EAU CLAIRE (WAOW) - The Wisconsin Woodchucks were eliminated from postseason play Thursday, as they fell on the road in game three of the South Division Championship Series to the Eau Claire Express. The ‘Chucks were bested in a very well played game from both ballclubs, however the Express were able to make the extra plays and find the right gaps to win a series of inches.
The ‘Chucks struck first in the top of the third inning, breaking through on Eau Claire starter Matt McDaniel. Sharif Othman led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a Kevin Pillar sacrifice bunt. Rob Lind would advance Othman to third off of a groundout, before Pat Terry hit an RBI double to send Othman home and make the score 1-0.
The Express answered back immediately in the bottom of the frame, as they'd take the lead and score two runs. Nolan Fadness reached on a fielders choice, before advancing to second on a bunt base hit by Lucas Herbst. The bases would then be loaded with one out, after an infield single by Nathan Orf. A bases loaded hit by pitch to Steve McGuiggan scored one run to tie the game, before an Andrew Leonard groundout made the score 2-1.
While the ‘Chucks bats would go dormant against Matt McDaniel, the Express chipped away and produced one run in each of the fourth, fifth, and six innings. After two consecutive singles were allowed by Woodchucks' starter Cory Hall, manager Guido Aspeitia made the call to the bullpen and brought in Mitchell Beacom. Beacom recorded two outs quickly, but then issued two consecutive walks to make the score 3-1.
Beacom allowed a two out solo homer to Josh Sheffert in the fifth, before allowing a Nathan Orf RBI single in the sixth to score Nolan Fadness. Eau Claire had five lead-off hitters reach base, and produced 10 hits and 5 runs off of two of Wisconsin's best pitchers, Mitchell Beacom and Cory Hall.
The ‘Chucks would get one run in the seventh, as Sharif Othman led off the inning with a single. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Othman came home three batters later on a Travis Whitmore RBI single. Jerad Eickhoff relieved Beacom in the eighth, and allowed a run to Nolan Fadness, making the score 6-2 Express.
The Woodchucks would get the tying run into the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to comeback off of Eau Claire closer Evan Zerff, falling 6-2. Eau Claire will go on to play the Rochester Honkers in a three game series to determine the Northwoods League Champions. The ‘Chucks finished a great season at 43-30.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Woodchucks