Nine former NWL players still challenging for a World Series title
Rochester, Minn. – As the Major League Baseball Divisional Series games continue nine former Northwoods League players are each hoping for their chance at a World Series ring.
The National League West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and former NWL outfielder Andre Ethier (Rochester ’02) look to get past the National League East Champion New York Mets. The Mets have three former Northwoods League alums in first baseman Lucas Duda (Alexandria ’06), infielder Matt Reynolds (St. Cloud ’10) and outfielder Curtis Granderson (Mankato ’01). The Mets are also managed by Terry Collins who was the Field Manager for the Duluth Huskies in 2009.
The Kansas City Royals won the American League Central Division and have one former NWL player on their roster in Ben Zobrist (Wisconsin ’03). Zobrist was a mid-season acquisition from the Oakland Athletics. The Royals are taking on the Houston Astros who defeated the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. Former NWL player Pat Neshek (Wisconsin ’00) is in the Astros bullpen.
The American League East Champion Toronto Blue Jays have three former Northwoods League players on their roster. Relief pitcher Mark Lowe (Wisconsin ’02-’03) is joined by infielder Ryan Goins (Waterloo ’08) and outfielder Kevin Pillar (Wisconsin ’10) as they take on the Texas Rangers. Former NWL player Sam Freeman (Wisconsin ’07) spent the majority of the season on the Rangers roster but is not currently on the playoff roster for the divisional series.
The National League wild card game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates saw one former Northwoods League player on the rosters. The Pirates league leader in saves, closer Mark Melancon (Duluth ’04) was in the bullpen for Pittsburgh.
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 (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.