Rats’ Bats Come Up Short in Loss
10 Left on Base Doom Wisconsin Rapids
Mequon, Wis-Coming into Saturday’s game, you wouldn’t blame the Rafters (2-10) if they played dejected and defeated. Having lost 7 in a row coming into the evening’s contest, Wisconsin Rapids battled the Lakeshore Chinooks (9-3) but came up short once again in a 4-2 loss.
Buoyed by the arrival of three new players, the Rafters took an early lead in the top of the 1st as newcomer Zack Domingues (Long Beach State) was driven in on a RBI single from Ryan Burns (Virginia Tech). The Rafters made Chinooks’ starter Ben Messenger (UW-Oshkosh) work hard but couldn’t do any further damage in Messenger’s three innings of work.
With Wisconsin Rapids’ bullpen fatigued it was essential that starter John Kravetz (Illinois) put together a solid start. Kravetz was great in his seven innings, but had two trouble innings that the Rafters couldn’t recover from. After getting the first two outs in the top of the 2nd, Kravetz walked the six hole hitter Brett Siddall (Canisius). The very next pitch thrown to second baseman Jake Noll (Florida Gulf Coast) was laced into right field for an RBI triple. The Chinooks would tack on two more in the bottom of the third for the only runs charged against Kravetz.
Against a good pitching staff like Lakeshore’s it would be tough enough to come back. Throw the fact that the Rafters brought in a league worst .187 team batting average and the task grew even tougher. Wisconsin Rapids put runners on, but at the end of the night the Rafters stranded 10 men on base.
The Rafters put together one last rally in the top of the 8th when the first two runners reached base and were promptly sacrificed into scoring position by Cullen Gassaway (Arkansas). Lakeshore closer Andrew Elliott (Wright State) was immediately brought in and slammed the door on the Rafters. He struck out four in a row before allowing a groundout to end the game for his third save of the year.
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 (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.