Rafter fail to make postseason: Multiple players signed to MLB
For the Rapids City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – After a record-setting 52-20 2017 campaign, the Rafters had high expectations for 2018. While the cranberry and gold failed to make their third consecutive postseason appearance, the club saw multiple players signed by major league teams and set forth a winning record at Witter Field for a third straight year.
The 2018 squad was managed by Craig Noto, in his fourth year at the helm. He was joined by new assistants in Joe Haumacher and Brink Ambler.
First Half, 15-20
The season started for Wisconsin Rapids in Madison facing the Mallards at Warner Park. The Rafters split the season-opening series with Madison and became road warriors early in the year winning five of their first seven road games. Going into the first off day of the season, the Rafters were 12-8 through the first 20 games of the 2018 campaign.
June brought the MLB Draft and Wisconsin Rapids was well represented. In all, 13 Rafters were selected by Major League Baseball organizations including two 2018 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Pitchers Charlie Ruegger (Stevens Institute of Technology) and Justin Wilson (Vanderbilt) were both selected by the New York Yankees. Within the Yankees minor league system, Wilson is currently playing for the Pulaski Yankees while Ruegger is with the Gulf Coast League Yankees East club.
The first half brought some great performances such as Brody Wofford’s (University of Central Florida) three home-run day against the Kalamazoo Growlers and Mitch Mallek’s (St. Cloud State) eleven-game hitting streak to start the year.
Even with .500 first half, the Rafters’ talent was recognized by the Northwoods League with five players sent to the 2018 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Kalamazoo, MI. Pitchers Trayson Kubo (Stephen F. Austin) and Mason McReaken (SIU Edwardsville) represented the Rafters on the mound, while outfielder Brody Wofford (University of Central Florida), catcher Ty Duvall (Vanderbilt), and infielder Jack-Thomas Wold (UNLV) were the position players chosen.
Wofford and Wold were also selected to the home run derby. The South Division defeated the North Division 2-1, with Mason McReaken earning the win. Combined, Kubo and McReaken threw 2.1 scoreless frames.
Second Half, 19-17
The Rafters won five of their first nine second half games to create a push for a second half division title. Starter Trayson Kubo was a big part of the second half push with a scoreless innings streak of 16.2 frames. Kubo ultimately finished with a 6-2 record and a 1.47 ERA.
The cranberry and gold had to bid a bittersweet farewell to clubhouse leader Mason McReaken who signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Braves. McReaken is currently part of the Danville Braves bullpen and has a save in 5.2 relief innings in the minors.
Wisconsin Rapids had three players chosen to the Major League Dreams Showcase in Ty Duvall, Trayson Kubo, and Jack-Thomas Wold. Duvall went two-for-two with an RBI, Wold scored a run while working a walk. Kubo started the game for the South Division home team and earned the win with a scoreless inning. The Rafters ended the season with a 20-15 record at Witter Field — their third straight season of 20 or more home wins.
While Wisconsin Rapids could not claim their third-straight postseason berth, two Rafters were selected to the 2018 Postseason All-Star Team — Trayson Kubo and Jack-Thomas Wold. Kubo and Wold were the only Rafters to be selected to the All-Star Game, Major League Dreams Showcase, and Postseason All-Star Team.
Team leader for regular season
Notable Hitting Leaders:
Jack-Thomas Wold (UNLV): .267 AVG, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 35 R, 69 H, 16 2B
Brody Wofford (UCF): .283 AVG, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 38 R, 58 H 16 2B, 3B, 32 BB
Ty Duvall (Vanderbilt): .268 AVG, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 29 R, 44 H, 9 2B, 46 BB
Mitch Mallek (St. Cloud State): .293 AVG, HR, 24 RBI, 32 R, 56 H, 12 2B
Jake Dunham (Northern Illinois): .291 AVG, HR, 20 RBI, 32 R, 52 H, 12 2B, 37 BB
Steven Rivas (Long Beach State): .213 AVG, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 29 R, 38 H, 8 2B, 3B
Notable Pitching Leaders:
Trayson Kubo (Stephen F. Austin): 6-2, 1.47 ERA, 55.0 IP, 53 K, 10 GS
Chandler Greenfield (Dixie State): 3-1, 2.86 ERA, 50.1 IP, 45 K, 6 GS, 12 APP
Gareth Stroh (Purdue): 3-1, 3.44 ERA, 49.2 IP, 39 K, 9 GS
Jonathan Hernandez (Chapman): 17 APP, 1.07 ERA, 42.0 IP, 37 K, SV
Mason McReaken (SIUE): 20 APP, 1.55 ERA, 29.0 IP, 38 K, 4 SV
Hunter Waldis (Seton Hall): 22 APP, 2.73 ERA, 29.2 IP, 45 K, 2 SV