GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Cedar Rapids played the final game of the 2011 season at Time Warner Cable Field in a steady rain on Tuesday night. The Kernels prevailed with a 6-3 victory over the Rattlers.
Wisconsin (66-68 overall, 28-36 second half) manufactured a run in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead. Carlos Gomez reached on a bunt single to start the frame. Nick Shaw's sacrifice bunt moved Gomez to second base. TJ Mittelstaedt knocked in Gomez with a single.
The Kernels (59-75, 27-37) took the lead in the top of the second. Marcus Nidiffer and Jarrod Parks reached on consecutive singles with one out. A wild pitch by Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller moved both runners up a base. Jean Almanzar tied the game with an RBI grounder. Drew Martinez put Cedar Rapids in front 2-2.
The Rattlers took advantage of a bout of wildness on the part of Kernels starter Justin LaTempa. The Cedar Rapids righty retired the first two Wisconsin batters he faced in the bottom of the third. Shaw, Mittelstaedt, and Nick Ramirez all drew walks to load the bases. Cody Hawn drew the fourth straight free pass to force in Shaw to tied the game 2-2.
Cedar Rapids went back in front in the top of the sixth. Nidifer doubled with two outs to drive in Jeremy Cruz from second base and the Kernels had a 3-2 lead.
The Kernels tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth inning against Rattlers reliever Stosh Wawrzasek. Martinez started the inning with a single. He stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Rolando Gomez singled in Martinez. Justin Bass followed with an RBI double. A sacrifice fly by Ricky Alvarez scored Bass later in the inning for a 6-2 lead.
Wisconsin mounted a rally with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth inning against Manny Correa. Reggie Keen singled. Shaw drew a walk. Mittelstaedt drove in Keen with a double. But, Correa got the final out with the tying run at the plate to preserve the win for Cedar Rapids.
Gomez played seven innings in the final game of his major league rehab assignment with the Rattlers. He went 1-for-3 on Tuesday night. Gomez was 4-for-12 with three stolen bases and three runs scored in his four games with Wisconsin.
The loss officially dropped the Rattlers out of playoff contention. The Rattlers had trailed Kane County for the second half Wild Card in the Western Division by six games with seven games to play. Kane County lost on Tuesday to Peoria at home. However, the Cougars hold the tie-breaker on the Rattlers by winning the season series. This means that the Rattlers can no longer catch Kane County for a playoff spot.
Wisconsin finishes the home part of their schedule with a 35-35 record.
The Timber Rattler begin a season-ending six-game road trip on Wednesday night at Burlington, Iowa. Wisconsin has Brooks Hall (7-4, 3.88) as their scheduled starting pitcher. Blake Hassebrock (7-8, 2.67) is set to start for the Bees. Game time at Community Field is 6:30pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
WP: Justin La Tempa (4-9)
LP: Matt Miller (6-8)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.