Rafters Host Chinooks to Open 2017 Northwoods League Playoffs
Wisconsin Rapids and Lakeshore square off in postseason for second straight year
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – For the second consecutive season, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (52-20, 25-11) host the opening round of the playoffs on Monday at Witter Field against the Lakeshore Chinooks (38-34, 20-17).
Following a record breaking season finale win on Sunday against the Chinooks, the Rafters ended the 2017 regular season with the most wins in Northwoods League history. Bryson Stott notched three hits to reach 100 on the season, and Dustin Woodcock drove home three runs to move his season total to 61, breaking the single season RBI mark in franchise history in the 9-3 win. The Rafters clinched a win in the season series, 5-3 heading into the playoffs against Lakeshore.
Seeking its second straight win in as many years to open the playoffs against the Chinooks, the Rafters send right-hander Isaiah Carranza (Oregon) to the mound. Carranza is set to start his first game against the Chinooks this season while holding a 6-0 record and 2.73 ERA from the regular season. The sophomore has six starts this season, tossing six or more in five of them including two of seven innings. The Postseason All-Star has 46 innings logged on the year with 44 strikeouts, walking just 11 batters.
In an attempt to counter Carranza, the Chinooks offense is led by Matthew Mika (Central Florida) and Daniel DeSimone (Oklahoma State). Mika leads the team with a .335 average and 27 stolen bases, while DeSimone holds a .309 average and seven home runs.
In the final series before the playoffs against the Rafters, DeSimone recorded six hits in eight at-bats, including a home run and five RBI’s. The offense looks to back Chinooks starter Aaron Winkler (Richmond).
Winkler (2-1), a freshman, has three starts and 20 innings on the season. With 14 strikeouts and just four walks this year, Winkler has established himself as one of the strong arms of the Lakeshore staff. The righty owns a 4.35 ERA and comes off a start vs. the Wisconsin Woodchuck’s where he threw 6 2/3 innings. He is tasked with slowing down a Rafters offense hitting a league-high .283 as a team.
Leading the Rafters in batting average this season is Ryan Stekl (Canisius) with a .364 mark. Stekl has been the cleanup hitter for the majority of the season, and has the second most runs batted in on the team with 52. Stott, the UNLV freshman, has broken the franchise hits, runs, games played, and at-bats records this season while hitting .350.
The winner of Monday’s game plays the winner of Battle Creek and Rockford on Tuesday, with the location to be determined based on Monday’s results.
First pitch on Monday at Witter Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on AM 1320 WFHR and WFHR.com, the Rafters Radio Network. Gates open to the general public at 6:05 p.m.
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.