Rafters Team Report Week Three: March 21-27
The Rafters Team Report is a weekly update of your 2017 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters players in their spring seasons. Stay tuned each week for news and stats on players.
By: Mick Tidrow
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Non-conference play is over and the conference season is now in play all across college baseball. We take a look at week three of our Rafters Team Report to check out the seasons our current players are having.
A series against Northwestern State for Texas A&M Corpus Christi brought two victories for the Islanders. The Islanders lost the first game of the series, but took the last two games by scores of 9-1 and 14-9, respectively, to win the series. Nick Anderson logged two hits combined in the first two games of the series, and then broke out in game three with two hits, three runs batted in, and a home run. The long ball is his second on the season. The four hits in the series extended Anderson’s current hit streak to eight games while raising his batting average to .292. Nkosi Djehuti-Mes appeared in the final game for the Islanders against Northwestern State, working a walk in the game. Djehuti-Mes has started in 15 games this year for Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Islanders take on the University of Texas and UH-Victoria in single games before playing on the road at New Orleans.
On the road against Pfeiffer, Belmont Abbey’s Cameron Busby tossed six and two-third innings, striking out four batters. The starter has now started eight games, while appearing out of the bullpen in three others. Busby holds a 3-3 record in 56 innings. The right-hander has the most innings pitched on the team by nearly 20 innings. Belmont Abbey is slated to take on Wingate in a single game before hosting Mount Olive for a three game set. Belmont Abbey has a record of 20-13 this season.
A three game set against CSU Bakersfield for Grand Canyon University proved to a strong one, sweeping the series. Jake Repavich pitched five and a third innings in game two of the series, earning the 7-4 victory after Grand Canyon won the first game 3-2. In the start, Repavich gave up seven hits and two runs while striking out two batters. This season, Repavich has 23 strikeouts while walking just nine. The starter lowered his ERA to 4.14 on the season, with a record of 2-2 in six starts.
Xavier baseball won the series last week against Illinois State, taking two of three games. The Musketeers are now 13-11 on the season, and reliever Trey Schramm delivered one of his best outings of the season against Illinois State. Tossing two innings of five hit baseball, the righty struck out two while not giving up a walk. The Pingree Grove, Illinois native did not allow a run against Illinois State to lower his ERA to 4.02 on the season. Overall, the sophomore is 1-0 in 15 and two-third innings pitched this year. His strikeout to walk ration has been impressive also, sitting at 13-to-one. Freshman pitcher David Williams did not see action this past week, but pitched against Ohio State a week and a half ago, throwing an inning and striking out two batters.
Although Purdue’s effort came up short in game two against the Iowa Hawkeyes, Gareth Stroh returned to strong form in the start. The lefty last five and two-third innings, allowing just one run on eight hits. The starter only had one strikeout, but did not walk a batter and pitched to contact. In the series against Iowa, Purdue won the first game 2-0, but dropped the last two games 5-1 and 7-2, respectively. Stroh owns a 1-2 record in six starts. In 27 total innings on the season he has 18 strikeouts. Purdue takes on Kent State and Valparaiso in one game tilts before traveling to Ohio State for three games.
The bats came alive for the University of Illinois-Chicago in the three game series vs. Valparaiso. Now winners of nine of the last ten games, the Flames were led by catcher Rob Calabrese against Valpo. Calabrese started off the series with a two-for-five performance, blasting a solo home run in the game, his third on the season. In the second game, the only loss for the Flames in the past ten games, the catcher doubled. To cap off the series and win the set, Calabrese went two-for-two with two runs batted in and drawing a pair of walks. He is now hitting .265 on the season with a current hit streak of five games. He has at least one hit in nine of the last ten games.
With 39 games already logged in the 2017 season, St. Johns River State boasts a record of 27-12 and 11-3 in NJCAA play. The team also owns a six game winning streak, going 4-0 last week. The junior college school is 16-3 at home, in large part to the contributions of Rafter signee Nick Owens. During the four wins last week, the shortstop recorded five hits in with at least one in each game. The speedster is now hitting .336 on the year, with two home runs and 42 runs scored. Owens has been held hitless in just nine of the teams 39 games on the season, with 14 multi-hit efforts. St. Johns River State is slated to take on Florida State Jacksonville for three games.
