Rafters Team Report Week Nine: May 2nd – May 8th
Rafters Team Report Week Nine: May 2nd – May 8th
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. – Dominance and playoffs are the words associated with this week across collegiate baseball. The season has turned the corner to May, and teams are battling it out at the end of the year to solidify their chances to make a deep postseason run.
Following up his 11-inning outing was no small task for Cameron Busby of Belmont Abbey, but he delivered and made it look easy once again. The starter threw a complete game and allowed just four hits in a seven-inning, non-conference double-header against Lander. In his latest gem, Busby struck out four while not issuing a walk. Busby has been a key cog in the rotation for the Crusaders, helping Belmont Abbey to a 35-17 record. The reigning NCBWA Southeast Region Player of the Week has helped position his team for a potential bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional on May 18th. Busby now owns a 7-4 record in 102 innings this year with 63 strikeouts. The right-hander has the most innings pitched on the team by nearly 30 innings.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi finished the week strong with a series win against McNeese State, taking the final two games. In the game two victory, Nick Anderson notched a base hit and scored two runs to help lead the Islanders to a 10-4 win. Anderson continues to have a solid spring season, batting .260 with 27 runs batted in and seven doubles. The sophomore has been reliable all year for the Islanders, scoring 27 runs on the season. Teammate Nkosi Djehuti-Mes, who is set to join the Rafters this summer, has hit two home runs on the season. Texas A&M Corpus Christi takes on UTRGV on the road in midweek action before traveling to McNeese State for a three game Southland matchup.
Seattle University was the latest team to witness the dominant pitching of Jake Repavich of Grand Canyon this week. The lefty starter tossed seven shutout innings of five hit baseball. The junior struck out seven, showing excellent command with one walk. The returning Rafter Repavich is 6-3 with a season-low 3.26 ERA after his strong start. The strikeout to walk ratio for Repavich has been outstanding with 54 punch-outs and mere 14 walks. After taking two of three from Seattle, Grand Canyon stands at 24-22 on the year. Eight games on the schedule remain for Grand Canyon with San Jose and Utah Valley next up this week.
It took 12 innings for Purdue to outlast Northwestern in a start made by Gareth Stroh, but the Boilermakers walked away with a 2-1 victory in game two of the series. Stroh used his craft to limit Northwestern to one run in seven and a third innings on the day. The starter struck out five batters and gave up six hits. Purdue is now 26-20 and 10-7 in the Big Ten. Stroh is coming into his own on the mound this year, logging 70 innings while holding a 4-3 record. The soon-to-be Rafter lowered his ERA to 4.11 after another dominant start on the mound. Purdue plays a pair of in-state rivals this week, visiting Valparaiso and hosting Butler before taking on Michigan in a three game series.
In the last 29 games, it may be hard pressed to find a catcher swinging the bat better than University of Chicago-Illinoi’s Rob Calabrese. During his torrid pace, Calabrese has at least one hit in 27 of those games, with at least two hits in 17 of them. The incredible season continued this past week for the catcher against Oakland and Milwaukee. To start off the week vs. Oakland, the catcher bashed three hits and drove in two runs, scoring twice and adding a double in a 13-2 win. Calabrese added a hit and a run batted in during game two in a 7-3 loss. The hitting did not slow down against Milwaukee, posting back-to-back two-for-four games, smacking two doubles in the first game. He added another double and a RBI in the second game in the 10-2 victory. Calabrese has six long balls, 20 doubles, and 43 runs batted in this year while raising his average to a scorching .373 after this week. UIC welcomes Wright State and heads to Valparaiso in this week’s slate of games.
St. Johns River State completed its regular season on April 19th with a 10-6 victory against Florida State Jacksonville. Nick Owens helped lead his squad to a 36-16 mark including a record of 22-4 at home. This past week marked postseason play, starting off against Chipola. St. Johns River State came up short against Chipola, dropping the first game of the postseason 5-2. Pressed into the elimination bracket, the offense broke out and led the way to a 13-11 win against Tallahassee. Owens knocked to hits, scored twice, and drove in a run to keep the playoff hopes alive. The next day, St Johns River State went up against Northwest Florida State. A tight battle went to the opposition, with the season coming to a close for St. Johns Rivers State in a 4-3 heartbreaker. Owens was an instrumental piece in the success of the team this year, hitting .328 on the year, with two home runs and 55 runs scored. Owens was held hitless in just 10 of the teams 55 games on the season, with 18 multi-hit efforts.
Valparaiso started last week with a one run loss to Youngstown State, 4-3. Scott Kapers opened up the week with a base hit and run scored. Valparaiso bounced back in the second game of the series, winning 6-2. Kapers drew two walks, and came around to score both times. After drawing the series split, the Crusaders took on Oakland. The offense broke out in the first game in a dominating 13-3 win. Kapers played an important role in the win, finishing with two hits, two runs batted in, and two runs scored. However, the Crusaders dropped game two to wrap up the week. Kapers has driven in 24 runs this year while scoring 20 more. The Crusaders host Purdue before traveling to Milwaukee this week.
Cal State- Dominguez Hills season came to an end after its series against Sonoma State this past week. One of the biggest bright spots throughout the course of the season was Brandon Polizzi. The soon-to-be Rafter impressed the entire season. In his last week of the season, he posted a four-for-six game in the second game of the series against Sonoma State. With a double and a triple, Polizzi scored three times. In the season finale, the outfielder notched three more hits, driving in a run to up his season total to 21. Polizzi finishes the season with a batting average of .381. In 49 games this season, the speedster had at least one hit in all but six games. In 25 of those games, he has at least two hits, with three base knocks or more in 11 contests.
