Streaking Rivets visit Witter Field with Rafters pushing for first place
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- Entering the afternoon riding best eleven-game start in franchise history, their hot start hit a speed bump, as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (7-5) fell to the Rockford Rivets (7-6) in a 3-1 loss. Between excellent Rivet pitching and 10 runners left on base the Rafters were unable to overcome the Rivets in the first ever meeting between the ball clubs.
Making his first start for Rafters, left-hander Cal Giese (St. Cloud State) endured a frustrating first inning that included a pair of infield singles and an error to allow the Rivets a 1-0 lead. With a chance to respond in the bottom half of the first frame, back-to-back pop outs from Logan Mattix and Ben Fisher stranded the bases loaded and kept the score at 1-0 through on inning.
A third inning two-run home run by Rivet second baseman David Cronin, his first of the season, extended the visitors’ lead to 3-0. Despite allowing only three runs, Giese would be saddled with a tough-luck loss, dropping his record to 1-2. In his first start of the year, the southpaw went four innings, while allowing two earned runs on five hits and notching five strikeouts.
Rivet starter Drake Robison exited after five and one-third innings, having struck out five and allowed allowed only a lone run on six hits. With the count full and just one out in the bottom of the sixth, Logan Mattix took off on the pitch and scored from first on Ben Fisher’s RBI double. The first baseman’s double proved to be the blow that ended Robison’s evening and provided the only Rafter run of the game.
In relief of Giese, the Rafter bullpen was nearly perfect. Blair Lasko (Buffalo) pitched the fifth inning and recorded two strikeouts without allowing a baserunner. Eric Ligda (Millersville) made his Rafter debut and followed Lakso’s lead by throwing an impressive four innings of one-hit work, while striking out four. Until an Alex Maloney infield single in the top of the ninth, Lakso and Ligda had combined to retire 14 consecutive Rivet hitters.
Unfortunately for the Rafters, Rockford’s bullpen stifled their lineup over their three and two-thirds innings as well. Tyler Thornton and Zach Olszewski combined to shut down the Rafter attack and leave Patrick Cromwell on second base to end the game.
The loss dropped the Rafters to 7-5 and pushed their deficit in the standings to 1.5 games entering Monday’s re-match with the expansion franchise from Illinois. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM with gates opening at 6:05 PM.
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.