Out west in Washington, Seattle University has battled in 23 games this year. Throughout the course of the season, infielder Sean Sutton has 17 hits and six runs batted in. Seattle played four games this past week, winning one game against Chicago State, 7-2. Sutton entered the final game of the series as a pinch hitter, going one-for-two. Seattle takes on British Columbia in a one game tilt, and then welcomes New Mexico State in conference play.
Valparaiso starting catcher Scott Kapers opened the series against UIC with three hits, the most he has had in a game this season. Valparaiso came up short in game one, dropping a 10-7 loss to the Flames. In the series finale, Valparaiso could not muster a win, losing 8-1, but Kapers finished one-for-three, scoring the teams only run of the day. Kapers has the third-most RBI on the team with nine. The catcher has been a solid anchor for the pitching staff in 25 spring games this year as the team holds an ERA of 4.02 and 108 strikeouts compared to 74 walks. The Crusaders are in the midst 15 straight games on the road, with Purdue and Wichita State up next.
Cal State- Dominguez Hills finished its three game set against number 11th ranked Chico State with three loses after a hard fought game three, just coming up short in a 5-3 loss. One of the biggest positives form the series was the performance of returning Rafter Brandon Polizzi. The outfielder had at least two hit in all three games against the high ranked opponent. Game three was the strongest performance for Polizzi, going three-for-four and a walk to. His batting average is now .405 on the year. In 28 games this season, the speedy outfielder has at least one hit in all but three games. In 14 of those games, he has at least two hits, with three base knocks or more in seven contests. More chances upcoming for Polizzi this week with the Toros taking on Cal State East Bay in a three game series.
SIU Edwardsville put up a staggering 25 total runs on the board in a three game series against Southeast Missouri. After dropping the opener 8-3, the bats broke out in strong fashion in a 15-10 win in game two, and a 7-5 victory in the rubber match but it was not enough to pick up a win. Dustin Woodcock helped fuel the fire, finishing the series four-for-ten with two runs batted in. The outfielders .293 batting average is second best on the roster. The junior owns an on-base percentage of .408 this year. SIU Edwardsville hits the road to take on Evansville in a one game matchup. The team then makes the trip to Nashville to battle against Belmont in three games.
Canisius College posted two wins in a four game series against Kennesaw State on the road last week. After a loss in game one, the Griffins exploded for 15 runs in game two. Canisius then dropped game three 5-2, and took the final game of the series in an 8-5 win. J.P. Stevenson started game three for the Griffins. In the start, the lefty logged six and two-third innings on the hill with three earned runs allowed on just four hits. Effective near the zone, Stevenson struck out four batters of the 28 he faced. On the season, the starter has the second best ERA on the team standing at 2.21, best among regular starters. With a team best 4-2 record in 41 innings, the junior has struck out 29 and issued a meager eight walks in a strong campaign. Stevenson’s teammate and soon-to-be Rafter Ryan Stekl went one-for-five and a run batted in during the series finale against Kennesaw State. Stekl on the season holds a .294 batting average to go along with an on-base percentage of .404. His 14 runs batted in are second on the roster. The Griffins next slate of games comes on the road against Monmouth at home, the first home games of the season.
Newly named Rafters Quinn DiPasquale and Aaron Herr have also been in action this season. Pasquale of Stevens Tech has started in five games this year while appearing out of the bullpen in one other game. On the year, the hard throwing pitcher is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.96. He has 29 strikeouts and 10 walks this year. DiPasquale has his best outing of the season in his most recent start on March 24th against Houghton. In six innings, the starter allowed one run on two hits, striking out nine. Herr of St. Johns is in his first year with the Red Storm. St. Johns is 18-2 on the season, riding a six game win streak. Herr has appeared in four games, all out of the bullpen. The junior is 1-0 in three and two-third innings pitched this year.
The season and home opener for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters is May 30th at 7:05 against the Kenosha Kingfish. Solarus Founders Club, bleacher 9-Game ticket packages, and group outing packages are on sale now. Call 715-424-5400 or stop by the Rafters Front Office Monday-Friday from 9-5 to purchase a ticket package or book a group outing.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). 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 or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.