Wisconsin Rapids, WI – September 4th, 2013. With the fourth season of Rafters baseball in the books the team has announced the 2013 Most Valuable Player, Pitcher of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year Award recipients.
Junior catcher/first baseman Jackson Slaid (Montevallo) and freshman outfielder Donnie Dewees (North Florida) have been named the team’s 2013 Co-MVPs.
Slaid (Montevallo) led the way this season for the Rafters in multiple offensive categories, breaking the club’s single-season records in home runs (13), doubles (17), RBIs (59) and batting average (.326). He also led the team with 77 hits, while appearing in a team-best 64 games. Slaid was named to both the midseason and postseason Northwoods League All-Star teams.
Dewees (North Florida) was the second Rafter to garner midseason and postseason All-Star recognition, as the Crystal River, Florida native finished his season second on the team in hits (75), home runs (12), RBIs (53), and batting average (.321). He led the Rafters with 54 runs scored, a new franchise record, and tied a franchise record with his 26 stolen bases.
Jackson Slaid (59) and Donnie Dewees (53) combined for 112 RBIs this season, which was the most by any two teammates in the Northwoods League this year. The duo also amassed 152 hits, 25 home runs, and 92 runs scored throughout the summer, marking the finest season combined by two teammates in Rafters history.
Slaid and Dewees join Pat Kelly (2012), Nestor Bautista (2011), and Cody Koback (2010) as former Rafters to have received the award. Slaid will be a senior and Dewees will be a sophomore next spring.
Brad Stroik (UW-Stevens Point) has been named the 2013 Rafters Pitcher of the Year. Stroik was a model of consistency during the 2013 campaign and is now the Rafters’ all-time single season leader in strikeouts, ERA, and innings pitched. Stroik’s 74 strikeouts bested the total of 63 that was previously set by Ben Heller in 2012. He surpassed Brad Douthit in innings pitched and ERA, with 84.1 frames completed this season with a 2.98 ERA. Stroik finished the season with a 4-4 record in 14 starts, while posting a team-high eight quality starts (At least 6 innings pitched, allowing 3 earned runs or less). He was also among Northwood League pitching leaders, ranking second in the League in strikeouts and fourth in the League in ERA among all qualifying pitchers. Stroik will be a senior next spring for the Pointers.
Centerfielder Taylor Stell (Texas) has been named the Rafters Defensive Player of the Year. Stell graced the outfield for the Rafters this year, putting his body on the line while making nightly highlight reel diving and leaping catches to rob opponents of hits all season long. Stell appeared in 48 games for the Rafters this season and finished with a .981 fielding percentage. The speedster also finished his season with a .303 batting average, ranked second on the team in doubles (13), third in hits (53), and ranked second on the team with 25 stolen bases. Stell will be a junior next spring for the Longhorns.
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 MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.