Walkoff Wednesday (2001 season)

It’s a Walkoff Wednesday on Rattler Radio. Let’s head back to the 2001 season. The Timber Rattlers won 84 games during the regular season. That still stands as a club record. The ’01 Rattlers won seven games in walkoff fashion. However, most notable were the reactions of Timber Rattlers pitchers who were on the mound for three of the four times the team lost on a walkoff during that season.

Timber Rattlers Walkoffs (7)


These Rattlers figured into some of Wisconsin’s seven walkoff wins in 2001.

DATE: April 13 (Game 2 of doubleheader)
OPPONENT: Beloit Snappers
BATTER: Joe Rodriguez
PITCHER: Victor Cordero
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 7th
GAME WINNING PLAY: J-Rod, two-run home run with no outs
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 5, Beloit 3:
NOTES: The Rattlers tied the game 3-3 on a two-out RBI single by Pedro Liriano in the bottom of the sixth.  Joe Rodriguez was the cleanup batter in this game.  The notable Brewers farmhand for the Snappers in this game would be Dave Krynzel.

DATE May 4 (Game 1 of doubleheader):
OPPONENT: Clinton LumberKings
BATTER: Bill Martinez
PITCHER: Antonio Garris
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Scoreless tie in the bottom of the 7th
GAME WINNING PLAY: An errant pickoff throw to first by catcher Drew McMillan with the bases loaded allowed Pedro Liriano to score the winning run.
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 1, Clinton 0
NOTE: That last play needs explanation, yes?  Here’s the spot.  Wisconsin starting pitcher Rett Johnson has gone seven shutout innings and allowed four hits.  Clinton starting pitcher Luke Lockwood allowed three hits and no runs over the first six innings.  In the seventh, a leadoff walk is followed by a strikeout and Liriano forcing the leadoff batter at second base on a grounder.  Mark Carrol reaches on an error and Joe Dusan walks to load the bases.  This puts Lockwood over 100 pitches.  Antonio Garris enters the game to face Guillermo “Bill” Martinez.

The count is 1-1 and Garris gets strike two on Martinez.  McMillan sees Dusan wandering away from first base on the pitch and tries to pick the Rattler runner off to send the game to extra innings.  The ball sails down the right field line. Liriano scores. Rattlers win.

This game should tip you off that the Rattlers went 12-0 against Clinton in 2001.

DATE: May 15
OPPONENT: Fort Wayne Wizards
BATTER: John Castellano
PITCHER: John Stone
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 17th inning!
GAME WINNING PLAY: Castellano hits a two-out solo home run!
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 3, Fort Wayne 2 in 17 innings.
NOTE: The score had been tied 2-2 since JJ Furmaniak hit a home run in the top of the seventh inning.  Stone, a catcher, had pitched a 1-2-3 16th and had retired the first two batters in the 17th.  Then, Castellano blasted a  1-0 pitch over the wall in left to end the game at 11:17pm after four hours and forty minutes.

DATE: May 17
OPPONENT: Fort Wayne Wizards
BATTER: Pedro Liriano
PITCHER: Bryan Gaal
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Pinch-runner Jamal Strong scores from third on wild pitch*.
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 4, Wizards 3
NOTE: Strong entered the game as a pinch runner for Dusan, who had singled off Roger Luque with two outs.  Then, Blake Bone was hit by a pitch.  Gaal entered the game for Luque.  My scorebook gets a little foggy from that point.  The day-by-day on Strong has him stealing a base.  Gaal does not give up a hit, but throws a wild pitch.  I’ll need to look this one up on the micorfilm, but it is possible that Strong stole third and scored on a wild pitch by Gaal.  I’ll come back to this one later.

DATE: June 12 (Game 2 of doubleheader)
OPPONENT: Lansing Lugnuts
BATTER: Ariel Durango
PITCHER: Ferenc Jongjean
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Lansing 4, Timber Rattlers 1 in the bottom of the 7th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Ariel Durango hits a two-out GRAND SLAM!
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 5, Lansing 4
NOTE: The Rattlers were down 4-0 heading to their last at bat of the game.  Todd Wellmeyer had pitched six shutout innings and allowed two hits while striking out eleven.  Lawrence Alvarez entered the game and got the first two outs.  Wil Quintana walked on four straight pitched.  Jake Daubert singled on an 0-2 pitch.  Mark Carroll drove in Quintana with a single.  Dusan walked on a 3-2 pitch.  All of a sudden the bases are loaded.  Jongjean, the Lugnuts closer, comes in to face Durango, who had hit six homers in 117 games for Wisconsin in 2000 and had just been demoted from San Bernadino.  Durango hit the first pitch from Jongjean just over the wall in left-center for a game winning grand slam.  Of course he did!

