Rafters Host Bombers To Open Stand
Four straight at Witter Field begin on Tuesday
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Tuesday night marks the return to action of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (34-18, 10-6), who own the best record in the Northwoods League South Division after Monday’s day off. In the opening chapter of a four-game home stand, the Rafters will greet the Battle Creek Bombers (26-26, 8-8) for their fifth meeting of the season as the Bombers look to remain in the playoff hunt.
After splitting two games in Thunder Bay, the Rafters gladly resume play within the comfort of Witter Field, where they have dominated this season, having won 12 of their last 14 games at home. Taking the ball for the Rafters will be right-hander Nick Belzer (Des Moines Area CC), who is in line to make his eighth appearance and just his second start. Originally from Ankeny, Iowa, Belzer enters play with no record and an ERA of 3.24 in 16 2/3 innings of work. Belzer, who has struck out 18 batters while issuing just five walks, looks to continue the form he demonstrated in his most recent outing, a perfect relief appearance against the Rockford Rivets in which he struck out six of the eight batters he faced. In Belzer’s only start of the season, he lasted four innings and did not receive a decision against the Wisconsin Woodchucks in a 14-7 Rafters win on the final day before the All-Star Break. In his four innings, Belzer allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits and two walks, while punching out five hitters.
Belzer’s counterpart on Tuesday night will come in the form of towering right-hander Austin Nazabal of Barstow Community College. Hailing from Apple Valley, California, Nazabal stands at six feet, nine inches and weighs 270 pounds. Nazabal, a sophomore, is expected to make his season debut for the Bombers, hoping to aid the ball club in securing the shaky back end of their rotation. In 13 appearances (six starts) this spring for Barstow Community College, Nazabal was labeled with a 1-4 record and a 10.14 ERA in 32 2/3 innings of labor. Taking to the road, Battle Creek, who has lost six of their last seven road games, faces a tall task as they attempt to extend their winning streak to four games.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM with gates opening to the general public 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, 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.