MADISON, Wis-- The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (7-4) found a rhythm early and never looked back on their way to an emphatic 12-5 victory over the Madison Mallards (6-5) Saturday night.
CJ Willis got the scoring started with a bang when he launched a solo home run over the left-field wall in the second inning. Richie Schiekofer doubled later in the inning to bring in a run and make it 2-0 Rafters.
The Rafters added another pair of runs in the third inning on an error and an RBI by Matt Oldham. Despite Madison getting on the board in the fourth, the Rafters took a 6-1 lead a half-inning later with another RBI by Oldham and a single by Roman Trujillo.
Davion Downey drove in a run with a triple in the sixth inning and came around to score on an error to put the Rafters on top 8-2. Madison scored in the bottom of the inning, but the Rafters put the game out of reach in the eighth with a big, four-run frame.
Edarian Williams and Harry Fullerton each notched RBIs in the eighth and Cody Turner pitched a scoreless ninth inning as the Rafters held on to win 12-5. Rafters starter Neil Abbatiello pitched two shutout innings and reliever Cal Djuraskovic earns the win.
The Rafters are now 4-3 against the Mallards this season and move into sole possession of second place in the Great Lakes West Division. The two teams go head-to-head on Sunday as Wisconsin Rapids looks to ride a win into the all-star break.
The Rafters have four players representing the Cranberry and Gold at the Northwoods League All-Star Game in Waterloo, Iowa. Outfielder Richie Schiekofer and catcher Jake Dunham, along with pitchers Abbatiello and Matt Osterberg were selected.
When the team returns to Historic Witter Field on July 18, there will be a special guest appearance by former Packer and Super Bowl champion Nick Collins, presented by Solarus, as the Rafters take on the Kenosha Kingfish.