Rafters Take Game One of 2022 Northwoods League Playoffs

Rafters Take Game One of 2022 Northwoods League Playoffs

Rats bats come alive late in first playoff victory of 2022

WAUSAU, Wis. – After a historic regular season, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters did not disappoint in their first playoff game in 2022.  The Rats had a come-from-behind win over the Wausau Woodchucks to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

The Rats bats scored their first postseason run early on, as an RBI single from Garrett Broussard in the top of the first put Wisconsin Rapids ahead 1-0.  After that, the offenses fell cold.  Woodchucks starter, Matt Milner, and Rafters starter, Nick Torres, traded zeroes back and forth in the second and third innings.

After three straight 1-2-3 innings to begin the game, Nick Torres finally gave up a run in the Woodchucks’ home half of the fourth.  An Elie Kligman RBI single tied the game up at 1-1.  However, an RBI single from Colin Tuft gave the Rafters their lead back in the top of the fifth, 2-1.

After a scoreless home half of the fifth, Nick Torres came back out in the bottom of the sixth.  He gave up one more run on a Garret Hill single, as Wausau tied it up again, 2-2.  Torres was taken out of the game after 5.2 innings pitched while allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks, and one strikeout.  Connor Kurki entered the game in relief for the Rafters, as he recorded out number three in the bottom of the sixth via a strikeout.

After the Rafters were held scoreless in the top of the seventh, the Woodchucks took their first lead of the night in the home half of the seventh via a Chase Hug RBI single, 3-2.  However, a clutch throw from left by Rafters outfielder Chase Call gunned down a runner at third for out number two.  Kurki got out number three and kept the Rafters deficit at just one run.

The Rafters were not behind for long.  After loading the bases with two outs in the top of the eighth, an E5 Woodchucks throwing error on a Chase Call ground ball tied the game back up at 3-3.  Colin Tuft was hit by a pitch in the next plate appearance, as with the bases loaded this brought home another Rafter run to give the Rats a 4-3 lead.

Connor Kurki quickly retired the first two batters he faced in the home half of the eighth and then was removed from the game.  He threw two innings while allowing one run on two hits, one walk, and one strikeout.  Preston Howey entered in relief for the Rafters, as he struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth for out number three.

The Rafters were not done scoring.  A Garrett Broussard leadoff single put him on first to begin the top of the ninth.  Then, a shot of momentum came.  Andrew Semo crushed a two-run homer over the left field fence to give the Rafters some insurance, 6-3.  Preston Howey retired the Woodchucks 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, including striking out the final two batters he faced, en route to the Rafters first postseason victory of 2022.  Howey earned the save and Kurki earned the win for the Rafters.  Andrew Semo turned in a 3-for-5 night at the plate, including a pair of RBI.

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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]