WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – How does one leave a legacy? It is quite a complicated question. There are many different answers. Some may be right and others could be wrong. However, there is no doubt that the 2022 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters have left a legacy on this town, their fans, and the Northwoods League that many people will not forget anytime soon.
Last night, the Rafters season ended against the Kalamazoo Growlers after an 8-6 loss in the Great Lakes Championship. With a chance to play in the Northwoods League Championship Game on the line, both teams were tied up going into extra innings when a Growlers two-run homer in the top of the tenth inevitably ended the Rafters season. However, this is not a time to focus on the shortcomings and losses. This is a time to relive and think back about some of the best moments from the best team in the history of the Northwoods League.
71. This is the amount of homers the Rafters crushed during the regular season, a new franchise record. This is also the second-most homers hit by any team in the history of the Northwoods League, only behind the 2017 Rochester Honkers who crushed 76 bombs.
57. The amount of wins that the Rafters racked up, the most by any team in the history of the Northwoods League. By far the most impressive statistic of the entire season, because all 52 of the young men who suited up in the cranberry and gold this summer contributed to this.
15. Across a 72 game season, 15 was the number of losses the Rafters incurred. No team in the history of the Northwoods League has ever lost less than 20 games in a 72 game season. However, the 2022 Rafters did.
29. The amount of wins the Rafters had in the first alone. These 29 wins, also a new Northwoods League Record, was clinched on July 4th in Green Bay when the Rafters beat the Rockers 11-4 in a rain-shortened contest.
510. The amount of runs the Rafters scored across their historic 2022 season. This shatters the previous franchise record of 475.
456. The amount of RBI the Rafters recorded as a team in 2022, also a new franchise record. This breaks the record from 2017 when the Rafters had 415 runs batted in.
17. The number of homers from the Cal State Fullerton product Brendan Bobo hit during his time with the Rafters this summer, also a new franchise record. Bobo did this in just 55 games and is also now tied for seventh for the most home runs by an individual in a single Northwoods League season.
.421. The batting average Ben Ross sustained during his 42 games with the Rafters before being taken in the fifth round by the Minnesota Twins in the 2022 MLB Draft. Ross was a Northwoods League All-Star, as well as a Home Run Challenge Participant.
37,548. The amount of Cranberry Crazies that entered into Witter Field during the regular season. If it was not for the fans’ support all summer long, many of the aforementioned records may not have happened.
For the Rafters in 2022, their season ended a game earlier than they wanted it to. However, for what they accomplished in 76 games (72 regular season and 4 playoff games) will take a long time to match or break. This team was more than just a baseball team to Wisconsin Rapids: it represented them. Every night, all summer long, the Rafters went to battle with Wisconsin Rapids written across their chest looking for the next opponent they were going to defeat. They represented the community, the fans, and the game of baseball the way it should be portrayed on a diamond. Now, as the players go back to school, the fans go back to work, and the interns go home, WItter Field will grow silent. It will have to endure a hard Wisconsin Winter, but just remember Rafter fans, once the snow clears next spring, the 2023 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters will be back in action looking to match their counterparts from a year before. Until then, the book shall be closed in 2022, and we should remember these moments that will last a lifetime. Roll Rats Roll.
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.