Rafters Team Report Week Eight: April 25th – May 1st
Rafters Team Report Week Eight: April 25th – May 1st
The Rafters Team Report is a weekly update of your 2017 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters players in their spring seasons. Stay tuned each week for news and stats on players.
By: Mick Tidrow
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The last month of the regular season across collegiate baseball is approaching. Teams are making final adjustments to make a run in their conference and respective divisions. This week, Rafters-to-be stood out on the diamond all across the nation.
In one of the most incredible performances of the week across the nation, Cameron Busby of Belmont Abbey pitched 11 innings in a 5-3 victory in the Division II playoffs against fourth seeded Barton. In a downright gutsy performance, Busby struck out four while walking just one batter. The starter gave up two earned runs in his masterpiece. Competing in the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament, the Crusaders were aided by Busby not only in his start, but also out of the bullpen in two games in relief this past week. Against number six seed Pfeiffer, Busby entered to pitch a perfect inning out of the bullpen in the 11-9 win. The junior pitched against the one seeded team in the tournament in Mount Olive, throwing three and one-third innings, striking out two. Unfortunately, Belmont Abbey dropped a pair of games to Mount Olive. However, the soon-to-be Rafter Busby holds a 6-4 record in 95 innings this year with 59 strikeouts. The right-hander has the most innings pitched on the team by nearly 30 innings.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi took on Central Arkansas in a three game series last week. The Islanders made a push in the first two games, but fell short of a win. Game three was a different story as Nick Anderson drove in two runs on a double to help lead the Islanders to a 3-2 win. Central Arkansas was able to take game one 8-4 and gamed two 15-13 before the Islanders game three win. Anderson continues to have a solid spring season, batting .266 with 27 runs batted in and seven doubles. The sophomore has been reliable all year for the Islanders, scoring 24 runs on the season. Teammate Nkosi Djehuti-Mes, who is set to join the Rafters this summer, has hit two home runs on the season. Texas A&M Corpus Christi takes on UTRGV on the road in midweek action before traveling to McNeese State for a three game Southland matchup.
Jake Repavich turned in another stellar start for Grand Canyon this week against New Mexico State. The lefty starter nearly tossed a complete game, pitching eight and a third. The junior struck out two while dancing out of tough innings all game long to pick up his fifth win on the season. On the season, Repavich is 5-3 with a season-low 3.58 ERA after his strong start. The strikeout to walk ratio for Repavich has been outstanding with 47 punch-outs and mere 13 walks. Grand Canyon swept the Aggies to improve to 22-21 on the season. The Lopes are set to play Seattle University in a three game series.
Purdue and Gareth Stroh swept Saint Louis in a two game series the past week due to a cancellation of game three. Stroh started game two in the 4-3 win, tossing six innings and allowing two earned runs. The lefty did not record a strikeout, but worked efficiently and let his defense do the work. Purdue is now 25-18 and 9-6 in the Big Ten and riding a seven game win streak. Stroh has logged 62 and two-third innings while holding a 4-3 record. The soon-to-be Rafter lowered his ERA to 4.45 on the season, which is the second best mark of all starters for the Boilermakers. Purdue hosts Northwestern in a three game weekend series this week.
In the last 25 games, it may be hard pressed to find a catcher swinging the bat better than University of Chicago-Illinoi’s Rob Calabrese. During his torrid pace, Calabrese has at least one hit in 23 of those games, with at least two hits in 14 of them. The incredible season continued this past week for the catcher against Chicago State and Georgia Tech. Against Chicago State; the junior posted a hit with two runs batted in and two runs scored. His bat rolled over against Georgia Tech, sporting three hits in the two games vs. the Yellow Jackets, including a double in a game two win. Calabrese has six long balls this year and has raised his average to .362 after this week. UIC welcomes Oakland and Milwaukee to town for a total of four games, two against both teams.
St. Johns River State completed its regular season on April 19th with a 10-6 victory against Florida State Jacksonville. Nick Owens helped lead his squad to a 36-16 mark including a record of 22-4 at home. In the final game of the season, Owens went one-for-four with a run scored to extend his current hit streak to five games. The speedster is now hitting .328 on the year, with two home runs and 47 runs scored. Owens has been held hitless in just 10 of the teams 52 games on the season, with 16 multi-hit efforts. The next game for St. Johns River State is the playoffs where they face Chipola on May 5th.
Scott Kapers opened up the week against Notre Dame with a hit and two runs batted in for Valparaiso, but it was not enough for the Crusaders to hold on against the Irish in a 10-3 loss. In the second game of the week against Youngstown State, Kapers smacked two base hits in a 6-5 heartbreaking loss. In the second game of the series, Kapers drove in two more runs on a double in a Valpo loss. To cap off the week, the Crusaders knocked off Youngstown State with a two-for-four day with a run batted in. The utility man has split time this season behind the dish on defense and at second base, but he has taken the roll as the teams backstop in recent games. Kapers has driven in 21 runs this year. The Crusaders are at Oakland before hosting Purdue.
