Golden State Trio Sign with the Rafters for 2022

The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Welcome the California trio of pitchers Preston Howey, Cooper Robinson, and Nathan Hemmerling.

Howey is entering his sophomore season at Saint Mary’s College of California.  He struck out 17 batters while only walking 5 over 15.2 innings during his freshman season.  During his high school career, Howey went 13-1 while fanning 86 batters with a 0.75 ERA.

“I’m most excited to go to a new state and share the field with the most talented players from various colleges,” said Howey. “The Northwoods League is a great league, and even though the competition is tough, it always makes for a good game for the players and fans.  I’m excited to play for the Rafters and see what I can do this upcoming summer.”

Cooper Robinson is currently a freshman at UC Irvine.  He put together an impressive high school career as he was rated as a top 500 prospect in the nation by Perfect Game, including being ranked as the 52nd right-hander in the state of California.  Robinson also capped off his high school career after being named the Folsom High School Pitcher of the Year.

“It’s just an experience I wouldn’t really have,” said Robinson. “I couldn’t tell you that I would go to Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin if I wasn’t playing summer league baseball there.  It’s a chance to play with new guys in an environment that I haven’t necessarily played in yet.”

Nathan Hemmerling is entering his junior season at Lakeland University.  He had a stellar sophomore campaign, including a one-hit complete game shutout against Edgewood College.  Hemmerling is no stranger to the Rafters as he had a stellar year on the mound in 2021 as well.  He was one of the best pitchers on the staff as he had a 3-0 record in 7 starts and 10 appearances overall while striking out 39 and posting a 2.23 ERA.

“I’m looking forward to the great coaching staff that the Rafters have to help develop me like they’ve been doing over the last three years,” said Hemmerling.  “The fans come out and support us each and every home game, rain or shine, and show us so much appreciation and respect whether we’re winning or losing.”

Mark your calendars! The Rafters season and home opener is on Monday, May 30th at 6:35pm against the Green Bay Rockers.


Know some top athletic performances? Seeing some great teams in action?

We can use your help, and it’s simple.  Witness some great performances? Hear about top athletes and top teams in our area?

Nominate an athlete or team: HERE

Pancakes or Waffles!  We feature top area athletes with our world-renowned feature. Send us your nominations for who you’d like us to interview HERE

Baked or Fried! We also feature difference makers throughout central Wisconsin: coaches, booster club leaders, adminstration, volunteers, you name it. Send us your nominations for who you’d like us to interview HERE

College Athlete Roundup! We want to recognize student-athletes from the area who are competing at the college level. Send us information on college athletes from the area with our simple form HERE

Where are they Now? We feature athletes and difference makers  from the past, standouts in sports who excelled over the years and have moved on. Know of a former athlete, coach or difference maker who we should feature? Know of a former standout competitor whose journey beyond central Wisconsin sports is one we should share? Send us information on athletes and difference makers of the past with our simple form HERE 

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]