Rafters Team Report Week One: February 20th – February 26th
The Rafters Team Report is a weekly update of your 2018 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters players in their spring seasons. Stay tuned each week for news and stats on players
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – It might not feel like spring, but the College Baseball Season is starting off their season. While early success never ensures a strong finish, the performances by members of the 2018 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters this week with their respective college teams are nonetheless impressive. Here is what the Rafters-to-be have been up to in Week One of our team report:
The Stevens Tech Ducks have been battling with Mother Nature to get onto the field (two of their first five games have been postponed due to weather) but it has not stopped the Rafters-to-be on the team from shining. Charlie Ruegger did not see live batters this week but started off his season well earlier in the month. He made his first start of the year on Feb. 18th against Kean University. Ruegger impressed in five innings of work allowing just one earned run and striking out seven. Chandler Brierly saw late-inning relief action on Wednesday facing Drew University. Brierly inherited a runner at second and first with two outs in the top of the ninth. The sophomore hurler rose to the occasion, getting his man on a swinging strikeout to end the inning.
Jonathan Hernandez appeared in relief in the bottom of the fifth for Chapman University on Saturday in game two of a doubleheader at Pomona-Pitzer. Hernandez did run into some trouble in the seventh, allowing a two-run homer to left field, but struck out the side to end his day.
Alex Jackson will have to wait until March 2nd to get his spring season started. Heartland Community College opens their season this coming Friday hosting Triton College in a doubleheader.
It was a rough week for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars dropping two of a three-game set to Louisiana Tech but took game three in strong fashion 5-2. Bret Fehr and Mason McReaken contributed in preventing the three-game sweep. Fehr walked twice and scored once. Fehr’s run was part of a four-run eighth inning for the Cougars that gave the team a 5-0 advantage when the smoke cleared. Mason McReaken shut the door on the Bulldogs, earning his first save of the season by striking out three in the final 1 and 2/3 innings.
Things were almost too easy this week for newly announced Rafter, catcher Ty Duvall, and the Vanderbilt Commodores who cruised to a 7-1 record; winning all five contests. Duvall scored twice and forced three walks during the week and along with great plate discipline, he has proven to be a reliable defensive backstop as well with a spotless fielding percentage. Vanderbilt is currently the #12 ranked team in NCAA Division I Baseball.
From one ranked DI Baseball team to another, the #10 ranked Texas A&M Aggies continued their promising season. The team has won their first seven contests by an average margin of seven runs and show no signs of slowing down. IF/OF Will Frizzell, who signed with the Rafters on Thursday, was fantastic, hitting .400, collecting six hits (two doubles), scoring seven times, and netting three RBIs this week.
Jarrod Watkins and the Indiana State Sycamores enjoyed a 3-0 week. Watkins was a big part of Indiana State’s success this week with a .500 batting average, six hits (two extra-base hits), five runs scored and two runs batted in. In Sunday’s win, Watkins forced extra innings against Belmont University with a game-tying, two-run triple in the ninth.
Steven Rivas saw limited action this week for Long Beach State. His lone appearance this week came as a pinch hitter in the ninth in Sunday’s game at TCU. Rivas came through with a two-out base hit to left but it was not enough as Long Beach State lost 5-2 to end a 1-3 week.
The 2018 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters will begin their season on the road against the Madison Mallards on Tuesday, May 29th. The Home Opener is slated for Friday, June 1st against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The entire 2018 Rafters schedule is available at www.raftersbaseball.com
The Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods 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 185 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). 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.