Rafters Streak Comes to an End at 14, but New Winning Streak Begins at 1
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters have officially sustained their second loss of the season, after winning 14 straight games since their last. They split a doubleheader with the Wausau Woodchucks in Wisconsin Rapids today. The Woodchucks took game one by a score of 6-5, and the Rafters took game two convincingly, 6-1.
Game one started out as what many fans would consider “boring.” However, for all those pitching enthusiasts out there, they loved the first four innings, as Rafters starter Grant Manning and Woodchucks starter Ernesto Lugo-Conchola combined for four scoreless frames, while the Rafters got the lone hit. The game was turned on its head in the fifth, as the Woodchucks took a 1-0 lead via an RBI bunt single from Cal Hejza. The Rafters would come storming back, as Ben Ross scored the first two runs of the game for Wisconsin Rapids off of a two-run single. Chase Call made it 3-1, as he had an RBI groundout. The Rafters hung two more on the more in the fifth from a Jacob Igawa RBI single and then a wild pitch scored Igawa from third giving the Rafters a 5-1 lead.
Grant Manning’s day ended after six strong innings of only giving up one run on three hits and striking out five. Rafters reliever, Ben Adams, came into the ballgame in the top of the seventh. Cal Hejza struck again for the Woodchucks, but this time in the form of a grand slam which tied the game at 5-5. Wausau then scored another run from a Ryan Sepede sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth to give the Woodchucks their final run, 6-5. Wausau’s Andrew Armstrong shut down the Rafters for the last 2.2 innings and received the win. Ben Adams threw the last three innings for the Rafters and received the loss.
Game two started out much differently than game one. Rafters starter, Nathan Hemmerling, held the Woodchucks scoreless in the top of the first, and then the Rats bats came alive. Brady Jurgella reached via an E4 to begin matters in the bottom of the first, and then came around to score on a wild pitch to give the Rafters a 1-0 lead. Joe Osborn came up with none out and the bases loaded, and he answered with a two-run double to give the Rafters a 3-0 lead. The next batter, shortstop Chris Conniff, hit a two-run single into right field to give the Rafters a 5-0 lead. The Rafters scored one more in the second from a Brendan Bobo RBI single to give the Rats a 6-0 lead.
Pitching was stellar for Wisconsin Rapids to say the least in game two. Hemmerling threw three scoreless to start the game while allowing no runs, three hits, and striking out three. Jacob James came in and threw two scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth while allowing one hit and striking out two. Newcomer Cooper Robinson in his Rafters debut threw two scoreless as well, while only allowing one hit. Nick Torres in his season debut with the Rafters threw a scoreless eighth inning, while not giving up a hit and striking out one Woodchuck. Alec Burnett pitched the top of the ninth, while giving up one hit, allowed one run that was not earned, one walk, and struck out one Woodchuck as well. Jacob James got the win for Wisconsin Rapids, and Woodchucks starter Calvin Shepherd received the loss after going just one inning while allowing five runs, none of which were earned.
The Rafters (15-2) will be back in action tomorrow night against the Madison Mallards (9-9) in Madison at 6:35 pm. Catch all the action on WFHR 1320 AM/97.5 FM with Brett Loftis, as the pregame show begins at 6:20 pm.
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.