DATE: June 13
OPPONENT: Lansing Lugnuts
BATTER: Mark Carroll
PITCHER: Eric Albright
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 7-7 in the bottom of the 9th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Carroll singles to drive in Wil Quintana.:
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 8, Lansing 7
NOTE: The Rattlers trailed 4-5 heading to the bottom of the ninth.  Quintana tripled to drive in the tying runs.  Daubert was walked intentionally.  Then, Carroll delivered the game winning single.

DATE: July 30
OPPONENT: South Bend Silver Hawks
BATTER: Jamie Bubela
PITCHER: Aric LeClair
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Jamie Bubela singles with two outs and the bases loaded to drive in Derrick Gutierrez with the winning run.
FINAL SCORE: Timber Rattlers 4, South Bend 3
NOTE: Gutierrez, the 8th hitter in the order, doubled with one out.  Cody Sundbeck struck out the next batter.  He walked Liriano intentionally, but walked Durango to load the bases.  LeClair entered the game and Bubela singled on an 0-1 pitch to get the win for Wisconsin.

Opponent Walkoffs (4)

DATE: April 30 (Game 2 of doubleheader)
OPPONENT: Quad City River Bandits
STADIUM: Black Hawk Community College Field
BATTER: Luis Maza
PITCHER: Tim Burton
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 7th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Bases loaded single by Luis Maza scores pinch runner Rafael Boitel.
FINAL SCORE: Quad City 7, Timber Rattlers 6
NOTE: Burton hit Kevin West to start the inning.  Then, there was a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to set up the double play.  Burton got the grounder for the double play, but it was booted for Wisconsin’s fourth error of the game and loaded the bases.  Maza fouled off three two strike pitches before singling to drive in the winning run.

Burton got pretty good distance on the full water cooler that he punted after he walked off the field that day.

DATE: July 1
OPPONENT: Burlington Bees
STADIUM: Community Field
BATTER: Ben Cordova
PITCHER: Aaron Taylor
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Cordova RBI single with bases loaded and one out scores Darren Fenster with winning run.
FINAL SCORE: Burlington 2, Timber Rattlers 1
NOTE: The Timber Rattlers led 1-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.  Aaron Taylor, a tall right-hander with a fastball in the high 90’s, had been dominant since joining the team.  I remember telling Bees announcer Randy Wehofer before the series started that he would see something special when Taylor got into a game.  Derrick Van Dusen and John Butler had allowed no runs on three hits and combined for 12 strikeouts over the first eight innings.  Taylor came in for the ninth and gave up a single, got a foul pop, and another single.  Then, he hit a batter on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases.  Odannis Ayala took a very close 3-2 pitch for ball four to force in a run.  I remember Taylor being really upset with plate umpire Ria Cortesio’s call.  Cordova ended the game with a single to drive in the winning run.

Taylor got pretty good distance as he threw a baseball on the screen behind home plate as he walked off the field.

DATE: July 21
OPPONENT: Michigan Battle Cats
STADIUM: C.O. Brown Stadium
BATTER: Henri Stanley
PITCHER: Chad Wiles
SCORE BEFORE WALKOFF: Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 10th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Stanley’s bases loaded single scores Jason Maule with the winning run.
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 3, Timber Rattlers 2 in ten innings
NOTE: Maule singled to start the tenth.  Wiles threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt and – on the same play – Castellano threw wildly to second in an attempt to get Maule there.  That put Maule on third with no outs.  Wiles intentionally walked the next two batters.  Stanley singled to end the game.

DATE: August 12
OPPONENT: Fort Wayne Wizards
STADIUM: Memorial Stadium
BATTER: Chris Fears
PITCHER: Chad Wiles
SCORE BEFORE THE WALKOFF: Tied 6-6 in the 10th
GAME WINNING PLAY: Two-out RBI single by Chris fears scores JJ Furmaniak
FINAL SCORE: Fort Wayne 7, Timber Rattlers 6 in ten innings
NOTE: The Rattlers trailed 5-2, but scored once in the eighth and twice in the ninth to take a 6-5 lead.  But, the Wizards tied the game on a Craig Thompson RBI double in the bottom of the ninth.  In the tenth, Wiles walked Furmaniak to start the inning.  The Wizards shortstop stole second with two outs and went to third when Rattlers second baseman Ariel Durango missed the throw from the plate..  Fears, who had scored the tying run in the ninth as a pinch runner, drove in the winning run with a single.

Wiles broke his pitching hand when he punched the dugout wall after he walked off the field.

Next week: 2002

Past Walkoff Entries:

Walkoff Wednesday (2000 Season)

Walkoffs 2005-2012


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