Rafters Team Report Week Six: April 11th – April 17th
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. – Teams all across the country are making a push toward the end of conference season to have a chance to compete in postseason baseball. This week saw soon-to-be Rafters shine on the diamond.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s Nick Anderson continues his strong campaign in 2017 after adding three more hits last week against Lamar. The Islanders were not able to salvage a win in the series, but Anderson put on a two-for-four performance in game two with a run batted in to bring his average up to .282. The sophomore has been reliable all year for the Islanders, driving in 24 runs on the season. Teammate Nkosi Djehuti-Mes did not see action this past week, but has hit two home runs on the season. Texas A&M Corpus Christi takes on UTRGV in non-conference action before hosting Stephen F. Austin in Southland play.
Cameron Busby Belmont Abbey compiled his best start of the season two weeks ago, earning the victory in a 12-2 win vs. Limestone on April 7th. In an eight strong innings, the starter allowed two runs and struck out six, while walking zero. Belmont Abbey took the series against Limestone, dropping the second game 5-3, but winning the rubber match 17-5. Busby holds a 4-3 record in 70 and two-third innings this year. The right-hander has the most innings pitched on the team by nearly 20 innings. Busby did not make an appearance this past week due to Belmont Abbey playing just three games. Belmont Abbey is slated to take on Armstrong State this coming week.
Jake Repavich of Grand Canyon University poured in another seven inning pitching performance this past week, this time against Chicago State. The lefty struck out five, walked one, and allowed two earned runs in the game. On the season, the junior is 4-3 with a 4.19 ERA after his strong start. The strikeout to walk ratio for Repavich has been outstanding with 40 punch-outs and mere 10 walks. Grand Canyon took the final two games in the series against Chicago State. Next on the calendar for the Lopes is number UT Rio Grande Valley.
Gareth Stroh and Purdue took on Rutgers in a three game set last week. Stroh nearly led the Boilermakers to a game two victory, but Purdue fell up just short in a 7-6 loss. Stroh pitched five and one-third innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs. The soon-to-be-Rafter struck out five of the 26 batters he faced. In 41 innings, Stroh owns a 3-3 record in nine appearances, all starts. Purdue plays host to Ball State in midweek action before visiting in state rival Indiana State and hosting Illinois.
The bat of Rob Calabrese continues to scorch after the week the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames had last week. Four more wins for the Flames, this week coming against Northern Illinois and Northern Kentucky. It was a career game for Calabrese to get the week started at Northern Illinois. The catcher smacked five hits in six at-bats, blasting two home runs and driving in eight runs, all career bests in one game. For good measure, Calabrese added a double. In the series against Northern Kentucky, he finished with three hits in 10 at-bats, driving in two more runs to push his season total to 30. He now has six long balls this year and a .342 batting average. UIC takes on Viterbo and Youngstown State this week.
St. Johns River State is closing in on the end of its season with a record of 34-16. Holding a 34-16 record, 2-1 this past week the junior college school is 21-4 at home, in large part to the contributions of Rafter signee Nick Owens. This past week, Owens and St. Johns River State picked up two wins, one apiece against Lake-Sumter State and Daytona State. In a loss against Santa Fe, Owens had two hits in three at-bats. In the final game of the week against Daytona State Owens added a hit and an RBI. The speedster is now hitting .324 on the year, with two home runs and 47 runs scored. Owens has been held hitless in just 10 of the teams 47 games on the season, with 15 multi-hit efforts. Next up for St. Johns River State is Lake-Sumter State and Santa Fe.
Valparaiso started last weekend with a close 7-6 win against Oakland, with Scott Kapers finishing one-for-three and a walk. In a game two loss, Kapers drove in a run. To finish up the series, Valparaiso brought the bats, but they came up short in a 19-9 loss against Oakland. Kapers produced at the plate, driving in two runs. The utility man has split time this season behind the dish on defense and at second base, but he has taken the roll as the teams backstop in recent games. The Crusaders take on Northern Kentucky on the road before playing host to Wright State.
Cal State- Dominguez Hills swept Cal St. San Marcos in a four game series last week. Brandon Polizzi continued his dominant season, posting back-to-back two-for-five games in the middle games of the series. Polizzi had his 12 game hit streak snapped in the first game, but finished the four game set with five hits, driving in a run in each of the final three games to bring his season total to 16. Polizzi continues to swing it well this year with an average of .383 on the season. In 38 games this season, the speedy outfielder has at least one hit in all but four games. In 19 of those games, he has at least two hits, with three base knocks or more in eight contests. UC San Diego is next up on the schedule for the Toros.
