Thunderstruck: Rats Win Wet And Wild Thriller
Rafters And Growlers Combine for 26 Runs In Damp Conditions
Kalamazoo, Mich.-There was lightning in the sky and in the bats of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (6-17) and the Kalamazoo Growlers (9-13) as the Rafters won a wild one 14-11. There was rain sprinkling through Kalamazoo intermittently all game long Wednesday, but the two teams were able to play the full nine innings.
The rain poured the hardest in the top of the second inning. When the Rafters had a runner on first, an enormous thunder- clap halted play. Once the ballgame resumed some 20 minutes later, the Wisconsin Rapids offense brought some thunder of their own. The Rafters would send 11 men to the plate and chase Growlers’ starter Ryan Colegate (Ohio Dominican) after he had surrendered 5 runs in an inning and a third. Hit by pitches were a story line all game long as the two teams combined to hit 8 batters, with Colegate responsible for four.
Wisconsin Rapids would open up the game in the top of the 6th with a four run inning. The frame was highlighted by a three run home run by third baseman Keelin Rasch (Louisiana Monroe). Rasch would reach base in his first five plate appearances as he finished up the night 2-3 with a home run, single, two hit by pitches, a walk and four RBIs.
The top ranked team in overall batting average, the Kalamazoo Growlers, would not go quietly into the night though. They responded with a six run bottom of the sixth that tightened up the game once again. Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) led off the inning with a rocket of a home run and Jared Kujawa bookended the frame with a pinch hit grand slam that made the score 10-7.
The Rafters would come right back with a game deciding four run top of the 7th. Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) managed a two RBI squeeze bunt that proved to be the difference. Kalamazoo would tack on more runs before Nick Prebelski (UW-Stevens Point) picked up a huge four out save for the Rafters. These two teams will go at it tomorrow at 6:05 pm CST as the Rafters play their last game in Kalamazoo this season.
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.