In a week that saw the SIU Edwardsville Cougars sweep Austin Peay on the road, it was a series finale game to remember for Dustin Woodcock. After a hit in game two, Woodcock broke out in game three. Seeing five at-bats, he blasted two home runs and drove in six runs. He added two more hits on top of the two homers. Woodcock raised his batting average up to .335 after the career day. The outfielder has been stellar throughout the course of the season, blasting five homers and driving in 37 runs. The Rafters announced the signing of Woodcock’s teammate, pitcher Mason McReaken last week. The righty tossed two innings in the 7-4 win vs. Austin Peay in the series opener. Appearing out of the bullpen this year, McReaken holds an ERA of 3.11. The pitcher has a 2-3 record with 36 strikeouts in 37 innings. McReaken leads the team with six saves. SIU Edwardsville travels to Saint Louis before heading home to take on Eastern Illinois in a three game set.
It was a momentum-building week for Canisius College after sweeping Iona in a three games series. The week started with J.P. Stevenson on the hill for the Griffins. The game ended up being close at the end, but Canisius walked away with a 5-4 win behind the solid outing of Stevenson. The lefty went seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. The starter worked to contact, but struck out four on the afternoon. The junior owns a 3.52 ERA on the season with a team-high 76 and two-third innings pitched. With a strikeout to walk ratio of 54 to 16, Stevenson has pitched one complete game in 11 starts on his way to an 8-3 record. His teammate Ryan Stekl started off the series with a base hit and a run scored. Stekl has an average of .322 this year. The junior has swung it well this season, leading the squad in runs batted in (38), home runs (4), and is third on the team in batting average. Canisius takes on Manhattan to start a seven game home stand to end the regular season. The Griffins are 29-18 this year with a 12-6 mark in MAAC play.
Quinn DiPasquale of Stevens Tech nearly pitching his way to a complete game this past week, hurling eight and a third innings of two run baseball. The start showed the power arm of DiPasquale as the righty struck out seven batters. This is the first game the starter has gone more than six innings, but it proved to be vital in the win against Keystone. DiPasquale lowered his ERA on the season to 3.86 after his latest performance. On the year, the hard throwing pitcher is 3-3 with 10 starts and three appearances out of the bullpen. He has 55 strikeouts and just 22 free passes this year in 56 innings.
St. Johns has been one of the top teams in the country this year with a 33-8 record. Aaron Herr, who is in his first season with the Red Storm, tossed an inning and a third against Georgetown in a 13-5 loss. Herr held the Hoyas scoreless in his relief appearance, facing six batters total. Herr has appeared in 12 games, all out of the bullpen. The junior is 2-0 after a short appearance on the hill this past week against Seton Hall in a 7-0 loss. Herr tossed a third of an inning to push his season inning count to 10 and two-thirds. Herr has struck out 12 batters on the year. The 13th ranked Red Storm take on Xavier at home before a one game battle against LIU Brooklyn.
Andrew Bechtold of Chipola College is on pace to hit nearly .450 on the season after the start of the postseason for Chipola College. Bechtold has shown no signs of slowing down this season, leading his team to two wins in the playoffs. The week started off with a 5-2 win against St. Johns River State. Bechtold blasted a three-run shot to be the difference maker in the game. In the second game of the week, it was smooth sailing for Chipola, winning handily against Miami Dade College 10-0. Bechtold drove in two more runs with a base knock while drawing a pair of walks. The LSU commit is hitting an impressive .446 average with 11 long balls on the year. With 58 runs batted in and 70 runs scored, Bechtold looks to lead his team deep into the postseason against Pam Beach State College. Chipola College has won its last 13 games when Bechtold is in the starting lineup.
Southpaw Jack Eagan took his first loss of the season with Madison College against South Suburban College. Eagan tossed well, lasting five and a third innings with 10 strikeouts. However, five runs came in to score, but only two of those were earned runs. The starter has put together a strong campaign in his freshman season. In 48 innings this year, the freshman has an ERA of 1.31 with 67 strikeouts and just 18 walks after his last start. Madison College faces McHenry County College and South Suburban College this coming week. After winning its last two games against Sauk Valley Community College, Madison awaits to see whom they face in the NJCAA Region IV sectional tournament starting on May 13th.
Alex Jackson of Heartland Community College has made 10 appearances on the mound in his freshman season. The lefty entered out of the bullpen this past week against Illinois Wesleyan in a 22-4 win, pitching an inning with a strikeout. Holding a record of 1-3, Jackson has tossed 23 and two-third innings while striking out 20 batters. The lefty looks to finish his first season strong as Heartland CC has six games left on the schedule with Kirkwood and Lincoln coming up next
Matt Schmidt of Cypress College appeared as a pinch hitter in a 6-1 win vs. Santa Barbara, adding a base hit and driving in a run. Christian Jones of Campbell University finished the week strong with a two-for-three performance at Liberty in the series finale. Seattle’s Sean Sutton blasted a solo homer in a 9-6 loss against Grand Canyon last week. Keaton Graf of New Mexico State made an appearance on the mound out of the bullpen against Utah Valley, throwing an inning while not allowing a run. The righty has not allowed a run in seven of his 11 appearances thus far on the 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.