Rafters Announce Returning Players for 2015
Right-Handed Pitcher, Middle Infielder Rejoin Wisconsin Rapids
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are pleased to announce that two players from the 2014 roster will be returning to Wisconsin Rapids next summer. Right-handed pitcher Nick Blackburn (Illinois), and infielder Patrick Ervin (North Florida) have signed contracts to rejoin the Rafters for the 2015 season.
“We are excited to have Nick and Patrick return to Wisconsin Rapids next summer. They will both bring veteran leadership to new manager Craig Noto’s roster,” Rafters General Manager John Fanta said.
RHP- Nick Blackburn, 6’2”, 205 lbs, (R/R) Junior, Illinois
Nick Blackburn was a consistent presence in the rotation for the Rafters making 11 starts this season, finishing with a 3-3 record. In 49.1 innings Blackburn struck out 35 batters. His performance during the 2014 season earned him a place in the Big League Dreams Showcase, which features the top 100 players as chosen by a panel Major League Baseball scouts. Following the conclusion of the season, he was named the 95th best prospect in the Northwoods League. Blackburn will play his junior season for the University of Illinois this spring.
IF- Patrick Ervin, 6’0”, 175 lbs, (L/R) Junior, North Florida
Patrick Ervin returns to Wisconsin Rapids after a brief stint for the Rafters in 2014. After playing in just six games, Ervin sustained a shoulder injury that forced him to return to Florida for the remainder of the summer. In his limited number of at-bats, Ervin compiled a .280 batting average, drove in three runs, and also stole three bases. Ervin will play his junior season for North Florida University this spring.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.