Rafters Advance to Semifinals After 9-1 Win Over Wausau
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are continuing their historic season, as they have now won their first playoff series since 2017. The Rafters defeated the Wausau Woodchucks 9-1 tonight to win the best-of-three first round series, 2-1.
Rafters starting pitcher, Cooper Robinson, was locked in from the first pitch. He and Woodchucks starting pitcher, Jace Baumann, traded scoreless frames back and forth in the first and second innings. However, the Woodchucks would strike first in the top of the third via a Chase Hug sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead.
Robinson continued to roll despite being down, as he held Wausau scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings. The Rats bats finally woke up in the bottom of the fifth. After a Garrett Broussard leadoff single and an E6 committed by the Woodchucks, an E1 throwing error allowed Broussard to score from second to make it a tie game at 1-1. Two batters later, with one out, Aidan Brewer crushed a second pitch fastball over the left field fence for a three-run homer to put the Rafters up 4-1. However, Wisconsin Rapids was still not done scoring. As with runners on first and second with two outs, Jacob Igawa hit the second three-run homer of the inning to bust it wide open to give the Rafters a 7-1 lead.
Robinson continued to dominate the Woodchucks, retiring six of the seven batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings. A Colin Tuft RBI single added an insurance run for the Rafters in the bottom of the seventh to make it an 8-1 lead. After Robinson surrendered a leadoff walk in the top of the eighth, he was taken out of the game. He walked off the field with Witter Field crowd on their feet giving him a standing ovation. Robinson threw three seven innings while allowing one run on three hits, four walks, and five strikeouts.
Donovan Brandl entered in relief for the Rafters in the top of the eighth, as he held Wausau scoreless. Brady Jurgella added another Rafters run in the home half via an RBI double to give Wisconsin Rapids a 9-1 lead. Brandl got the final three outs in the top of the ninth, including a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Cooper Robinson received the win for the Rafters in his vintage postseason performance.
The Rafters (2-1) will play host to the Kalamazoo Growlers (2-0) tomorrow night at Witter Field at 6:35 pm. This one-game series will decide who will play the Duluth Huskies in the Northwoods League Summer Collegiate World Series. Catch all the action of tomorrow night’s game on ESPN+ 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.