Latest News

Published On: October 19th, 2015


Field Manager Looking To Continue Upward Trend


Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Following a summer in which he lead the team to a new record for wins in a season, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are pleased to announce that Field Manager Craig Noto will return for his second season in 2016.

"I'm honored to be coming back to lead the Rafters for the 2016 season. I cannot thank our GM John Fanta and Big Top Baseball enough for this opportunity. The town of Wisconsin Rapids really is one of the best kept secrets in the Northwoods League and I cannot wait to get back on the field and compete for a Northwoods League Championship,” Noto said in a statement. “I believe we had a great group of guys last season that set the standard for the Rafters. We showed our fan base and the other teams in the league that we were going to play hard day in and day out and compete. The Northwoods League schedule is a grind and we will continue to bring in players that love to compete and play the game every day."

The Rafters finished the season with 33 wins, including a .500 winning percentage during the second half. He oversaw a much improved pitching staff, including starters Jake Johansmeier (7-1, 3.02), Northwoods League All-Star Jack Riley (5-1, 3.21) and Jay Peters (4-2, 3.45) that stabilized the starting rotation and provided quality innings. On the offensive side, he helped guide Rafters MVP Jake Sandlin (.294 average, team record 22 doubles), Ryan Cleveland (9 home runs), Zack Domingues (.296 average) and All-Star Brock Carpenter (.307 average).

“Craig set a precedent for our team with his attitude and coaching style that helped lead us to our most successful season on the field in our six year history,” said general manager John Fanta. “I am excited to again partner with Craig and work towards our goal of bringing a Northwoods League Championship to Wisconsin Rapids.”

Noto came to Wisconsin Rapids with over 20 years of coaching at the youth, high school, and Division 1 Collegiate level. He spent the previous nine seasons as the Recruiting Coordinator and Pitching Coach at LIU-Brooklyn. While at LIU, Coach Noto recruited and coached five different players that have gone off to various levels of professional baseball, including the first major leaguer in LIU history, James Jones of the Seattle Mariners. He also coached 14 NEC All-Conference selections, two NEC Players of the Year, and a Rawlings Gold Glove winner. His recruiting ties and contacts around the United States have been integral into helping him shape the Rafters roster. Noto currently operates the Brooklyn Baseball Association, which is the fastest growing travel baseball organization in New York City.


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