The game started the way the last eleven have for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, with the opponents scoring first. This time, it took just two batters.
Jeff Rowland started the game with a single. Hernan Perez followed with a double into the left field corner and the Whitecaps (44-46 overall, 12-9 second half) were up 1-0 in the first inning.
Rattlers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson bounced back and did not allow another run over his 6-2/3 innings of work. Nelson struck out six in the game.
Wisconsin's offense got even in the bottom of the fifth. They loaded the bases on singles by Reggie Keen and Nick Shaw and a walk to TJ Mittelstaedt with one out. Reliever Jade Todd came into the game and threw a wild pitch on his second pitch to let Keen score the tying run.
The Rattlers (47-44, 9-12) grabbed the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Shaw started the inning with a bunt single and was balked to second base. Mittelstaedt followed with a single to send Shaw home with the go ahead run.
Jason Rogers singled to put Mittelstaedt on third. Then, Greg Hopkins pinch ran for Rogers. Mike Walker singled in Mittelstaedt and Hopkins raced around to third base. Hopkins scored when Cody Hawn grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and the Rattlers were up 4-1.
But, the Whitecaps came right back in the eighth against Greg Holle. The first two batters of the eighth inning walked. Robbins singled in the first run and put runners on the corners. Jason Krizan grounded out to second to knock in a run to make the score 4-3 and move Robbins to second. A passed ball let Robbins take third base. Steven Moya's grounder to second was mishandled to let the tying run score.
Wisconsin went down in order in the bottom of the eighth inning.
West Michigan did not go down in order in the ninth. Dan Britt struck out the first batter of the inning, but walked the next two. Britt got the second out with another strikeout. But, Robbins singled to right to drive in the go ahead run.
The Rattlers went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Hawn singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. That is the longest current hitting streak in the Midwest League.
Wisconsin begins a series with the South Bend Silver Hawks on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Field. Del Howell (1-5, 5.36) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Bradin Hagens (4-3, 4.12) is set to start for the Silver Hawks. Game time is 6:35pm.
Saturday night is Christmas in July at Time Warner Cable Field. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for the game. A Christmas Tree and holiday decorations will be on the concourse with a bake sale and a kettle drive with proceeds going to the Salvation Army. After the game, there will be a FOX 11 fireworks display set to Christmas music.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.
WP: Clemente Mendoza (1-1)
LP: Dan Britt (5-3)