The best Rafters season in history came to a close Sunday at Witter Field. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (11-24-1, 27-42-1 overall) finished on a strong note, holding the Lakeshore Chinooks (18-17, 35-35 overall) to their lowest run and hit total in the season series and hanging on for a 4-3 win.
Behind 1-0 early after the first, the Rafters scored four runs off of Lakeshore starter Nick Soldano in the fourth. After a leadoff strikeout, four straight Rafters reached. The big hit of the inning, and the game, came from the newest Rafter, Cole Cefalu (SO, UW-La Crosse). With the bases loaded, Cefalu looped a shot down the right field line. Alex Bacon (SO, Univ. of North Florda) scored easily, and coming home second, Nick Ammirati (JR, Mississippi State Univ) was beat by the throw from Forrest Chadwick by a number of steps.
Ammirati spun around the tag and, after passing the plate, dove bag to touch home, missing the tag from Connor Lynch for the second run. The play would loom large in the one-run contest. What would have been the second out was not, and with two away, Brandon Hohl (JR, Univ. of Illinois) doubled home the decisive fourth run to put the Rafters ahead 4-1.
Kenny Towns (FR, Univ. of Virginia) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. A run scored off of him, unearned in the first inning, after a walk, an error, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Forrest Chadwick. After that, one walk and one hit batter over the next 18 batters. That was it. It wasn't until the third batter of the sixth that he allowed another hit, a triple to Chadwick. With a 4-1 lead, Ryan Krill hit an opposite field home run to cut the lead to one.
Towns was done after six, and three relievers finished the job. The combination of Tommy Danczyk (SO, Univ. of Thomas), Tommy Organ (SO, Univ. of North Florida), and Skyler Debilzen (JR, UW-La Crosse), all second-year Rafters pitchers, allowed just one baserunner to hold on to the 4-3 win.
Towns (1-2) took the win and Soldano (5-5) evened his ledger with the loss. Debilzen picked up his second save of the year.
The victory, the 27th of the season, caps off the most successful season in team history. The Rafters smashed all sorts of records, including most wins in a season (27), longest winning streak (8), and best team batting average (.262).
Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters
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