Cal State- Dominguez Hills took on San Francisco State on the road this past week, but came up short in all three games. However, Brandon Polizzi continued his dominant season, picking up at least one hit in every game. In the first two games, Polizzi recorded one hit, but broke out in the final game with two hits and a run batted in. The outfielder now owns a ten game hitting streak. He continues to swing it well this year with an average of .377 on the season. In 46 games this season, the speedster has at least one hit in all but five games. In 23 of those games, he has at least two hits, with three base knocks or more in nine contests. Sonoma State is the last team on the schedule in 2017 for the Toros.
A strong week for Dustin Woodcock brought the outfielders batting average up to .333 while SIU Edwardsville picked up a win against Pittsburgh in a three game series. To open the series, Woodcock drove in two runs on a home run and added a single. In the finale, he capped the series with a two-hit game. Woodcock has been stellar throughout the course of the season, blasting three homers and driving in 30 runs. The Rafters just announced the signing of Woodcock’s teammate, pitcher Mason McReaken. The righty tossed two and a third innings in the 6-4 win vs. Pittsburgh, lowering his ERA to 3.03. On the season, the pitcher has a 2-3 record with 35 strikeouts in 35 innings. SIU Edwardsville next slate of games includes a three game series against Austin Peay and a one game battle with Saint Louis.
Canisius College finished last week with a strong mark of 3-1 after a win against Niagara and two wins against Quinnipiac. J.P. Stevenson got the start in game one against Quinnipiac, and helped lead the Griffins to a 10-4 win. After six and a third innings pitched, Stevenson finished with five strikeouts and one walk to pick up his seventh win of the season. The lefty owns a 3.62 ERA on the season with a team-high 70 innings pitched. With a strikeout to walk ratio of 50 to 14, Stevenson has pitched one complete game in 11 starts. His teammate Ryan Stekl started off the series against Quinnipiac with two hits at the plate, three runs batted in and two runs scored in the win. He continued to hit throughout the series with two more runs batted in in a game two loss and a game three win. Stekl finished with two hits in the finale. The junior raised his average to .338 after another impressive week. Stekl has swung it well this season, leading the squad in doubles (12), runs batted in (37), home runs (4), and is third on the team in batting average.
Quinn DiPasquale of Stevens Tech tossed four innings against Montclair State this past week in his only appearance on the mound. DiPasquale struck out three to help lower his ERA on the season to 4.15. He did not allow an earned run in his four innings. The righty fell short in a victory attempt as the Ducks dropped the game. On the year, the hard throwing pitcher is 2-3 with nine starts and three appearances out of the bullpen. He has 48 strikeouts and just 20 free passes this year in 47 and two-third innings.
Aaron Herr of St. Johns is in his first year with the Red Storm. St. Johns is an impressive 31-7 on the season after going 2-2 this past week. Herr has appeared in ten games, all out of the bullpen. The junior is 2-0 after a short appearance on the hill this past week against Seton Hall in a 7-0 loss. Herr tossed a third of an inning to push his season inning count to eight and a third. Herr has struck out 11 batters on the year. The 13th ranked Red Storm take on Iona before heading to Georgetown.
Andrew Bechtold of Chipola College is on pace to hit nearly .500 on the season. Bechtold has shown no signs of slowing down this season, leading his team to two wins against Gulf Coast State College two weeks ago. The week was highlighted with a two-for-five performance with two runs scored in the first game. Bechtold finished with a hit in two at-bats in the final game, but drew three walks. The LSU commit is hitting an impressive .450 average with 10 long balls on the year. With 53 runs batted in and 68 runs scored, Bechtold looks to lead his team against Tyler Junior College and Louisiana State University Eunice two weeks ago. Chipola College has won its last 11 games when Bechtold is in the starting lineup. Now in the playoffs, Bechtold will look to lead his team against Rafter-to-be Nick Owens and St. Johns River State on May 5th.
Southpaw Jack Eagan of Madison College was back to his dominant ways on the bump last week. The lefty gave up just one hit in seven innings, notching 11 punch-outs with only two walks against Moraine Valley Community College. The starter has put together a strong campaign in his freshman season. In 42 and two-third innings this year, the freshman has an ERA of 1.05 with 57 strikeouts and just 17 walks after his last stellar start. Madison College faces McHenry County College and South Suburban College this coming week.
Alex Jackson of Heartland Community College has made nine appearances on the mound in his freshman season. The lefty entered out of the bullpen on April 27th against Augustana College in a 17-4 win, pitching three and two-third innings and giving up one earned run. With a record of 1-3, Jackson has tossed 22 and two-third innings while striking out 19 batters. The lefty looks to finish his first season strong as Heartland CC has 12 games left with Illinois Wesleyan coming up next. Tevita Gerber of UNLV started against Seattle University and tossed five innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out a couple.
The season and home opener for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters is May 30th at 7:05 against the Kenosha Kingfish. Solarus Founders Club, bleacher 9-Game ticket packages, and group outing packages are on sale now. Call 715-424-5400 or stop by the Rafters Front Office Monday-Friday from 9-5 to purchase a ticket package or book a group outing.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.