Rafters’ Igawa Ignites Another Witter Field Walk-Off

Igawa Ignites Another Witter Field Walk-Off

Rats bats come alive late as Wisconsin Rapids move to 17-2 in 2022

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – The question that has always been posed for many ages, no matter the sport, “Do you believe in magic?” Well, Wisconsin Rapids better start believing in “Witter Field Wonders,” as for the second time in 2022, Jacob Igawa walked off a Rafters win at Witter Field, as Wisconsin Rapids beat the Madison Mallards 4-3.

The Rafters got on the board in the bottom of the first, as the Wisconsin Rapids royalty, Brendan Bobo, knocked in Ben Ross to give the Rafters a 1-0 lead.  However, over the next three innings, the bats for both sides would cease, as Rafters starter Xavier Rivas and Mallards starter Dan Wright engaged in a pitchers’ duel.  Xavier Rivas threw three scoreless frames while striking out seven Mallards along the way.  Logan Schulfer came in relief for the Rafters in the fourth and threw a 1-2-3 inning.  However, the Mallards took a 2-1 lead in the fifth off of Schulfer via an RBI groundout and a steal of home.

Schulfer finished his night after a scoreless sixth.  He gave up three hits, one walk, two runs, and three strikeouts.  Dan Wrights retired the last fourteen Rafters he faced, as he threw six innings while giving up one run, no walks, and struck out 10 Rafters. The Rafters tied it up in the seventh, as Chase Call sent an RBI single into right-center field off of Mallards reliever, Sam Vomhof, to make it a 2-2 game.

Jacob James, Alec Burnett, and Preston Howey combined for three scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings for the Rafters.  In the bottom of the ninth, the Rafters erupted with a two-out rally.  Colin Tuft and Chase Call both came up with a pair of two-out singles, and then Levi Jensen drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.  Mallards reliever, Bryce Woody, was set to face Rafters pinch hitter, Harry Owen, with the bases loaded and two outs.  With the game-winning run for the Rafters, Colin Tuft, 90 feet away from sending the Rafters home victorious, Woody came up clutch with a strikeout for out number three.

Nick Torres was called upon in the top of the tenth for the Rafters.  The Mallards retook the lead, after a wild pitch advanced Scott Shaw to third, and then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jaxson Crull made it a 3-2 game.  However, Torres left one Mallard stranded and the Rafters had a chance to walk it off in the home half of the tenth.  Brady Jurgella put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Stone Miyao to third.  With one out, Bryce Woody hung a first-pitch fastball to Ben Ross that was crushed down the left-field line.  The Witter Field crowd erupted into a frenzy, but the ball was ruled foul just moments after Ross rounded first.  Ross would be retired for out number two.  Down to their final out, Brendan Bobo was hit by a pitch.  He stole second on the second pitch of the at-bat against Jacob Igawa.  With two runners in scoring position, two outs, and an 0-1 count, Igawa lined a single into center field which brought home Miyao and Bobo to send Witter into a frenzy and give the Rafters a 4-3 win.  Nick Torres received the win, and Mallards Bryce Woody received the loss.

The Rafters (17-2) will play host to the Rockford Rivets (10-10) tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 pm.  Catch all the action with Carter Gledhill on the Northwoods League Baseball Network and on WFHR 1320 AM/97.5 FM with Brett Loftis.

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The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff, over 280 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.

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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]