A well-fought game got away from Wisconsin Rapids in the eighth as Madison came back to win.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (13-14) led 3-0 after seven innings. However, a four-run eighth by the Madison Mallards (22-6) put Madison in front and they held on as the Rafters fell 4-3. The Rafters put the power on the display as Steven Rivas (Long Beach State) hit two home runs for the second time in 2018. Rivas’ first was a solo shot to right in the second. The Rancho Cucamonga, CA native smashed again in the sixth. This time it was a two-run shot to center to score himself and Mike Rojas (Auburn).
In the eighth, the Mallards sent nine men to the plate and scored four runs on four hits and two Rafters errors. Jake Randa collected his Northwoods League leading 28th RBI with a base hit to right field. The Rafters bullpen battled back in the ninth as Hunter Waldis (Seton Hall) pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings to give the Rafters a chance down by one in the bottom of the ninth.
The cranberry and gold got the winning run at the plate after Jake Dunham (Northern Illinois) collected a pinch-hit single with one out. Bret Fehr (SIU Edwardsville) took over at first as a pinch runner. Trace Norkus, however, retired the next two Rafters batters for his eighth save.
Mason McReaken (1-1, 0.00 ERA) suffered his first loss of the season. Brian Martinez (3-1, 4.91 ERA) earned his third win after pitching a scoreless bottom of the seventh preceding the four-run top of the eighth for Madison. Trace Norkus (2-0, 0.00 ERA) earned his eighth save in as many chances.
The Rafters have a quick turnaround. Wisconsin Rapids will host the Kalamazoo Growlers for the first time this season tomorrow, playing two nine inning games in a day-night doubleheader. First pitch for game one is at 12:05 pm CT and game two will start at 7:05 pm CT.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in 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, 190 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.