Rafters Rally Early in Win Over Woodchucks
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – As the age-old quote goes, “It is not about how you start, but rather how you finish.” Well, as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters began the second half of the 2022 season against the Wausau Woodchucks, this quote may hold true for the rest of the season. However, it did not tonight. After two first inning runs, the Rafters were held scoreless over the final eight frames, but still came out victorious, 2-1.
Rafters starter, Nick Torres, retired the Woodchucks in order 1-2-3 in the top half of the first. The Rats bats came alive early in the bottom half of the first. Ben Ross led off the bottom of the first with a single. After he advanced to second on a wild pitch, 2021 Northwoods League All-Star, McKinley Erves, lined an RBI single into left center field to put the Rats up 1-0. After a pair of errors from the Woodchucks, Garrett Broussard hit an RBI fielder’s choice to put Wisconsin Rapids up 2-0.
Nick Torres retired the Woodchucks 1-2-3 in the second, third, and fourth innings. He finished his night after four scoreless innings of one hit baseball while facing the minimum of 12 batters and struck out two Woodchucks. Josh Howitt came in the game for the Rafters in the fifth. He gave up the first and only run of the night to the Woodchucks via a Kevin Kilpatrick RBI single to make it a 2-1 game.
Howitt pitched into some danger in the top half of the sixth. With runners on second and third with two outs, Howitt hit the Woodchucks right fielder, Mark Shallenberger, to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, Howitt induced a groundout to strand the bases loaded. Howitt threw scoreless seventh and eighth innings to end his outing. He gave up one run on four hits, gave up two walks, and struck out five.
Preston Howey came into the game in the ninth to close the door. He gave up a one-out single but stranded the runner on second to end the game. Howey earned his eighth save of the season. Josh Howitt earned the win and moved to 4-0 on the year.
The Rafters (30-6) will travel to Wausau tomorrow to face the Woodchucks (17-20) at 6:35 pm. Catch all the action with Brett Loftis on the Home of Rafters Baseball, 1320 AM/97.5 FM WFHR.
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.