Rafters Defeat Mallards, Win Third Straight Game

McKinley Erves had 2 RBI and robbed a potential extra base hit 

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (16-13) now have five wins against the Madison Mallards (11-16) this season after a 5-2 victory.

The Rafters got off to a strong start after a 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning from starter Ben Vespi (Central Florida), and Marco Castillo (Claremont McKenna) in the bottom of the first, hit an RBI single.

After Vespi retired the first seven batters, a Mallards single set up Cam Cratic, who delivered a two-run homer to take a 2-1 lead.

Wisconsin Rapids left four runners on base from the third to the fifth inning. In the sixth, a single from Couper Cornblum (Wichita State), a double from Sterling Hayes (Creighton), and Weston Eberly (Columbia) advancing on a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Blake Mann (St. Mary’s (CA)) brought home two with an RBI double, and McKinley Erves (La Grange) cleared the remaining two runners in Eberly and Mann with a single.

Ben Vespi’s final inning of work was the sixth, he earned the win and totaled eight strikeouts.

Donovan Brandl (Wisconsin-Whitewater) threw a scoreless seventh but allowed the first two base runners in the eighth, it set up Cam Cratic with a chance to tie. He lifted a ball to right field, but Erves jumped up and robbed a potential extra-base hit.

“As soon as he hit it, I said you’ve got to be kidding me,” said Erves. “I tracked it down in case it stayed in the park and jumped as high as I could, and it paid off.”

Brandl finished the eighth, and Brayden Bonner (Dixie State) completed the ninth, earning his fourth save of the season and 22nd of his Rafter career.

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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]