsin Box Score


One win away from a Championship! The Rattlers pitching has carried the team for most of the playoffs, but tonight the bats came alive. Brandon Macias was 3-4 with a walk a home run and 3 RBI. Nick Ramirez also went yard. Chadwin Stang, Adrian Williams and Ben McMahan each chipped in with two hit nights. McMahan knocked in three runs while Williams scored three. Rafael Neda was on base three times with a single and a pair of walks. David Goforth struck out 10 in his six innings of work. He did allow four runs but only allowed six hits. Mike Strong pitched a scoreless inning and Santo Manzanillo recorded the final two outs to get the save.


Wisconsin Play By Play


Wisconsin Top of the 4th

Nick Ramirez homers (2) on a fly ball to left field.

Cameron Garfield walks.

Yadiel Rivera grounds into a double play, third baseman Duanel Jones to second baseman Tyler Stubblefield to first baseman Lee Orr. Cameron Garfield out at 2nd.

Rafael Neda walks.

Lance Roenicke singles on a ground ball to left fielder Mike Gallic. Rafael Neda to 2nd.

Adrian Williams singles on a ground ball to left fielder Mike Gallic. Rafael Neda scores. Lance Roenicke to 2nd.

Pitching Change: Cody Hebner replaces Frank Garces.

Brandon Macias homers (1) on a fly ball to left field. Lance Roenicke scores. Adrian Williams scores.

Chadwin Stang flies out to center fielder Kyle Gaedele.

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Rocked, rattled, rolled

Wisconsin hits 2 homers to take 2-1 lead in championship series

LaMond Pope | Fort Wayne Journal Gazette


FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne pitchers kept falling behind in the count.


And Wisconsin hitters made them pay.


As a result, the TinCaps are one loss away from having its surprising postseason run end. And the Timber Rattlers are one win away from the Midwest League title.


Nick Ramirez and Brandon Macias hit home runs for the Timber Rattlers in a 10-8 victory over the TinCaps in Game 3 of the Midwest Championship series in front of 4,939 fans Saturday at Parkview Field.


“We held that team to six hits in the first two games and the reason why is because we threw strikes and kept the ball down,” Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. “Today, we didn’t do that.”


Wisconsin scored five runs in the fourth inning on the way to taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 4 is at 5:05 PM (4:05 Central) today at Parkview Field.


“We just didn’t get ahead pitching. The big thing was avoiding the big inning. And that was the difference in the game,” said Fort Wayne catcher Austin Hedges, who was 2 for 5 with one RBI.


“We were behind in the count all day and that put them in hitter’s counts. They got a few pitches up in the zone and drove them pretty good. That was the spark for them to get their big innings.”


The Timber Rattlers hit 107 home runs in the regular season, good for second in the Midwest League.


Wisconsin hit two during the critical fourth inning.


Fort Wayne attempted a late rally. The TinCaps brought the tying run to the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings. But Fort Wayne couldn’t complete the comeback. Now the TinCaps will need to come back if they want to capture their second Midwest League crown in franchise history.


“We can’t put any more pressure on us than is already on us,” said second baseman Tyler Stubblefield, who was 2 for 4 with one RBI. “We have to come out and play baseball, have fun. If we get too uptight, it’s going to show.”


Fort Wayne gave up the lead twice on Saturday.


Garces was charged with five runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He suffered the loss.


“Garces, the home run he gave up to Ramirez took him out of the game,” Valentin said.


Macias went 3 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored.


The Timber Rattlers scored once in the seventh and three more runs in the eighth to extend the lead to 10-4.


Fort Wayne came back with two in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-6. An RBI double by Austin Hedges in the ninth made it 10-7. Lee Orr scored to get the TinCaps within 10-8.


“You see the way we reacted, down six runs in the last two innings,” Valentin said. “My guys showed a lot of pride. We are not down. We know we are behind, but we’ve been in this situation before.”


Note: Outfielder Travis Jankowski (rib) was placed on the disabled list. Infielder Connor Powers was activated from the disabled list.

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TinCaps vow they will not go softly

Ben Smith | Fort Wayne Journal Gazette


FORT WAYNE – So now it’s simple, at least.


Win, and you keep summer alive for 24 more hours. Lose, and someone else hoists the championship trophy in your own ballpark, in front of your own fans, in your own city.


These are the choices now, after Wisconsin 10, TinCaps 8 in Game 3 of the Midwest League Championship Series on Saturday night. This is where all the clichés go to be born, as the nights cool and summer shrinks to whoever gets to three wins first.


Wisconsin has two wins. The TinCaps have one. And so their backs are against the wall, and there’s no tomorrow, and it’s (choose one) do or die, or sink or swim.


