Rafters Greet Chinooks For Series Opener
Ligda takes the ball on Military Appreciation Night
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (35-18, 11-6) return to action on Thursday night to begin a two-game series with the Lakeshore Chinooks (23-31, 8-10) after a soggy Wednesday night forced a suspension of the Rafters’ meeting with the Battle Creek Bombers. The Chinooks travel to Wisconsin Rapids for their final visit of the season, as the Rafters look to build upon their 3-1 head-to-head mark against Lakeshore.
After Wednesday’s action was cut short in the bottom of the second inning, the Rafters will turn to right-hander Eric Ligda (Millersville). Ligda, a Pennsylvania native, enters play as a victim of hard luck, demonstrated by his 1-3 record despite owning a 2.13 ERA. In 33 2/3 innings of labor, the towering redshirt freshman has struck out 32 batters and issued just nine walks, while limiting the opposition to 24 base hits. After beginning the season as a reliever, Ligda now expects to make his fifth start of the year and eighth overall appearance. While Ligda has pitched well in a starting role, limiting opposing teams to two earned runs or fewer in each start, defensive lapses accounting for five unearned runs and minimal offensive run support have pushed Ligda to losses in three consecutive starts. As he takes the mound to face one of the weakest lineups in the Northwoods League—the Chinooks own both the lowest run total and team batting average in the league—Ligda will attempt to snap his losing streak and help the Rafters maintain their dominance at Witter Field.
Ligda’s counterpart on Thursday night will be Lakeshore’s right-handed ace Marshall Kasowski (Houston), who leads the Northwoods League in strikeouts (69) during his second campaign with the Chinooks. Boasting a 3-1 record and a 1.62 ERA, Kasowski was selected to represent the South Division in the Northwoods League All-Star Game, where he tossed a scoreless inning. Kanowski, a native of Texas, enters play riding a 19 2/3 inning scoreless streak dating all the way to June 30 and will attempt to finish the month of July without allowing a run. To this point in the month, Kasowski has worked 16 innings in which he has scattered 12 hits and six walks, while racking up 29 punch outs. Six times this season Kasowski has notched eight strikeouts or more in a single start, including three outings pushing double-digits. In his most recent outing on July 22, Kasowski dazzled the Wisconsin Woodchucks through six scoreless innings, allowing eight hits and one walk, while striking out a season-high 12 batters despite taking a no-decision in Lakeshore’s 1-0 victory.
The two-game series with the Chinooks represents the second half of the Rafters’ current four-game home stand. On the year, the Rafters boast an 18-7 record at home, having swept the Chinooks in two prior match ups at Witter Field.
First pitch at Witter Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM with gates opening to the general public at 6:05 PM. In honor of Military Appreciation Night, the Rafters will sport patriotic themed alternate jerseys for Thursday’s ballgame.
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.