Rafters Survive 11 Inning Marathon in 10-9 Win Over Kokomo
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – In many ways, tonight’s game was just like the original Rocky movie. Rocky Balboa was a nobody fighter who got a chance to battle the best and well-known boxer in the country, Apollo Creed. Balboa gave everything he had until the end, but Creed still came out victorious. Well, the Kokomo Jackrabbits gave the best team in the Northwoods League, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, but still came out on the losing end, as the Rafters walked it off in the bottom of the 11, 10-9.
JJ Almeda, the Rafters starter, retired the Jackrabbits 1-2-3 in the top of the first. However, the Rafters got started first in the home half of the inning, as Nate Nankil lined an RBI single into right field to give the Rafters a 1-0 lead. However, the Jackrabbits tied it up in the top of the second via a bases loaded hit by pitch.
With the score 1-1 in the bottom of the second, McKinley Erves laced a double into the right center field gap that put the Rats up, 3-1. Two batters later, Brendan Bobo launched a two-run 405-foot moonshot, his 17th of the season, to put Wisconsin Rapids up 5-1. However, a three-run homer from Nick Harms in the top of third brought Kokomo within one, 5-4.
Ben Adams entered the game to pitch for the Rafters in the top of the fourth. As in his lone inning of work, he gave up an RBI single that tied the game up at 5-5. Tanner Chafin entered the game for the Rafters on the mound in the fifth and held the Jackrabbits scoreless. The Rats retook the lead in the home half of the inning, as a Chase Call RBI single put Wisconsin Rapids up 6-5.
Chafin threw a scoreless sixth but gave up an RBI single to Kokomo in the top of the seventh that tied the game back up, 6-6. The Jackrabbits were only getting started, as they hung three more runs on Rafters reliever Alex Dicke in the top of the eighth. With a 9-6 deficit heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Rafters answered back with three of their own to tie it up at 9-9.
Cael Chatham entered the game to pitch for the Rafters in the top of the ninth, as he struck out the side in order. However, with runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, the Rafters were not able to capitalize, as the game moved onto extra innings.
Chatham again worked wonders in the top of the 10th, as Andrew Semo gunned down a runner at third for the first out. Then, Chatham struck out the next two batters he faced to end the inning. However, with runners again on first and second in the bottom of the tenth the Rafters still could not bring them in.
Alec Mendoza entered the game in the top of the 11th for the Rats. He pitched into a bases loaded jam with no outs. However, after a strikeout and a pair of flyouts, Mendoza pitched out of the jam to head to the bottom of the 11th. After a McKinley Erves bunt single, Nate Nankil was intentionally walked to load the bases. On the first pitch to Brendan Bobo, the ball sailed away to the backstop, as Aidan Brewer came home to score as the Rafters won it, 10-9. Alec Mendoza earned his first win as a Rafter in his Witter Field debut.
The Rafters will be off tomorrow for the Major League Dream Showcase being held in La Crosse. Seven Rafters will be participating in the showcase, as you can catch all the action on the ESPN+ at 4:05 pm for game one and 7:05 pm for game two.
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. Now in its’ 29th 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, 300 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 and on ESPN+. 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.