“We’re not done,” TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said, defiant in a situation that calls for nothing else but defiance. “We’re behind, but we’ve been in this situation before. So we just have to try to come out and score some runs early and try to make the game a lot easier for (starting pitcher James) Needy.”


Down the hall, around the corner, and here sat catcher Austin Hedges.


“We just have to go out and play the game we’ve played all year,” he said. “We need to go out and get strike one tomorrow, get ahead in the count on the pitching. We swung the bats pretty good today. We have to do the same thing tomorrow and we’ll be OK.”


Or, not. Saturday they swung the bats, yes, and they put up eight runs and 11 hits, but David Goforth and three Wisconsin relievers also struck out 13 of them. The last was Duanel Jones, who went down swinging in the ninth to end it with a man on third and the Timber Rattlers on the ropes.


The visitors led 10-4 going into the home half of the eighth. But the TinCaps scored two in their half, both with two out, and two more in the ninth, and left the premises believing they’d simply run out of time.


“We’re never giving up,” Hedges said. “Our guys battle to the final out. It was good to see tonight. We had plenty of opportunities, we just came up a little short.”


“We’re fine,” Valentin agreed.


Fine, as long as Needy gives them five solid innings and hands a lead to the bullpen. That didn’t happen Saturday night.


To be sure, Frank Garces set Wisconsin down in order in the first and second, and Tyler Stubblefield drove one to the warning track for an RBI double, smacking his hands on his batting helmet in celebration as he arrived at second. The TinCaps led 1-0 after an inning, and 3-1 after three.


And then the wheels went thataway.


Cody Hebner came on for Garces in the fourth and Brandon Macias took him deep with two aboard.


Suddenly it was 6-3, a five-run inning for Wisconsin, four of the runs coming after there were two outs and nobody on. And the TinCaps, though they didn’t know it yet, were deader than disco, the bullpen giving up six hits and five runs, Wisconsin scoring eight of their 10 runs with two out.


And now it’s simple, at least. Now it’s the TinCaps whose backs are against the wall, who are on the brink, who need timely hitting to stretch summer another day, plus a return of the pitching that, in the first two games, limited Wisconsin to four runs and six hits.


“This game of baseball, it’s about 25 guys,” Valentin said Friday, before game three.


They’ll need ’em all now.

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Macias sparks Rattlers' breakout

Three-run shot helps open 2-1 lead in Midwest League Finals

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com


Wisconsin scored four runs in the first two games of the Midwest League Finals. With the series tied, 1-1, the Timber Rattlers were looking to break out on Saturday night.

They did. In a big way.


Brandon Macias went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer as the Timber Rattlers scored five times in the fourth inning and held on for a 10-8 victory that put them one win away from the championship.


Wisconsin trailed, 2-1, heading to the fourth, but Nick Ramirez led off with his league-leading fourth playoff homer. Adrian Williams singled home the go-ahead run with two outs and Macias capped the rally with his first postseason longball.


"[My home run] was a big part, but Adrian came up big with that hit with two outs, tied the game up," said Macias, a non-drafted free agent who signed with the Brewers in June 2011. "Everything after that fell into place. It definitely changed the momentum.


"We had struggled the last few games and just kind of worked on some stuff in batting practice, and we came through tonight; [the top four] in the lineup hadn't been doing too well and tonight we put it all together."


Macias finished 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. No. 2 hitter Chadwin Stang chipped in two hits and two RBIs, while No. 3 hitter Ben McMahan was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Batting cleanup, Ramirez also walked.


All the offense proved necessary after the TinCaps reduced a six-run deficit to 10-8 in the ninth. They brought the potential tying run to the plate with a runner at third and two outs, but Santo Manzanillo struck out Duanel Jones for his second playoff save.


"They were tremendous," Wisconsin starter David Goforth said of the offense. "They score all those runs and you think it's enough and we end up giving up two more runs there at the end. We had to use them all tonight, [but] those guys stepped up. We'd been pitching pretty well in the playoffs, so tonight it was the hitters that carried us."


Goforth, the Brewers' No. 17 prospect, recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He improved to 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two playoff starts after fanning nine in a complete-game shutout to close out Burlington in the first round.


The 23-year-old attributed his newfound penchant for punchouts to a slider he started using more as the season went along.


With the championship within their grasp, the Timber Rattlers are riding high, Goforth said.


"This team is one of the better teams that I've ever been a part of, the character is incredible," he said. "The whole season -- we get down in games or lose a game and we always bounce back. I would say we've been confident the whole time."


Yeison Asencio had two hits and two RBIs, while Tyler Stubblefield doubled twice, scored twice and drove in a run for Fort Wayne, which hosts Game 4 on Sunday.


Brandon Macias shares the team lead with eight hits in the playoffs. (Vincent Rinaldi/Rinaldi Photos)



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