Top Five of 2010: Honorable Mentioning

The view from Opening Day, 2010. (Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | January 5, 2011 8:07 AM ET

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We will conclude the countdown of the Top Five Games of 2010 in two weeks...even though it is pretty obvious what #1 is going to be.  To ease us into the new year, here are six games from 2011 that are worth mentioning.

Opening Night: The first game of the 2010 season was postponed a day due to an April snowfall.  The Rattlers started the season on April 9 with a doubleheader against the Kane County Cougars.  In game one, Jeff Suppan got the start, but it was the finish that makes this game memorable.

The Rattlers trailed 2-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning.  Chris Dennis drove in Khris Davis with a single to tie the game.  In the bottom of the seventh, the Rattlers collected a walkoff win when Scooter Gennett's infield single sent Joey Paciorek home with the winning run.

Near Miss: Jake Odorizzi got the start at Burlington on April 16 and pitched five no-hit innings.  He hit a batter, walked a batter, and struck out eight.  Damon Krestalude took over in the bottom of the sixth inning with a comfortable 6-0 lead.  The lead was mainly due to the efforts of Pete Fatse, who had knocked in half of the runs to that point of the game.

Krestalude retired the side in order in the sixth.  Fatse hit a two run homer in the seventh.  Krestalude retired the side in order in the seventh and the eighth.  The Rattlers added one more run in the top of the ninth for a 9-0 lead.  Krestalude went out of the ninth and got the first two batters.  But, a two-out double down the third base line by Hilton Richardson broke up the no-hitter.  Krestalude struck out three and picked up the four inning save.

Completion:  Kyle Heckathorn had been on a roll heading into the June 6 start at Lake County.  He had four consecutive quality starts and three wins going into this game, which was scheduled for seven innings due to the conclusion of a suspended game from the night before.  Cutter Dykstra hit a two-run homer in the first inning for an early lead.  Then, Heckathorn worked around some early jams.  He would go on to be pretty dominant against the eventual Midwest League Champions.  Heckathorn allowed an unearned run, struck out three, and didn't walk a batter on the way to the complete game victory.  Wisconsin's offense struck out eight times, but they didn't need much more than the homer from Dykstra in the 4-1 win.

Shutout: Heckathorn was at it again on June 19 at Kane County.  He allowed a hit over six shutout innings and struck out seven for his seventh straight quality start.  The Rattlers had an early 3-0 lead.  Matt Costello worked a scoreless seventh.  Jon Pokorny came on in the eighth and gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning, but worked out of the jam.  A five run top of the ninth, including a three-run double by Gennett, gave the team an 8-0 lead.  Pokorny struck out the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the first half.

Suspended: Why not include another Cedar Rapids game on this list?  The Rattlers and Kernels were playing in Cedar Rapids on July 4.  A sudden, heavy squall halted the game.  When the groundscrew, front office, and Kernels players could not get the tarp all the way on the field, there was some damage to the playing surface and the game had to be suspended with the Rattlers trailing 4-3 with runners on second and third and only one out.  Efrain Nieves came into the game when it resumed on July 5 and walked the first batter to load the bases.  Then, he got a double play to end the threat.  Nieves tossed 4-1/3 innings and allowed only one hit.  The offense tied the game in the sixth on a Chris Dennis homer.  The Rattlers scored twice in the eighth to go in front.  Dennis doubled in a run and scored later in the frame on an error.

Pokorny made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth.  A leadoff single was followed by a pair of strikeouts.  Then, a defensive indifference allowed the leadoff man to take second and score on another single.  A walk put the tying run at second and the winning run at first.  The count ran full to Casey Haerther, but Pokorny ended the game with a strikeout to nail down the win.

Ending Strong:  The Rattlers ended the 2010 season on Labor Day at Kane County.  Nick Bucci tossed seven shutout innings, allowed two hits, and struck out four.  Chris Dennis hit his eighteenth home run of the season and drove in three runs and the Rattlers closed out the year with a 7-0 win over the Cougars.

Game # 5: Duck Hunting

Game #4: Drought Ending

Game #3: Big slugging

Game #2: Extra Inning

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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