For the City Times
Skipper led Rafters to 2016 Northwoods League Championship
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Following a summer in which he became the organization’s all-time winningest manager and lead the team to its first Northwoods League Championship in franchise history, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are pleased to announce that Field Manager Craig Noto will return for his third season in 2017.
“Craig has brought a winning culture to our franchise with his attitude and leadership style that ultimately helped guide us to our first Championship,” said general manager John Fanta. “He truly has a passion for recruiting and developing players to play at the next level. I am excited to again work with Craig to try and become the first Northwoods League team to repeat as Champions in back-to-back seasons.”
The Rafters finished the 2016 season with 49 regular season wins and went a perfect 4-0 during the playoffs. Noto guided the team to winning both the South Division First and Second Half, culminating with the Rafters first Northwoods League Championship. Under his leadership, he and his coaching staff led the Rafters to tie or break 21 club records during the regular season, including posting a scoring average of 5.7 runs per game. The pitching staff posted an ERA of 3.41 while allowing the fewest walks and hits per innings pitched in the entire Northwoods League (1.29 WHIP). The team also posted a collective batting average of .369 during postseason play. In his tenure as Rafters’ Manager, Noto has seen seven of his players become Northwoods League All-Stars, four Rawlings “Finest in the Field” Gold Glove winners, and has helped develop seven players that have gone on to play professional baseball. Including postseason play, Noto holds a career record of 86-58 (.597 winning percentage) in his first two seasons and will look to build upon that in 2017.
“Bringing the Northwoods League Championship to the fans of Wisconsin Rapids was the ultimate goal when I accepted the managerial position here in 2015,” said Noto. “I can’t tell you how honored I was to be a part of delivering the Championship in 2016, to what we consider to be the best fan base in the Northwoods League. It’s time now to move onto the 2017 season and work towards bringing another ring to the fans of Rafters Nation! Our GM John Fanta and I have been working diligently in securing some of the finest character student-athletes from across the country, to make the fans of Wisconsin Rapids proud. We are all looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of us and cannot wait for Opening Day 2017 at Witter Field!”
Noto came to Wisconsin Rapids with over 20 years of coaching experience at the youth, high school, and Division 1 Collegiate levels. He spent the previous nine seasons as the Recruiting Coordinator and Pitching Coach at LIU-Brooklyn. His recruiting ties and contacts around the United States have been integral into helping him shape the Rafters rosters each season. In the offseason, Noto is involved in numerous baseball related ventures in the greater Brooklyn, New York area.