Rafters Weekend Roundup: Rapids splits the weekend with two wins
By Jacob Heid
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Another baseball-filled weekend came to a close for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Over four days, a series of highs and lows hit the team in their games versus the Madison Mallards and the Green Bay Rockers. The Rafters split the weekend with a record of 2-2.
Game 1 – Rafters 12, Mallards 6
Rapids continued its winning ways on Aug. 4 against the Madison Mallards right after sweeping the Jackrabbits. Coming into the game, the Rafters held onto an eight-game win streak. An early offensive start was in store for Wisconsin Rapids in Madison. Andrew Semo started the scoring in the top of the second inning with a solo shot. That got followed up by a Mckinley Erves two-run single, putting Rapids in the driver’s seat early on.
The scoring continued in the top of the third inning with a double-play ball that scored Colin Tuft, making it a 4-0 game. Rafters’ starting pitcher Brandon Scott fired two scoreless innings before the Mallards’ first run of the game. Three innings would be the end of the night for Scott. He surrendered one run and struck out four batters.
Wisconsin Rapids’ offense had one of the biggest innings of its season in the fourth. The team scored six runs in the frame, led by Jacob Igawa’s bases-clearing double that spiked the lead to seven, 8-1. They weren’t finished yet, another two runs crossed the plate later in the inning, and the Rafters held onto a comfortable 10-1 advantage.
Madison cut into the lead in the home half of the fifth with three runs, but the Rafters extended it back to eight after a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. After six innings were complete, Rapids led 12-4.
The bullpen would do the rest of the work for the remainder of the game. Angel Medina pitched in the bottom of the eighth and ninth for Rapids. He gave up two runs to the Mallards in the ninth but closed out what would be the Rafters’ ninth win in a row.
Game 2 – Rafters 16, Mallards 6
Wisconsin Rapids continued its offensive domination in Friday night’s game at Witter Field to complete the sweep against Madison. With this win, the Rafters tied the Northwoods League wins record with its 52nd win of the season.
The Rafters saw themselves down 3-0 to start the game, but a seven-run third inning propelled them to a comfortable 7-3 lead. A hit-by-pitch and two walks with the bases loaded tied the game, 3-3. Later on, a wild pitch and an RBI pushed the lead to two, giving the Rafters another scoring opportunity. Rapids finished the frame by scoring two more runs from a Colin Tuft double that put the Rafters in control, 7-3. The Rafters scored once more in the fourth, making it a five-run lead.
Josh Howitt got the call out of the bullpen in the first inning after Ben Amon gave up three runs in the top of the first. Howitt would pitch a clean five innings, only giving up one run in his line of work.
The Rafters entered the sixth inning with an already nice lead and added to it. With three runs crossing the plate, Rapids led the game 11-4 after six innings.
They scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Garrett Broussard and a double from Levi Johnson. Two more runs crossed the plate for the Rafters in the eighth, which ended the offensive stampede for Rapids. Liam Alpern came in to pitch for the final three outs. With a 16-4 cushion, Alpern surrendered two runs but got the final out to secure another Rafter win.
Game 3 – Rafters 2, Rockers 6
The Rafters dropped their first game of the weekend against the Green Bay Rockers at Witter Field. On top of that, the game on Saturday night got cut short due to the weather. The Rockers have found success on the road against the top team in the Northwoods League. This is their third win of the season at Witter Field.
The Rafters struck first in the bottom of the first, but the Rockers answered right back in the top of the second to tie the game. The game would go back and forth for the next couple of innings. With the game tied at 2-2 after four innings, the Rockers took the lead in the fifth from a solo shot by Carson Yates. Green Bay continued to have an eye for the ball, scoring more runs in the sixth inning off a two-run RBI single from Yates again. The Rockers led 5-2 after six innings.
Wisconsin Rapids had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs. The Rafters registered three straight outs, two of which were strikeouts. Green Bay scored its final run in the eighth before a weather delay halted the game. The delay eventually made the game final, with the Rockers handing the Rafters their 13th loss of the year.
Game 4 – Rafters 6, Rockers 10
The Green Bay Rockers handed Wisconsin Rapids its first sweep at home this season. Green Bay continued to limit the Rafters’ offense to secure another win on the road.
The Rockers crossed the plate right away in the top of the first, getting out to a quick 2-0 lead. Continuing to ride the momentum, Green Bay increased its lead to five in the second inning. The Rafters finally found their groove in the bottom of the fourth off an RBI single from Levi Jensen to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Later in the inning, Mckinley Erves emptied the bases with a double to cut the deficit to one, 5-4.
The Rafters had a pitching change in the fourth, with Alex Dicke coming into the game. Dicke pitched a scoreless fifth inning and gave up two runs to the Rockers in the sixth, which forced a pitching change for Rapids. Alec Mendoza came in for relief and surrendered four more runs to Green Bay, which made it a 10-4 game.
The Rafters cut into the lead a little in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the Rockers’ lead to four but couldn’t muster up enough offense to score anymore. After six innings, the score was 10-6 and would end up being the final to end the weekend.