Rafters Bring Home Multiple NWL Postseason Awards
Six Rafters players, two coaches, and broadcaster honored by league
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Northwoods League announced the 2017 Postseason All-Star Team and award winners on Sunday, August 13 that includes six Rafters players, two coaches, and the team’s radio voice.
In a season where the Rafters have broken 32 team records through 71 games, three players from the Wisconsin Rapids offense have been selected to the Postseason All-Star team. Infielders Bryson Stott (UNLV) and Ryan Stekl (Canisius) join outfielder Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville). Pitcher’s Jesse Slinger (Lock Haven University), Isaiah Carranza (Oregon), and Jack Eagan (Madison College) represent the Rafters pitching staff on the postseason awards list.
Stott has been a mainstay in the Rafters lineup, starting in 70 games to tie the Rafters single season record for most games played. Stott’s 2017 season has already been historic, breaking the single season hits record, runs mark, and at-bats in team history. The freshman is hitting .348 with 50 runs batted in with one game remaining on the regular season schedule. Stott leads the league in hits with 97.
Anchoring the team at first base, Stekl is batting a team-high .365 with five home runs and 52 runs batted in. After his 18th double of the season on Sunday, Stekl is tied for the team lead with Woodcock. The infielder is third in the league with 91 hits.
In his third season with the Rafters, Woodcock has been a staple in the team’s lineup. The outfielder has 10 home runs and 57 runs batted in this season. In his Rafters career, Woodcock has amassed 105 runs batted in to make him the only player in team history to record over 100 RBI’s.
Breaking the team’s record for most wins in a season, Slinger finishes the regular season with an 8-1 record and a 2.71 ERA. In his last start before the playoffs, Slinger pitched six innings of two-run baseball in Rockford to earn his record eighth win. The sophomore has six starts of over six innings pitched, with only three earned runs in that span of 36.1 innings. On the year, Slinger has ten starts in in 63 innings, compiling 31 strikeouts while walking just 11 batters.
Carranza joined the team in mid-June, and pitched to a perfect 6-0 record in eight appearances. The sophomore holds an ERA of 2.73 with 46 innings and 44 strikeouts. In six appearances this year, Carranza pitched six or more innings and finished second on the team in ERA.
Joining Carranza with a perfect record on the pitching staff, Eagan ends the regular season 7-0 with a 3.08 ERA. The lefty has 66 strikeouts in 61.2 innings, the second highest strikeout total in the league. Six of Eagan’s 12 starts lasted six or more innings, highlighted by a one-hitter through seven innings this season.
Rafter’s third year manager Craig Noto of the defending Summer Collegiate World Series Champions is the 2017 Manager of the Year. Noto has led the Rafters to four straight half championships dating back to last season. Noto is the winningest coach in franchise history with 135 victories. The Rafters currently have the best overall record in the league at 51-20.
Earning Coach of the Year for the second straight year is Rafters pitching coach John Halama. The former Major League pitcher has guided the Wisconsin Rapids pitching staff now for three seasons, winning the award in back-to-back years. The Rafters pitching staff holds the fourth best team ERA in the league at 3.79 with the second least amount of earned runs allowed. Opponents are hitting just .239 against the pitching staff.
Rafter’s broadcaster Mick Tidrow has been recognized by his peers as Play-by-Play Announcer of the year, marking the second straight year the team’s broadcaster has won the award.
Outside of Wisconsin Rapids, Rochester first baseman Zach Zubia was named the league’s Most Valuable Player and St. Cloud’s Aaron Rozek was named Pitcher of the Year as voted by the League’s coaches and members of the media.
Zubia (Texas) won the MVP award by being among the league leaders for offense in the Northwoods League. Zubia, a freshman, was also a mid-season All-Star as well as a selection for the Major League Dreams Showcase. He currently has a league record 22 home runs and leads the league with 62 RBI. Zubia is a native of Richmond, Texas.
Rozek (Minnesota State University) was named the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Year. Rozek, a junior, appeared in 10 games and went 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He also struck out a league-high 78 batters in 64 innings. He was also a mid-season All-Star selection. Rozek hails from Burnsville, Minnesota.
Kalamazoo Growlers infielder Connor Hollis (Houston) was also selected for the team and is currently hitting a league leading .384 for the season. To view the entire list, visit raftersbaseball.com or northwoodsleague.com.