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Rafters Hold on in Narrow Win Over Mallards

MADISON, Wis. – There has been a running quote that has been circulated in many locker rooms, websites, and print newspapers: “Championship teams win these types of games.” Well, the Rafters won one of those types of games by a score of 4-3 over the Madison Mallards. 

Both offenses were held relatively quiet in the first frame, as Rafters starter, Nick Torres, retired the side on four pitches.  Both teams were again blanked in the second, but the Rats were finally the first team to score in the top of third.  A Brady Jurgella RBI single scored Stone Miyao to give the Rats a 1-0 lead.  Torres held the Mallards silent again in the third and fourth innings, including striking out the side to finish his night in the bottom of the fourth.  Torres threw four scoreless frames, in which he only allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out five Mallards. 

The Rafters took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth via an RBI single off the bat of McKinley Erves.  Josh Howitt entered the game to pitch for Wisconsin Rapids in the bottom of the fifth inning and threw yet another scoreless frame.  The Rafters continued to add on offensively as well.  Colin Tuft gave the Rats a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth with a solo shot, his second homer of 2022. 

Howitt stranded two baserunners in the bottom of the sixth, but the Mallards finally struck in the bottom of the seventh.  A pair of RBI singles from Madison made it a one-run ballgame, as the Rafters held a 3-2 lead.  Howitt finished his night after the seventh, while giving up two runs on five hits, two walks, and one strikeout. 

Alec Burnett came in the ballgame in the bottom of the eighth, as he held the Mallards scoreless.  The Rafters came across another run in the top of the ninth, as an RBI single from Stone Miyao made it a 4-2 lead. The Rafters called upon their closer Preston Howey in the bottom of the ninth.  After a leadoff single and a double to begin the inning, an RBI groundout plated the third run of the game for the Mallards to make it 4-3.  With a runner on third and only one out, Josh Caron lined out to Rafters third baseman Garrett Broussard for out number two.  Chad McCann came up to the dish with still the tying run just 90 feet away and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.  On the first pitch to McCann, he grounded out to Miyao to end the game.  Josh Howitt received the win for the Rafters, improving his record to 7-0.  Howey received the save, giving him his 11th save of 2022.

The Rafters (42-10) will travel to Mequon, Wisconsin tomorrow night to begin their two series against the Lakeshore Chinooks (26-25) at 6:35 pm.  Catch all the action beginning at 6:20 pm on 1320 AM/97.5 FM WFHR with the radio voice of Rafters Baseball, Brett Loftis. 

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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.