World Series Bid on the Line for Rafters and Bombers
Winner of today advances to Northwoods Summer Collegiate World Series
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – With a chance to reach the Northwoods League Collegiate World Series for the second year in a row, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (1-0) host the Battle Creek Bombers (1-0) on Tuesday at Witter Field.
Following a thrilling 6-4 victory at Witter Field on Monday against the Lakeshore Chinooks in the first round of the postseason, the Rafters take on the Bombers for the second consecutive season in the South Division Championship.
On Monday, the Rafters trailed 4-3 entering the eighth. Nick Anderson (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) drew a walk to start the inning, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Bryson Stott (UNLV). Ryan Stekl (Canisius) followed Stott with the biggest moment of the game. The junior drilled a two-run homer to give the Rafters their first lead of the game. Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) dealt a solo home run after Stekl to give the Rafters a 6-4 advantage. Layne Henderson (Azusa Pacific) struck out all three batters in the top of the ninth to earn the save.
Taking the mound for the Rafters on Tuesday is All-Star Jack Eagan (7-0). Searching to build upon a stellar 2017, the left-hander faces the Bombers for the second time this season. On June 24th, Eagan tossed six innings of one-run baseball on the way to an 8-1 victory in Battle Creek. The Madison College freshman struck out seven and allowed just four hits. On the season, Eagan has the second most strikeouts in the league, standing with 66 in 60 innings.
The Wautoma, Wisconsin native is tagged with facing a Battle Creek lineup led by the trio of Alex Howard (Arkansas State), Nick Walker (Austin Peay), and Tom Stoffl (Virginia Tech). All three are batting above .300 and each has at least 40 runs batted in. Howard and Stoffl have nine home runs each while Stoffl owns a team-high 55 RBI’s.
Set to counter Eagan for the Bombers is right-hander Andrew Click (4-4). The junior from Davenport University holds a 4.00 ERA with 48 strikeouts this season. In 51 2/3 innings this year, Click has 22 walks and 59 hits allowed. His last start was his best of the season, tossing a complete game in Lakeshore on August 10th. The righty did not give up an earned run while striking out eight batters.
Facing the top hitting team in the league, Click goes against a Rafters lineup batting .283 as a unit led by Stekl’s .364 average. Four players finished the regular season with a .300 or better average, while five had seven or more home runs.
The winner of Tuesday’s game seals a bid to the World Series starting Wednesday to face the winner of North Division Championship game. The Mankato MoonDogs and St. Cloud Rox square off at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday.
First pitch on Tuesday 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 (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.