Wisconsin Rapids, WI – June 21, 2012 – The seemingly unbeatable Loggers were cut down Thursday night, as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters won their eighth straight in a dominating 7-1 win at home at Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ben Heller (JR, Olivet Nazarene) took the show with a sensational start for the Rafters. Matching Kyle Wormington (JR, Valparaiso Univ.) and Cole Webb (SO, Valparaiso Univ.) for the longest start of the season by a Rafter, Heller shut down the South Division's best offense. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed only three hits and struck out five in 99 pitches.
Heller stranded every Logger run that got on, five in total. La Crosse had two runners on only once and went 0-for-5 against the Rafter's starter with runners in scoring position. The sole mistake Heller threw was a 1-2 fastball that Joe Meggs hit to left and, with the wind behind it, flew over the left field wall. The Loggers scored first, but the Rafters would score next. And last.
The next seven runs of the game came off of Rafters' bats. After no hits in the first two innings, before the Meggs home run, the Rafters put together nine in total off of the second best staff ERA in the Northwoods League. Consecutive singles in the fourth to lead off the innings both scored when Brandon Downes (FR, Univ. of Virginia) layed down a bunt in front of home plate. Scott Schultz, the La Crosse starting pitcher, fired the throw to first wide of the bag, one of five Loggers errors on the night, as both runs scored and Downes went to third. Downes would later score on an RBI single from Austin Neary (FR, Western Carolina Univ.), who picked up RBIs seven and eight. He also doubled home a run in the following inning. Neary finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored in his return from a quad injury. The Rafters finished the fifth with a 6-1 lead.
Scoreless frames from Kyle Bumpas (SO, St. Mary's University) and Tommy Danczyk (SO, St. Thomas Univ.) finished off the Loggers and their 11-game winning streak. The Rafters extended their own league-leading, franchise-setting streak to eight straight wins, tied with the Mankato Moondogs in the North. Wisconsin Rapids has not lost since June 12—all of the other 15 NWL teams have at least one defeat since that Monday night.
The Rafters (13-9) travel to La Crosse (17-6) Friday and Saturday for two more big games, with the Rafters just 3.5 games behind for the South Division lead. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are members of the 16-team summer collegiate Northwoods League. The Rafters will play a 70 game schedule with 35 home games in 2012. Available quantities of all promotional giveaways will vary from event to event and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. The best way to guarantee giveaway items is to purchase a 9-Game Package by calling the Rafters ticket office at 715-424-5400. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters