WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The Rafters bats have struggled to start the season. However, in game three of 2022, the Rats were able to get timely hits in clutch situations that resulted in a 7-6 win over the Madison Mallards.
The game started off in about the worst way a baseball game can start. Rafters starter Xavier Rivas gave up four runs in the first inning. Mallards left fielder Payton Smith lined a one-out two-run single into center. Then just one batter later, catcher Josh Caron drove in Smith with a two-run bomb over the right-center field fence.
The Rafters got on the board in the bottom half of the first due to a pair of errors from the Mallards defense. Joe Osborn scored a one-out single, then got moved to second on an E5 put into play by Harry Owen. Mallard starter Mike Finan balked which advanced Osborn and Owen up to second and third with only one out. Rafters right fielder Marco Castillo popped out to first baseman, Sam Vomhof, in foul territory. Osborn tagged up from third scoring on a sacrifice fly, then an errant throw home by Vomhof led to Owen also scoring on the play as the Rafters made it a 4-2 ball game.
Rivas went 1-2-3 in the top of the third, then Rafters put two more on the board in the bottom of the second. Levi Jensen scored off of a fielder’s choice put into play by Ben Ross, then Joe Osborn recorded an RBI groundout that tied it up at 4-4. Both teams were then held scoreless in the third, as Rivas recorded another 1-2-3 top half. However, in the top of the fourth, there was a delay when Caron fouled a pitch off of home plate umpire Jack Berry. After a 15-minute delay and a new home plate umpire, Rivas hung another zero. He threw five innings giving up four runs and striking out eight Mallards.
Neither team would score again until the Rafters hung three on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Chris Conniff knocked in Jack Rogers to make it 5-4, then Levi Jensen scored on a passed ball to make it 6-4. For the final Rafters run of the night, Harry Owen knocked in Ben Ross on an RBI single to make it 7-4. While this was the game-winning run inevitably, the Mallards gave the Rafters a scare in the eighth. Josh Caron had an RBI single, then a fielder’s choice made it a 7-6 ball game. However, Rafters reliever Ben Adams escaped the inning with the lead intact. Preston Howey came into the game in the top of the ninth and closed it out for the Rafters. He received the save, Jacob James got the win, and the Mallards Seth Marano got the loss.
The Rafters will play the Mallards again tomorrow night at Witter Field beginning at 6:05 pm. You can listen to the game on WFHR 1320 AM/97.5 FM with Brett Loftis or watch the game on the Northwoods League Baseball Network with Carter Gledhill.
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’ 28th 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 280 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. 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.