Rafters Squeak Past Growlers to End Skid
Wisconsin Rapids picks up first home win since the All-Star break at Witter Field
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Rafters made a habit of getting out of jams in a 5-4 win over the Kalamazoo Growlers on Saturday night. Kalamazoo out hit Wisconsin Rapids 14-5 on the day, but the Rafters’ pitchers kept the Growlers from hitting the ball hard as the majority of the Kalamazoo hits were ground balls finding holes or bloopers over the infield.
The Growlers loaded the bases with one out in the second and fourth innings, but lined into inning ending double plays and did not score in either inning. The Rafters then had to work to close the game as Kalamazoo scored a pair and had the tying run on in the ninth, but again Wisconsin Rapids pitching and defense came through.
The Rafters struck first in the game, scoring in the bottom of the second. Kalamazoo responded with a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the third. Rafters first baseman Ryan Cleveland (Georgia Southern) had his own response to the Growler runs, hitting a two-run laser shot over the wall in left center to give Wisconsin Rapids a 3-2 lead. It was Cleveland’s fourth home run in his last nine games and ninth RBI over that span, giving him five straight games with a run batted in.
Wisconsin Rapids added runs in the fifth and eighth to stretch their lead to 5-2. In the ninth, Kalamazoo rallied for a pair of runs, cutting the Rafters lead to 5-4 and had the game-tying run on base, but John Jaeger (Pacific) was able to induce a fly out to left field to end the game.
Jay Peters (UW-Milwaukee) improved to 3-1 on the season by picking up the win for the Rafters. The Randolph, Wisconsin native threw five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, while striking out four and walking two. Andrew Shepherd (Jackson College) took the loss, falling to 0-3. Jaeger earned his first save of the season.
The Rafters will host the Growlers again tomorrow at Witter Field, with first pitch coming at 12:05 p.m. It’ll be Faith Day at the ballpark presented by 88.5 The Family. Fans in attendance will receive a Luke A. Weiland team poster. Following the game, fans will be entertained by musician Jonny Diaz, who will play an hour postgame set.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, 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 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.