The final series opener of the year saw the two teams play into the morning at Witter Field.
Wisconsin Rapids, WI– In what is the longest game of the 2023 season for both the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and Green Bay Rockers and the third-longest game in Northwoods League History, the Rafters fell to the Rockers by a score of 13-2.
In a game that lasted 5 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds the two sides tried to keep their energy up at all times. For the Rockers, doing that was a lot easier. Chris Krepline’s team put up 13 runs on 12 hits and limited the Rafters to just one hit, a hit which did not come until the eighth inning of play.
The Rockers got out in front to an early advantage thanks to a crooked number in the first inning. Following two strikeouts to start the game by Rafter pitcher Mitchell Wittkamp, JoJo Jackson kept the inning alive with a single, after an obstruction call and a passed ball Jackson was on third when Jayson Jones worked a walk. In the ensuing at-bat, Zane Zielinski took ball four but the pitch went to the backstop allowing Jackson to stroll home with the first run of the game. But the two-out rally did not stop there. Mateo Matthews and Nainoa Cardinez followed it up with back-to-back RBI singles to put Green Bay up 3-0.
For Matthews and Cardinez, it wouldn’t be the first time in that ballgame the duo would come through with back-to-back RBIs. In the third inning with a runner on third base, Matthews would come through with his second RBI single of the game. With Matthews on first, Cardinez would drive a ball off the protective netting beyond the left field wall for his fourth home run of the summer. Green Bay would tack on an additional run following an over two-hour rain delay.
Down 7-0 in the fifth inning, the Rafters would respond with two runs of their own. Wisconsin Rapids would load up the bases all on walks issued by Rocker pitchers. With Alex Duffey on third, Gus Walker on second, and Ty Johnson on first, David Smigelski would come up with two out and came through with an RBI walk, his seventh RBI of 2023. The next batter, Orlando Lorduy, would also find his way aboard with a walk.
As the game moved to the early hours of Saturday, Green Bay’s offense had a second wake-up call, exploding in the last two innings of play. The Rockers scored six runs on four hits in the eighth and ninth innings, highlighted by a JoJo Jackson two-run homer to the opposite field.
While this game was going on Madison won their game against Wausau, meaning they clinched the second-half Great Lakes West Division Championship. Saturday night’s game will be the 72nd and final Wisconsin Rapids Rafter game of 2023 when they host Green Bay to conclude the season. The game is slated for 6:35 pm with the gates opening an hour before first pitch.
For rafters ticket offerings visit Raftersbaseball.com, call the Rafthouse at 715-424-5400, or come visit us over at historic Witter Field. The Box Office is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at Witter Field, 521 Lincoln Street in Wisconsin Rapids.
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’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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, over 325 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 Raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods