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Published On: July 22nd, 2016


Looking for first home win over Rivets, Rafters try to stop winning streak

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Before departing for the Canadian border, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (32-17, 8-5) will host the Rockford Rivets (27-22, 10-3) on Friday night looking to salvage a split. The Rafters, who succumbed to the Rivets in a wild game on Thursday, now hope to return to their winning ways and will attempt to snap Rockford’s active six-game winning streak.

Receiving the starting assignment for the Rafters will be left-handed thrower Gareth Stroh (Coffeyville CC), who enters the game with a balanced record of 2-2 and a 4.50 ERA. Stroh, a native of Kearney, Nebraska, has started seven times previously this summer, compiling 36 innings of work and notching 28 strikeouts compared to just eight walks. The results for Stroh have been mixed, however, as the southpaw has not earned a victory since June 28 and has surrendered eight runs (seven earned) in his last two outings. Most notably for Stroh, he has witnessed a sharp decline in his strikeout rate over in his last five starts, having struck out only 13 batters combined over his last five turns in the rotation spanning 22 innings. In his first two starts of the summer, the rising sophomore amassed 15 strikeouts  against just a single walk in 14 innings on the bump. Additionally, Stroh has watched as the opposition has gradually begun to hit the ball more consistently against him, totaling 23 hits against in his last 16 innings on the hill.

Stroh will be opposed by massive right-hander Tyler Thornton (Tennessee Wesleyan), who toes the rubber for the eighth time this summer and starts for the sixth time. In 33 1/3 innings entering Friday, Thornton has posted a 3.51 ERA and 33 strikeouts compared to 14 walks in the process of building a perfect 2-0 record. Thornton, who hails from Greenville, South Carolina, has enjoyed success of late for the Rivets, demonstrated by his 2.25 ERA in his last two starts. In his most recent showing, Thornton earned a victory in Rockford’s 7-3 win over the Madison Mallards on July 14, going seven innings and limiting the Mallards to three runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks, while punching out six. Additionally, Thornton has enjoyed a wealth of success against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in two prior meetings. Thornton has not allowed a run to the Rafters in 8 2/3 innings of work, scattering four hits, four walks and racking up eight strikeouts.

First pitch at Witter Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM with gates opening to the general public at 6:05 PM. The evening’s action will be followed by a fireworks show.


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 or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Rafters as your favorite team.