Appleton, WIS - The Clinton LumberKings' 2012 season came to an end on Sunday night when they were bounced from the Western Division Finals by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 4-2, at Time Warner Cable Field.
In best-of-three series, Wisconsin won on the road at Ashford University Field, 9-1, on Saturday night. Clinton, who lost the first game in the opening round against Beloit, couldn't come up with the same magic they had against the Snappers and were swept.
For the second time in as many nights, Clinton got out to a lead in the first inning. Against Wisconsin starter Mark Williams, Jamal Austin led off the game with a double to right center. Dan Paolini laid a bunt down in front of the plate and catcher Rafael Neda threw it away, allowing Austin to score and Paolini to get to second. After Ji-Man Choi popped out for the first out in the inning, Ramon Morla sent a Williams offer to the wall in centerfield for an RBI double to make it 2-0.
Wisconsin answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Brandon Macias reached on an error to lead things off. Seon-Gi Kim retired Chadwin Stang and Ben McMahan but Nick Ramirez launched a two-run homer to straightaway center to tie the game at 2-2.
The Timber Rattlers added a single tally in the fourth inning when Adrian Williams delivered a two-out, run-scoring base hit to give Wisconsin a 3-2 lead. They added an insurance run in the seventh inning on Brandon Macias' RBI single to right field, making it 4-2.
Like Chad Thompson did to Clinton Saturday night, Williams settled down after the shaky first. He went on to throw eight innings, a season-high. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with five strikeouts. Clinton had opportunities to score late. They had lead off singles in the seventh and eighth innings from Ramon Morla and Dillon Hazlett but couldn't come up with the big hit to pull closer.
Santo Manzanillo came in for the ninth inning and retired the LumberKings in order to record the save and sent the Timber Rattlers to the Midwest League Championship Series. They will play the winner of the Fort Wayne and Lake County series that will be decided on Monday. The LumberKings' last appearance in the Midwest League Finals was in 2010 when they lost to Lake County in five games.