Offense Continues to Stay Hot
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- It was a cool, windy evening at historic Witter Field but not even Mother Nature could slow down the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters’ (4-13) newfound offensive prowess. The Rafters won their second in a row in blowout fashion as they hammered the Madison Mallards (10-6) by a score of 12-5. After enduring a stagnant offense during their lengthy losing streak, the Rafters have put together 26 runs and 32 hits the last two evenings.
The Rafters jumped out ahead in the bottom of the 1st inning when Keelin Rasch (Louisiana Monroe) continued his hot play with an RBI single. Madison got the run right back on a solo home run from Trent Higginbothem (North Florida) in the top of the 2nd. That’s when Wisconsin Rapids opened things up, and by scoring four runs on four hits in the bottom of the second, the Rafters knocked out starter Tom Constand (Western Illinois).
Debutant Zach Jackson (Arkansas) was the story early as he mowed through the Mallards lineup to the tune of five hits through 6 sterling innings, while striking out 12. Jackson was two strikeouts away from tying the Rafters’ all-time single game record of 14 set by Jesse Arreola in 2010. Jackson threw two mistakes all night, one on the home run hit by Higginbothem and another on a two run home run hit by Brian Rodemoyer (Illinois State).
Erik Payne (Virginia Tech) was the standout offensively for the Rafters as he went 3-5 with two home runs and five RBIs. The Mallards tried to make things interesting in the top of the 8th when they scored two unearned runs off of Wisconsin Rapids’ bullpen, but the Rafters scored 4 in the bottom half of the inning to end all doubt.
These two regional rivals will lock horns again tomorrow evening in Madison as the Rafters will look to sweep the home and home two game series. First pitch is at 7:05 pm CST. The Rafters will return home on Saturday, June 14th to take on the Battle Creek Bombers. First pitch is slated for 6:05pm and be sure to remain in your seat following the conclusion of the game as a dazzling fireworks display will be brought to you by Budweiser.
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.