Rafters Bring Back Two 2019 Northwoods League Standouts
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are excited to announce the return of 2019 NWL All-Star Jake Dunham and former Thunder Bay first baseman Jake Engel to the 2020 roster.
Dunham is returning to Wisconsin Rapids for the third summer. One of the best hitting catchers ever to grace Witter Field, Dunham led the Rafters to a Great Lakes division title in 2019. The Plainfield, Illinois native led both the Rafters and Northwoods League catchers with 14 doubles, eight home runs, and 52 RBIs. Mid-season in 2019, Dunham was named a Northwoods League All-Star. In 2018, Dunham was second on the team in batting, hitting .291 with 12 doubles and one home run.
Dunham is one of the best catchers in program history for the Northern Illinois Huskies. After a breakout summer, Dunham continued the onslaught of extra base hits in 2020. In 17 games, Dunham hit .305 with four doubles and four home runs. In his Huskies career, Dunham has hit .276 with 12 home runs and 105 RBI.
“I’m extremely excited to be heading back to Rapids once again, it feels like a second home at this point,” said Dunham. “I can’t thank Coach Noto and Andy Francis enough for the opportunity to be back and I can’t wait to see everyone, especially my host family, Debbie and Randy Franz, again.”
Tuscon, Arizona native Jake Engel is a highly accomplished first baseman from Dixie State University in Utah. Engel was a 2020 NCBWA Preseason All-America Selection after putting up fantastic numbers in the 2019 Northwoods League season for Thunder Bay.
Engel hit .306 with six home runs and nine doubles for the Border Cats and finished the season with a six-game hitting streak. In 2020, Engel one-upped himself, setting a program record with a hit in 21-straight games. The long hitting streak was still active when the season ended. Engel finished with a .458 average and six home runs. In 2019, Engel hit .385 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI, all top-ten in the RMAC.
“Jake is an unbelievable worker.” Says Dixie State Head Coach Chris Pfatenhauer, a two-time Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year. “I practically have to chase him out of the cages at times. Jake cares about his craft and works tirelessly to become a better defender, hitter, and athlete. We are thrilled to have him in our program and apart of yours for the summer.”
For more information on the different ticket packages and group outings visit Raftersbaseball.com or call the Rafthouse at 715-424-5400. Due to the current Safer at Home Order, the front office at Witter Field is closed to the public indefinitely.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. 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.