Rafters Tie Wins Record in 16-6 Annihilation of Mallards
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – In a season that has been special beyond measure, the Rafters continue to outdo themselves every time they step foot on a diamond. With tonight’s 16-6 win over the Madison Mallards, the 2022 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters have officially tied the franchise and Northwoods League single-season records with their 52nd win of the season.
Despite having scored first in most of their wins the season, the Rafters trailed after the top of the first. The Mallards hung two runs on Wisconsin Rapids starter, Ben Amon, in his only inning of work tonight. The Rats bats were held off the board in the home half of the first.
Josh Howitt entered the game to pitch for the Rafters. With a 2-0 deficit, Howitt held Madison scoreless in the top of the second. He retired the Mallards three up and three down in the top of the third as well.
With the Rats still down 2-0, they answered in the bottom of the third with their biggest inning of the season. After the bases were loaded with a one-out walk from Chase Call, a bases-loaded walk, hit by pitch, and another walk tied the game at 3-3. A wild pitch scored Colin Tuft to give the Rats their first lead of the night, and then a Garrett Broussard RBI single put Wisconsin Rapids ahead 5-3. Two batters later, a Chris Conniff two-run double put the Rafters ahead 7-3. In the seven-run bottom of the third, the Rafters had 10 consecutive batters reach base, a new season-high.
Howitt held the Mallards scoreless in the top of the fourth. The Rats added one more in the top home half of the fourth via an RBI single from Cael Chatham to put them ahead 8-3. However, an RBI single from Madison brought the Mallards within four in the top of the fifth, 8-4.
After another scoreless frame from Howitt in the top of the sixth, his night was complete. He threw five innings while allowing one run on four hits, one walk, and no strikeouts. The Rafters added three more in the home half of the fourth via another Cael Chatham RBI single, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Aidan Brewer.
Connor Kurki helped keep the 11-4 Rafters intact in the top of the seventh, as in his first inning of work on the mound he retired the Mallards 1-2-3. The Rats bats scored three more in the bottom half of the seventh via an E4, Broussard RBI sacrifice fly, and an RBI double from Levi Jensen to put Wisconsin Rapids ahead 14-4.
Kurki threw another scoreless frame in the top of the eighth to end his night. The Rafters added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth off an RBI sacrifice fly from Colin Tuft and a Garrett Broussard bases-loaded walk. With a 16-4 lead, Liam Alpern came into the record the final three outs in the top of the ninth. He gave up two Madison runs in the inning but ended up pitching out of the jam to ensure a 16-6 win. Josh Howitt recorded his eighth win of the season, now tying him with Jesse Slinger (2017) for the most wins for a pitcher in a season in franchise history.
The Rafters (52-12) will look to break the Wisconsin Rapids franchise and Northwoods League single-season wins record tomorrow night at home against the Green Bay Rockers (24-39) at 6:35 pm. Catch the action on the Northwoods League Baseball Network with Carter Gledhill or on 1320 AM/97.5 FM WFHR with Brett Loftis.
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.