For Wausau Pilot & Review
MEQUON – Down to their final out, the Wausau Woodchucks rallied to score five ninth-inning runs and defeated the Lakeshore Chinooks 8-4 in Northwoods League baseball action Saturday night at Moonlight Graham Field.
A game-tying triple by Wausau’s Zach Levenson (Miami) knocked in Brent Widder (Evansville) to make it 4-4 in the ninth. After a passed ball, Levenson slid home to score the game’s deciding run.
But the Chucks weren’t done. Ryan Sepede (BYU) and Chase Hug (Evansville) drew walks before Nik Levensteins (North Georgia) hammered a three-run homer to right field that served as the final dagger.
The homer was one of two on the day for the red-hot Woodchucks (25-22), who have hit seven homers in their last two contests. Brock Watkins (BYU) erased an early 1-0 deficit with an opposite field two-run blast in the top of the third – his third of the season.
Lakeshore (25-22) surged back in front, scoring three unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning. Using a pair of stolen bases and infield singles, they built a 4-2 lead.
But from that point on, the Chinooks were held to just two hits. Starter Ben Abernathy (UAB) worked six innings and allowed just one earned run. He struck out three and walked none in the two-way start while collecting a hit and a run at the plate.
Sepede drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the Woodchuck deficit in half in the top of the fifth. But Wausau missed opportunities to tie the score in each of the next three innings.
They left eight runners on in the win, and ran themselves out of a potential rally in the eighth on a failed double steal by Hagen Escoto (Lamar CC) and Camden Janik (Illinois), who doubled and walked, respectively.
Nick Marshall (West Texas A&M) became the winning pitcher – retiring all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth. He was aided by a diving catch from Hug in left field, robbing Lakeshore of a leadoff extra-base hit. Marshall is now 3-1 in his third season as a Woodchuck.
Carter Heninger (San Jose State) kept his perfect 0.00 ERA intact by working a scoreless ninth inning. The Woodchucks’ bullpen set down all nine batters they faced in the win.
The Woodchucks have now won eight of their last nine games and have started the second half 8-3. They are a half-game behind the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in the second-half standings – and are now tied with Lakeshore in the overall record standings.
The Chucks will take the field Sunday at 1:35 p.m. against the Chinooks for their final game before a three-day All-Star Break. The Northwoods League All-Star Game is Tuesday at Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids.