Rafters Drop Series Opener to Lakeshore on Saturday
Chinooks clinch playoff berth
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Lakeshore Chinooks (38-33, 20-16) defeated the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (51-20, 24-11) 8-3 in the opening game of the final series of the regular season at Witter Field on Saturday.
With the win, Lakeshore clinches a playoff spot with Sunday marking the final day of the season to decide the playoff pairings. Rylan Thomas hit a home run and drove in three runs to lead the offensive attack for the Chinooks, who finished the day with 16 hits.
Lakeshore jumped on the scoreboard in the first inning, recording three infield singles in the frame. Joe Duncan scored on a single by Daniel DeSimone to open the scoring on the evening.
Rapids answered back with a run in the home half of the first to tie the game at one. Charlie McConnell led off the inning with a single and came around to score on an RBI groundout from Ryan Stekl.
Lakeshore regained the lead in the second, taking advantage of a Rafter error to put a run across. Jack Dunn scored from second on an infield hit from Duncan after an overthrow sailed into foul territory allowing Dunn to score. The Chinooks added two more runs on a pair of RBI singles by Thomas an DeSimone to take a 4-1 lead.
The visiting Chinooks tacked on two runs in the fifth to extend the lead to five runs. Matthew Mika and Thomas each drove in a run to add to the lead.
Tim DalPorto and Thomas each blasted solo home runs to add insurance runs for Lakeshore. DalPorto’s first of the year came in the sixth inning, while Thomas’ 10th homer of the year came in the seventh.
Wisconsin Rapids scored a run in the sixth on a Dustin Woodcock sacrifice fly, his 58th RBI of the year. Bryson Stott drove home a run in the ninth to make it an 8-3 game, but Josh Serio closed the door for the Chinooks.
Austin Havekost (5-4) earns the win, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs. Tevita Gerber (0-2) entered in the second inning for the Rafters and is tagged with the loss, allowing three earned runs in one inning of work.
Wisconsin Rapids takes on Lakeshore for the final game of the regular season on Sunday from Witter Field, with first pitch slated for 4:05 p.m. It is Founding Partners Fan Appreciation Night at the ball park with great giveaways all night long for the Rafters last home game before the postseason. Pregame coverage starts at 3:50 p.m. on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network.
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, 180 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.comor download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.