It takes something extraordinary for a baseball game to end in a tie. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have had one tie in 19 seasons of play. The reason for that tie would be a heavy rain late in a game back in 2003 on the final day of a series with the Fort Wayne Wizards.
You get a winner in a baseball game almost every time. No matter how long it takes.
This week I'll take a look at the five longest games - by innings - in Rattlers history.
The Timber Rattlers have been involved in two games that have lasted 17 innings and seven games that have lasted 15 innings. To narrow the list down to five games, I went by elapsed time of game. That means the following four games were left off the list:
- April 9, 1996 at Fort Wayne, a 3-2 win in 15 innings that took 3:44
- June 15, 2000 vs. Michigan, a 4-3 win in 15 innings that took 3:57
- April 12, 2003 at Burlington, a 9-3 win in 15 innings that took 3:59
- July 13, 2012 at Lake County, a 7-6 loss in 15 innings that took 4:22
I really need to write about that game at Burlington in 2003 at some point in the future, because that 15th inning was amazing. But, that's for another day.
5.) August 15, 2013: The Timber Rattlers defeated the Peoria Chiefs at home 5-4 in 15 innings in a game that took 4:31. The Timber Rattlers broke a 3-3 tie with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Peoria tied the game with a run in the top of the eighth. Wisconsin had a chance to win the game in the thirteenth, but pinch-runner Lance Roenicke was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a flyball to shallow right off the bat of Tyrone Taylor. Rodolfo Fernandez, who came on to pitch in the top of the twelfth, worked four scoreless innings to keep the game tied. Michael Reed won the game with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the fifteenth. He delivered with two outs. If he hadn't, who knows how long that game would have lasted?
4.) June 23, 2008: The Timber Rattlers beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Cedar Rapids 4-2 in 15 innings in a game that took 4:32. The Kernels had a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third innings. Wisconsin tied the game with two runs in the sixth - on RBI from Ron Garth and Alex Liddi. The amazing thing about this game is that the Kernels had a chance to win the game in both the eleventh and fourteenth innings. In the eleventh, pinch hitter Anel de los Santos singled with two outs and a runner at second. Denny Almonte threw that runner out at the plate. In the fourteenth, Julio Perez doubled. Then, he stole third. The throw from catcher Blake Ochoa sailed into left and Perez tried to score. Almonte threw Perez out at the plate. In the fifteenth, Juan Diaz singled, went to second on a passed ball, went to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on another passed ball. Later in the inning, Almonte singled to knock in another run. Jose Escalona got the first two outs in the bottom of the fifteenth. Justin Souza came on to get a strikeout for the final out of the game.
3.) May 20, 2010: The Peoria Chiefs beat the Rattlers 9-6 in fifteen innings in a game that took 5:06 in Grand Chute. This game…. The reason Wisconsin made it to extra innings was a three-run bottom of the ninth to tie the game 4-4. They tying run scored on a wild pitch. Peoria scored a run in the top of the twelfth. Wisconsin scored a run in the bottom of the twelfth on an error by the left fielder. Peoria ran out of pitchers and had to turn to catcher Mario Mercedes in the bottom of the fourteenth. Scooter Gennett singled with two outs and stole second base. Khris Dennis followed with a single to right, but Scooter was thrown out at home plate by Nelson Perez. In the top of the fifteenth, Peoria sent nine men to the plate and scored four runs off Andy Sauter. All four runs came with two outs and the Rattlers were down 9-5. In the bottom of the fifteenth, Wisconsin loaded the bases with one out against Mercedes. D'Vontrey Richardson drove in a run to make it 9-6. Peoria went to Larry Suarez for one out and he struck out Cutter Dykstra to end the game, the longest game - by time - in Timber Rattlers history.
2.) May 15, 2001: The Timber Rattlers beat the Fort Wayne Wizards 3-2 in 17 innings at home in a game that took 4:40. Wisconsin had a 2-1 lead, but JJ Furmaniak hit a leadoff homer off Clint Nageotte in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Wisconsin's bullpen took over with two outs in the seventh and went on to toss 10-1/3 scoreless innings. The guys out of the bullpen in that game were: John Butler, Hawkeye Wayne, Chad Wiles, and Tim Burton. But, the offense was held in check from the fourth inning through the seventeenth. Fort Wayne, like Peoria almost nine years later, would run out of pitchers and they turned to catcher Jon Stone in the sixteenth. Stone worked a 1-2-3 sixteenth and retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventeenth. Fortunately, John Castellano ended the game with a home run to left on a 1-0 pitch at 11:17 at night. Not a lot of people hung around after that game because there was a day game scheduled for 12:05pm on May 16.
1.) April 30, 2004: The Timber Rattlers beat the Fort Wayne Wizards 6-3 in 17 innings at Fort Wayne in a game that took 4:53. Wisconsin was down 1-0 heading into the eighth, but scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Kenly Chang entered the game in the bottom of the eighth only to give up a leadoff home run to Brian Wahlbrink to tie the game 2-2. Wisconsin went back in front in their half of the fourteenth. Chris Collins doubled with two outs and Evel Bastida-Martinez drove him in with a single. Brian Stitt, the Timber Rattlers closer, struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the fourteenth, but he walked the next batter and gave up an RBI double to Drew Macias to tie the game again. In the top of the seventeenth, Oswaldo Navarro was at third with two outs. Adam Jones knocked in Navarro with a single. Collins followed with a two-run home run and the Rattlers were up 6-3. Bryan Heaston, who worked a scoreless sixteenth, tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventeenth to save the game.