For the City Times
After a banner winning season, the Rafters open 2017 with the Kingfish in town
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – It’s a brand new season in 2017 for the reigning Northwoods League Champions Rapids Rafters. After defeating the Eau Claire Express in the best of three World Series a year ago, the Rafters claimed their first Northwoods League title in team history.
Searching to build upon the 53 win season from 2016, most in team history, the Rafters bring back several players from the championship run a year ago. Currently on the active roster, catcher Scott Kapers (Valparaiso), Cameron Busby (Belmont Abbey) and Cal Giese (St. Cloud State) played a major role in the 2016 run.
As one of the primary catchers on the team, Kapers returns for his second season with the Rafters. He caught 19 of 37 runners attempting to steal a base. Giese returns to the Rafters on a temporary contract after providing the team with seven starts and five appearances out of the bullpen. Giese pitched 40 innings, striking out 34 batters while Busby played an important role helping the team to a championship.
In addition to players returning to the field for the Rafters, the team brings back three coaches from the championship staff. Leading the charge is field manager Craig Noto, who helped the team tie or break 21 team records in the 2016 campaign. Returning for his third season, Noto brings back assistants Kirk Shrider and John Halama to the 2017 staff. Matt Hill enters his first year as an assistant coach, while Halama returns as the pitching coach.
Starting today for the Rafters is left-handed pitcher Jack Eagan from Madison College. Eagan posted a record of 7-2 with a 2.16 ERA in his freshman season. Kenosha sends Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Cloan Treml to the hill to face the Rafters. The righty dealt to a 5-3 record with a 3.00 ERA in his sophomore season.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 pm at Witter Field.