WAUSAU, Wis. – Nine innings was not long enough to decide who won tonight’s contest between the Wausau Woodchucks and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. In fact, regulation did not even produce a run, but the Rafters were still able to come out on top in 11 innings, 3-1.
Pitching was strong all night long. Rafters starter, Xavier Rivas, threw three scoreless to start the ball game for the Rafters. He only gave up one hit along the way while striking out six Woodchucks and allowing no walks. Woodchucks starter, Dante Chirico, was just as good as he threw four innings to start the game allowing only two Rafter hits and striking out five.
The Rafters had a major opportunity to put the first run of the game across in the top of the fifth, but Wausau’s brand-new reliever, Mike Reagan, shut the door and left the bases stranded for the Rafters. Logan Schulfer pitched three scoreless after the Rafters took out Rivas. Schulfer only allowed one hit while striking out four and walking two.
Jacob James came in and threw the seventh and eighth for the Rafters while striking out three and allowing only one hit to the Woodchucks. Mike Reagan’s night for the Woodchucks came to an end in the top of the eighth after he went 3.2 innings while allowing no hits, no runs, walked four, and struck out two. David Barrett finished the eighth with one pitch after a Garrett Broussard pop out.
Rafters were retired 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. The Woodchucks then in the bottom of the ninth had a golden opportunity to win the ballgame, as they had first and third with no outs against Rafters reliever, Preston Howey. Woodchucks catcher, Collin Reuter, struck out for the first out, then Brent Widder was intentionally walked. Designated hitter, Lenny Ashby, came up and grounded out into a 6-4-3 double play.
Rafters center fielder Tommy Barth hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th to give the Rafters their first lead of the night. However, Preston Howey had more danger in the bottom of the 10th, as the Woodchucks had runners on second and third with two outs and Amani Larry at the plate. Larry singled into right field, as the runner from third easily scored. However, the runner on second for the Woodchucks, Dean Bittner, also tried to come home on the play as well, but Rafters right fielder Seth Stroh saved the game with a big-time throw to gun down Bittner at the plate. Brendan Bobo led off the top of the 11th with an RBI double, as Jacob Igawa came home to score. Stroh came up clutch again, as he hit a ball into left that led to an E7 that scored Bobo to make the score 3-1. Ben Adams came in the ballgame in the bottom of the 11th, as he recorded the save while stranding two Woodchucks on second and third. Howey recorded the win, as the Rafters moved to 7-1.
The Rafters are off tomorrow but will be back in action on Wednesday against the Woodchucks at home at 6:05 pm. Tune in on WFHR 1320 AM/97.5 FM to listen to the game with Brett Loftis or 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.