By Cooper Perkins
Looking for a response to last night’s frustrating 3-1 loss to the Rockford Rivets (7-6), the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (7-5) return to action tonight in a grudge match with their visitors from Illinois.
A new addition to the the Northwoods League in 2016, the Rivets bested the Rafters in the first-ever meeting of the two South Division franchises. The Rafters, who stranded 10 runners on base, squandered a dominant pitching performance from their bullpen in the series-opening loss last night. Right-handers Blair Lakso (Buffalo) and Eric Ligda (Millersville) combined to face the minimum over the final five inning’s of Sunday’s ballgame, allowing just one base runner.
After struggling to break through against Rivet starter Drake Robison and bullpen arms Tyler Thornton and Zach Olszewski, the Rafters will look to find their swings against right-hander Zachary Aring (St. Joseph’s). Aring, who is 0-1 with an ERA of 9.00, will be met by 2015 Northwoods League All-Star Jack Riley (UConn), who makes his second start of the season. Riley’s first start came in a difficult environment at Warner Park against the Madison Mallards, as the left-hander lasted four innings and allowed four earned runs, but was supported by a record-breaking performance from the Rafter lineup.
Entering the evening’s action, Patrick Cromwell (Clemson) carries an 11-game hitting streak into Monday night. Cromwell, who doubled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to extend his streak last night, is chasing the trio of Pat Kelly, Keelin Rasch, and Bryce Jordan, who are tied for the longest hitting streak in Rafter history. If Cromwell succeeds in extending his streak against the Rivets on Monday night, he would sit just one game from tying the Rafter franchise record of 13 consecutive games with a hit.
Also in the midst of an impressive streak, infielder Jake Lumley (Canisius) enters Monday night tied for fourth in the Northwoods League in batting average, carrying a .400 clip into the contest. Lumley has reached base safely in all eleven games in which he has played for the Rafters this summer, most recently finding his way aboard three times on Sunday.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm at Witter Field with gates opening at 6:05 pm.