Rafters Erase Late Deficit to Advance to Second Round in Thrilling Win
Back-to-back home runs in eighth guide Wisconsin Rapids over Lakeshore in round one
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – A playoff atmosphere from Witter Field saw the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters come from behind to defeat the Lakeshore Chinooks 6-4 on Monday. Ryan Stekl’s two-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning put the Rafters ahead while Dustin Woodcock answered with a solo shot of his own to electrify the fans in Cranberry.
Wisconsin Rapids advances to the South Division Championship Game at home tomorrow, squaring off against the Battle Creek Bombers. The Bombers defeated the Rockford Rivets 2-0.
Rain delayed the start of the game by an hour, and Lakeshore opened the game with a run in the top of the first. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and Rylan Thomas delivered an RBI fielder’s choice to score Jack Dunn. Isaiah Carranza was able to work out of the early jam by striking out the next two batters.
Jake Guenther singled to center to score Dustin Woodcock for the Rafters and tie the game in the second. Woodcock led off the inning with a double and scored to even the game at one.
A Brian Sobieski RBI double and a sacrifice fly gave the Chinooks the lead in the fourth inning. Mitch Mallek led off the inning with a single and came in to score from first on Sobieski’s double to left field.
Wisconsin Rapids answered with two runs in the home half of the fourth knot up the game at three. Bryson Stott walked and came around to score on a Dustin Woodcock RBI single to right field. A wild pitch allowed Stekl to scamper home from third base to tie the game at three.
Lakeshore took a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning on a two-out RBI double from Sobieski. Thomas scored on the play, but the inning ended at home plate with a perfect relay to cut down Mallek trying to score from first.
The eighth inning proved to be the difference in an exciting, playoff atmosphere from Witter. Nick Anderson walked to lead off the inning and Stott bunted Anderson to second. With one out, Stekl blasted a towering two-run shot to left field to give the Rafters their first lead of the game, 5-4. Woodcock followed up with a home run of his own, a solo bomb off the scoreboard in right to add an insurance run.
The Rafters handed the ball over to Layne Henderson in the ninth, and the right handed power pitcher did what he has all season and closed the door, striking out the side to advance to the South Division Championship Game. Mason McReaken (1-0) earned the win, tossing 3 2/3 innings and allowing one run. Joe Heineman (0-1) was tagged with the loss.
Wisconsin Rapids hosts the Battle Creek Bombers on Tuesday from Witter Field, a single elimination game with the winner advancing to the Summer Collegiate World Series. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and tickets are available at the Rafters Ticket Office located inside the main gate. Pregame coverage starts at 6:50 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 (LAD) and Lucas Duda (TB). 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.