Rafters Fall Late In Close Game With Mallards
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- It’s opening week in the Northwoods League, presented by the Edvest. In fact, today was the last game on opening week for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (2-3) and Madison Mallards (6-0) as they squared off. Last night’s game was one to forget for the Rafters after being defeated by ten runs. A late rally by the Mallards made this one another one to forget for the Rafters. Once again rain was in the forecast, as the bottom of the second inning was subject to yet another rain delay as monsoon-like winds and rain hit Witter Field.
Due to the rain delay, Frank German was lifted after just 2 and 1/3 innings for the Mallards.
Kyle Boser took over and was greeted by an unfriendly welcome from the Rafters. After just three pitches, Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hill) hit an RBI single to give the Rats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning in his first hit of a 3-for-5 night at the plate. The Mallards quickly responded to the Rafters run with a two-run home run by Logan Sherer off Rafters starter John Jaeger (Sterling College), who stayed in the game after the rain delay. Just two batters later, Cameron Frost gave the Mallards another run as he said goodbye to a baseball as he lifted a pitch over the center field fence for a home run of his own. The homer extending the Madison lead to 3-1 after two and ½ innings. That score remained the same until Ben Fisher (Eastern Kentucky University) flashed his power in the bottom of the fourth inning and went yard beyond the right field fence for his first home run of the year.
The runs didn’t stop there in the fourth inning as Drew McLaughlin (Dixie State) unleashed on a fastball and blasted a three-run homer over the left field wall to give the Rafters the lead at 5-3 after four innings. That long ball was one of his two hits on the night. The Rats added another run in the fifth inning after a Mallard error allowed Scott Kapers (Valporaiso) to cross the plate. Soon after the Rafters extended their lead to three runs, Lucas Halstead launched his third home run of the year on a solo shot to cut the lead to 6-4. Dylan File (Dixie State) came on in relief of Jaeger and threw an impressive four innings, while allowing just one run on three hits, with four strikeouts.
Replacing him in eighth inning was Cameron Busby (Georgia College), who pitched a solid two-strikeout inning. Despite his strong showing, the Mallards managed to score one more run on an error to cut the Rafter lead to just one at 6-5. Keaton Graf (Johnson County CC) entered the game in the ninth to close things out, but was unable to do so, as the Mallards scored two runs and handed Graf his first blown save and loss of the season. The Rafters will now head to Madison to play two more games there at “The Duck Pond” Warner Park. First pitch for tomorrow’s game is set for 6:35 PM.
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The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016, 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 150 former 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.