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Rafters Look To Clinch On Last Day Of First Half

Mattix

Rematch with Bombers offers chance to lock up title

Battle Creek, MI – The final day of the first half has arrived and the South Division race is still alive. Holding a one-game lead on the Madison Mallards, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (23-12) look to rebound against the Battle Creek Bombers (18-17) hoping to secure a berth in the Northwoods League playoffs. After back-to-back losses, the Rafters return to C.O. Brown Stadium to close out their four-game Michigan road trip. Following consecutive difficult games at the plate, the Rafters seek more production from their lineup in the series finale with the Bombers.

In the first half finale, the Rafters will hand the ball to Damien Richard (Xavier) as they attempt to claim the South Division crown. The towering right-hander is scheduled to start for the second time this season, making his sixth appearance overall. Richard’s record is unblemished at 1-0, while his ERA sits at 3.37 in 16 innings of work. As a hard-throwing option from the right side, Richard has amassed 20 strikeouts compared to just five walks in his five previous outings. Most recently, Richard made his starting debut against the Eau Claire Express, a North Division contender, and picked up the win throwing six innings of one-run work. In the outing, Richard matched the Rafters single-game high this season with eight strikeouts compared to just one walk.

Richard will be countered by right-hander Nigel Ward of Battle Creek, who is slated to make his first start of the season and sixth appearance overall. Ward, a product of Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, is 1-1 with a 6.13 ERA in 7 1/3 innings this summer, having surrendered 17 hits and four walks while striking out seven. Ward did not see time this past spring for the Mustangs, instead redshirting during his first year on campus.

Tuesday’s contest marks the final day of the first half, meaning that the South Division race will be officially over at day’s end. Should the Rafters win, the Madison Mallards lose, or the Kalamazoo Growlers win, the Rafters will clinch a playoff spot and a first round game at Witter Field.

First pitch at C.O. Brown Stadium is set for 7:05 p.m. local time and 6:05 p.m. Central with coverage beginning on WFHR 1320 AM 15 minutes prior.

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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, 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.