WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The 2022 Northwoods League Season has been ruled by one team. The summer nights in Wisconsin Rapids have been centered around one team. The fans have been locked in on this moment. The 2022 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters have now won more games than any other team has in the 28-year history of the Northwoods League. The Rafters defeated the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders tonight in a 7-6 walk-off victory in the 10th inning.
Despite being in line for this historic victory tonight, the Dock Spiders were trying to spoil the party early. Rafters starter, Nick Torres, gave up an RBI groundout in the top of the first that gave Fond du Lac a 1-0 lead.
After being held scoreless in the first, the Rats bats came around in the bottom of the second. Garrett Broussard got the scoring started for Wisconsin Rapids with an RBI double that tied the game up, 1-1. An Andrew Semo sacrifice fly and a passed ball brought home two more runs to give the Rafters a 3-1 lead. However, Fondy was not phased. Four Dock Spiders came home to score in the top of the third to give them a 5-3 lead. Nick Torres finished his night after pitching three innings while allowing five runs (two earned) on two hits, four walks, and one strikeout.
The Rafters added one more run in the bottom half of the third via a Jacob Igawa RBI sacrifice fly to make it a 5-4 game. Cody Urban threw one inning in the top of the fourth in which he gave up an Andrew Sojka solo homer to make a 6-4 Fondy lead.
Angel Medina entered the game in the top of the fifth and held the Dock Spiders scoreless. He repeated this in the top of the sixth to end his outing after two frames. An RBI single from Chris Conniff in the bottom of the sixth brought the Rats back within one, 6-5. After a scoreless frame from reliever Cael Chatham in the top of the seventh, the Rafters tied it up in the home half via an RBI single from Chris Conniff.
With a 6-6 game heading into the top of the eighth, Chatham again held Fondy scoreless. Preston Howey entered the game for the Rafters in relief in the top of the ninth, as he retired the Dock Spiders 1-2-3 in order. However, the Rafters were also retired in order in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Howey went back out on the bump for the top of the 10th, as he again retired Fondy 1-2-3 in order, including striking out the final Dock Spider he faced. With Levi Jensen beginning the inning on second base for the Rats in the home half of the 10th, he immediately went to third on a wild pitch. Colin Tuft was retired for the first out, and then the Dock Spiders intentionally walked Jacob Igawa. With runners on the corners and one out, here came Andrew Semo. On a 1-0 fastball, Semo stung a line drive into left field that was caught for out number two. However, Jensen tagged from third and came home to score the game-winning run. Rafters won their 53rd game of the season, a new Northwoods League Single-Season record, by a score of 7-6. Preston Howey earned his fourth win of the season.
The Rafters (53-14) will again host the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (34-32) tomorrow night at Witter Field at 6:35 pm. Catch all 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.