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Rafters Announce Four Roster Additions

Nolan Blackwood Photo

(Pictured: Memphis freshman Nolan Blackwood has been pitching with a submarine-style delivery since he was a young teenager.)

Wisconsin Rapids, WI- Thursday, January 16th.  The Rafters welcomed their new Field Manager Chris Ebright to town on Wednesday, and also unveiled four high-profile additions to the 2014 team.  Ebright and general manager John Fanta announced the signings of infielder Marshawn Taylor (Eastern Illinois), Nolan Blackwood (Memphis), Ryan Sluder (Oklahoma State) and Sloan Dieter (Oklahoma State) at their Inaugural “Hot Stove” Rendezvous event at the Boys and Girls Club yesterday. 

IF-Marshawn Taylor, 5’9”, 160 lbs (L/R) Freshman
Taylor will begin his freshman season at Eastern Illinois after being selected in the 35th Round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.  He was ranked No. 59 in the state of Illinois for the 2013 high school class and was rated as the best all-around defensive infielder in the group.  As a junior, Taylor posted a .425 batting average to go along with 37 hits, 37 runs, and 12 extra base hits.  He also had 23 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, displaying the element of speed that he brings along with his tremendous defense.  Taylor is a native
Chicago, Illinois.

RHP-Nolan Blackwood, 6’5”, 165 lbs (R/R) Freshman
The Rafters have added an element to their bullpen to the delight of manager Chris Ebright: A true submarine pitcher.  The Rafters have signed Memphis reliever Nolan Blackwood, who will begin his freshman season with the Tigers this spring.  Blackwood attended Southaven High School in Mississippi, where he was a three year letter winner and led his team to the 2013 State Championship.  Used mainly in relief, Blackwood posted a 3-1 record with 6 saves.  In 39 2/3 innings, he allowed only one earned run and one walk, to go along with 47 strikeouts and a miniscule 0.18 ERA.

OF-Ryan Sluder, 6’3”, 200 lbs (R/R) Freshman
Ryan Sluder will embark on his freshman season at Oklahoma State this spring after being ranked #345 in the nation among all high school seniors by Perfect Game USA last summer.  During his junior and senior seasons, he batted .405 while recording 67 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.  He is a five tool prospect that hopes to hone his skills in Wisconsin Rapids this summer.

RHP-Sloan Dieter, 6’2”, 195 lbs (R/R) Freshman
Dieter will join Sluder at Oklahoma State for his freshman campaign this spring.  Utilizing a fastball that sits in the 90-92 MPH range, Dieter was ranked as the 4th best pitcher in Louisiana as a senior last spring.  Dieter is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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 (NYM), 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.

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