Another week of a gutsy offense performance from Dustin Woodcock was not enough for SIU Edwardsville to pick up a win this past week. The outfielder started the first two games of the series with just one hit, but poured in on the rest of the week, finishing the series against Morehead State with four hits in six at-bats. With a double and two runs batted in, Woodcock raised his average to .359 on the year. SIU Edwardsville next slate of games includes a single game at Western Illinois before heading home to host UT Martin.
In a bounce back week for Canisius College Siena College, J.P. Stevenson got back to his winning ways. In a game two win, the starting pitcher went five and one-third innings strong allowing just two earned runs. The lefty did not walk anyone, but struck out two pitching to contact. Stevenson now owns an ERA of 3.32 with a 5-3 record in nine starts. In a team high 57 innings this year, Stevenson has struck out 40 while walking just 10. Ryan Stekl had his best game in the series finale with a base hit and two runs scored. Stekl is hitting at a clip of .296 this season with a team-high three home runs and 26 runs batted in. The junior has swung it well this season, leading the squad in doubles with seven.
Quinn DiPasquale of Stevens Tech started against Elmira on April 15th. He starter struck out seven and walked two. The righty fell short in a victory attempt as the Ducks dropped the game to Elmira. On the year, the hard throwing pitcher is 2-2 with an ERA of 4.20. He has 43 strikeouts and just 16 free passes this year in 40 and a third innings.
Aaron Herr of St. Johns is in his first year with the Red Storm. St. Johns is an impressive 26-5 on the season after going 4-0 this past week. Herr has appeared in eight games, all out of the bullpen. The junior is 1-0 in six and two-third innings pitched this year. Herr had his best appearance of the season, working a one-two-three ninth inning in a 9-3 St. John’s win against Albany. The 12th ranked Red Storm take on NYIT and Fairleigh Dickinson this week.
Matt Schmidt has been in action this season while Dillon Turney is taking a redshirt season at the University of Central Florida. Schmidt of Cypress College picked up a hit in a one game tilt against Cuesta in a 7-3 win. The freshman also scored a run. Cypress has now reeled off six straight wins. On the season, Schmidt is batting .274 with four home runs and 11 runs batted in, while appearing in 29 games. The freshman infielder has scored 10 times. Up next for Cypress College is Fullerton in a three game series before ending the regular season against Saddleback in late April.
The duo from UNLV in Bryson Stott and Tevita Gerber are deep in to the season for the Rebels. Stott has been an anchor in the starting lineup all season. The freshman is hitting .310 with 19 runs batted in this year, both good for fourth on the team. The infielder has scored 23 runs, which is third on the team. This past week Stott propelled the Rebels to a 7-3 win against San Diego State. Stott drove in two runs and had two hits. UNLV hosts Arizona State before traveling to New Mexico for a weekend series.
The stellar season continues for Andrew Bechtold of Chipola College. Bechtold has shown no signs of slowing down this season, posting two hits in all three games this past week in wins against Tallahassee Community College and Pensacola State College. The week was highlighted with two hits in the final two games apiece, while driving in three for the week. The LSU is hitting an impressive .459 average with 10 long balls on the year. With 52 runs batted in and 62 runs scored, Bechtold looks to lead his team against Northwest Florida State College and Gulf Coast State College to keep the eight game win streak and seven game hit streak alive.
Christian Jones of Campbell University picked up a base hit and a run scored in an 8-5 loss against Radford. Jones has hit four homes run of the season while driving in 20 runs. The junior has also been productive once he has reached base, scoring 19 times in the 2017 season. Campbell hits the road to play N.C. Central before hosting UNC Asheville for three games.
Southpaw Jack Eagan of Madison College came out of the bullpen for the first time this year against Kishwaukee College. He did nothing short of dominant, tossing two innings and striking out three batters. The lefty has put together a strong campaign in his freshman season. The strikeouts are starting to pile up with Eagan. In 31 innings this year the freshman has an ERA of 1.16 with 41 strikeouts and just 12 walks. Madison College faces Rock Valley College and Kankakee Community College this week. Alex Jackson of Heartland Community College made his last start on March 29th, throwing two innings and earing his first win out of the bullpen. The freshman has pitched 13 innings this year while owning a 4.85 ERA and 16 strikeouts.
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.