Don’t let the Janesville Aces get hot.
That rallying cry could be heard throughout the visitors’ dugout Sunday after the East Point Sportz Pub Aces, in the midst of a frustrating campaign, overcame a two-run deficit in the final three innings to defeat the Milton Junction Pub Raptors 9-8 in a Rock River League game at Schilberg Park.
Both of Janesville’s league wins have come against Milton, a club in the thick of the playoff race. The Aces (2-11, 2-10 RRL) are in ninth place in the 10-team league. They snapped an eight-game losing streak Sunday.
“We’ve been playing good baseball all year,” said Janesville manager Dave Gackstatter. “We’ve had two walk-offs go against us, we’ve lost two extra-inning games—that’s four wins right there that could have swung either way. It’s been that kind of season for us.”
The Aces scored the winning run in the top of the ninth following a moment of controversy.
With two outs and the score tied 8-8, Austin Geller was granted a timeout by the home plate umpire even though pitcher Zach Bailey appeared to have begun his windup. Bailey’s curveball fell in for what would have been strike three. On the next pitch, Geller hit a chopper off Bailey’s glove. Second baseman Connor Schneider retrieved the ball, but his throw to first was low and Janesville scored to take the lead.
“I think it’s more about the way we played than they played,” Milton manager Doug Welch said. “They’re a solid team, but we did not play well the first game against them and we did not play well today.”
Bailey struck out nine and walked three in nine innings.
Armon Cabrera worked around a walk and an error in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the win. He pitched the final three innings. Janesville starter Cameron Timm struck out four in six innings.
Milton (9-5, 6-5 RRL) tied the game in the eighth when Connor Schneider drove in two runs with a triple to left-center. The Raptors saw a three-game winning streak end, but remain in sixth place—the final playoff position—with seven games left in the regular season.
The Raptors open a difficult three-game stretch Wednesday when they host Neosho. Milton hosts first-place Clyman on Friday and hosts Hustisford on Sunday.
Janesville hosts Ashippun on Saturday and welcomes Watertown on Sunday.
JANESVILLE 9, MILTON 8
Janesville 102 000 411—9 13 3
Milton 012 020 120—8 9 2
Timm, Cabrera (7); Bailey
Leading hitters—Geller (J) 3x6, Jake McClellan (J) 2x5, Cal McClellan (J) 3x4, Gackstatter (J) 2x5, Schneider (M) 2x4, Cox (M) 2x5, McCann (M) 2x4. 2B—Geller, Jake McClellan, Kress (J), McCann, Kushava (M), Jacobson (M), Haueter (M). 3B—Jake McClellan, Schneider.
SO—Timm 4, Cabrera 1, Bailey 9. BB—Timm 1, Cabrera 3, Bailey 3.