With ‘Magic Number’ at one, Rafters meet Bombers for first time
Battle Creek, Mich. – While the fourth of July is bound to bring fireworks to C.O. Brown Stadium on Monday, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (23-11) look to supply some of their own as they seek to clinch the South Division first half title and the first playoff berth in franchise history. With the “Magic Number” still at one, the Rafters travel to Battle Creek for the opening of a two-game set with the Battle Creek Bombers (17-17).
Taking the ball for the Rafters will be left-hander Gareth Stroh (Coffeyville CC), who is scheduled to start for the sixth time in 2016. Stroh, who owns a 2-1 record and a 3.80 ERA, appears to be on the upswing for the Rafters after consecutive difficult outings on June 15 and June 22. Most recently, Stroh stiffened to pitch six innings of one-run action against the slugging Wisconsin Woodchucks. In the outing, Stroh scattered seven hits and two walks, while striking out five batters and earning the victory. In 26 innings on the mound this season, Stroh has allowed 29 hits, issued six walks, and struck out 24 batters.
Stroh will be countered by right-handed pitcher Tommy Parsons (Adrian College), who is also scheduled to start for the sixth time this season. Parsons owns a record of 3-1 and an ERA of 2.70 in 26 2/3 innings on the mound. In total, Parsons has struck out 30 hitters compared to just six walks. In his five starts, Parsons has not allowed more than three runs in any individual performance and has pitched six innings or more three times. Last time out, Parsons did not factor into the decision in a one-run loss to the Rockford Rivets after pitching five innings, allowing seven hits, issuing two walks, and striking out eight.
The meeting marks the first time this season that the Rafters and Bombers will square off. Any of three scenarios on Monday could allow the Rafters to clinch the South Division title. A Rafters win OR a Madison Mallards loss OR a Kalamazoo Growlers win would secure the first half title for the Rafters.
First pitch in Battle Creek is slated for 2:05 p.m. local time (1:05 p.m. CT) with coverage beginning on WFHR 1320 AM 15 minutes prior to the game’s beginning.
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, 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 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 portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Rafters as your favorite team.