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Rafters Rally Falls One Run Short in 5-4 Loss to Green Bay

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – If there is one thing about this Rafters team that cannot be overlooked is the fight in this club.  They fought all the way down to the wire tonight against the Green Bay Rockers, but came up just one run short, 5-4.  

The scoring started early tonight for the Rockers, as Trisitn Garcia in the second at-bat of the game lined an RBI double down the left field line to give Green Bay a 1-0 lead.  The Rafters were held scoreless in the bottom of the first, just as they would be through the first five innings.  Rafters starter Nick Torres gave up another Rocker run in the top of the second via a solo homer off of the bat from Griffin Selby to push the score to 2-0.  Mikey Kluska added to the Rockers lead in the top of the third with an RBI single to take a 3-0 lead.  Torres’ night ended after the third, as he gave up three runs on five Rocker hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. 

Josh Howitt threw a 1-2-3 top half of the fourth inning for the Rafters.  However, the Rockers took a 4-0 lead in the fifth off of a RBI double from Griffin Stevens.  Howitt gave up an unearned run in the sixth off an E3 to give Green Bay a commanding 5-0 lead.  However, in the home half of the sixth, the Rats bats came alive.  Jacob Igawa hit a sacrifice fly and an RBI for the Rafters first run of the night.  Garrett Broussard then hit an RBI single down the right field line to bring the deficit to 5-2.  Howitt’s night ended after three innings of allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. 

Malakai Vetock threw a scoreless top half of the seventh, but the Rafters were also held scoreless in the seventh as well.  Tanner Chafin made his season debut for Wisconsin Rapids in the top of eighth and pitched into a bases loaded jam.  With the infield in and no outs, the Rockers grounded out into a 6-2-3 double play.  Chafin walked the next batter but recorded out number three via a lineout to second baseman Chris Conniff. 

Brendan Bobo led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer to bring the Rafters within two, 5-3.  However, the Rafters were retired 1-2-3 after that to end the eighth.  Connor Kurki threw his fifth straight 1-2-3 inning of 2022 in the top of the ninth.  Seth Stroh and Levi Jensen reached base to start the bottom of the ninth via a hit by pitch and a walk.  Chris Conniff put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Stroh and Jensen to third. With one out, Ben Ross hit an RBI groundout to make it a one-run game, 5-4.  With Levi Jensen representing the tying run 90 feet away on third and two outs, Brady Jurgella struck out to end the game.  Rockers starter Chris Sleeper received the win and Rafters starter Nick Torres received the loss. 

The Rafters (22-4) will travel to Green Bay tomorrow to play the Rockers (9-18) at 1:05 pm.  Catch all the action on WFHR 1320 AM/97.5 FM with Brett Loftis beginning at 12:50 pm. 

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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.