Another successful Rafters season has come to an end at Historic Witter Field. The 2020 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters lost just three games at home over the course of the regular season and ended with a 35-11 record, the best winning percentage in league history.
Glenn Albanese was the major highlight of the Rafters 2020 pitching staff. Albanese, a Louisville Cardinal, went down as one of the best Rafter pitchers in history with 48 strikeouts and an ERA of just 1.69 in 26.2 innings. Albanese was a part a Rafters staff that had a 2.88 ERA, the best in the Northwoods League this season and team history. The pitching staff also struck out 489 batters over the course of the season, averaging 10.2 strikeouts a game.
Spencer Arrighetti appeared in seven games while striking out 37. Arrighetti posted a 0.00 ERA in 24 innings of work. Chris McElvain was an additional pitching star, lethal with a .081 ERA. In the playoffs, McElvain struck out 11 batters in six scoreless innings versus the La Crosse Loggers, throwing up to 98 mph, the quickest fastball seen at Witter Field all year long. Travis Adams ended the season with 33 innings pitched, 41 strikeouts and recorded a minuscule 1.64 ERA.
The Rafters finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak, similar to their start of the season. This allowed the Rafters to snag the Northwoods League record for best winning percentage in a season. The Rafters’ .760 winning percentage was better than the 2006 Rochester Honkers, who wrapped up their season with a .746 winning percentage.
Craig Noto, in his sixth year as the Field Manager, continued to field an outstanding team, further shooting up the Northwoods League leaderboard in career victories. Noto’s career 249-152 record is the best in Rafters history. Noto passed four coaches this summer to become the seventh winningest coach in league history, tied with Jason Nell at 249 wins. His career winning percentage of .621 is the best among Northwoods League managers with over five years of league experience.
Noto has seen his fair share of Northwoods League baseball, but he was hard-pressed to find a better slugging team than what he had in 2020. The Rafters hit 42 home runs in 46 games, the best rate in team history. Six Rafters had over five home runs to contribute to the record-setting pace. Billy Cook, Andy Garriola, and Jack-Thomas Wold tied for the team lead with six home runs.
The Rafters had the most Northwoods League Postseason All-Stars with five, tied with Fond du Lac. Andy Garriola was the only Rafter position player to make the team. The Rafters dominated the All-Star pitching staff with Travis Adams, Glenn Albanese, Spencer Arrighetti, and Chris McElvain.
In the playoffs, the Rafters season came to an end after a La Crosse Loggers home run in the top of the ninth. Despite the Wisconsin Rapids community being the smallest market in the Northwoods League, the Rafters drew the third most fans in the Northwoods League this summer.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. 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.