The Bismarck Larks fell to the La Crosse Loggers in the first game of a two-game road series in La Crosse, Wisconsin Friday night. As they start off the four-game roadstand with a loss the Larks will have the opportunity to tie the series between the two teams in the second game on Saturday evening.
What’s Next: The Larks face off against the Loggers again on Saturday evening at 6:05 for the second and final game of the series before traveling to Mankato.
How It Happened: It only took five pitches to load the bases in the bottom of the first as the leadoff batter reached on an error before the second batter singled through the left side. On the fifth pitch Gavin Rogers threw, Brett Hawkins drilled one that went off of him and trickled away for an infield hit. Rogers did a good job limiting the damage as he got two groundouts, one to third the other to short. One run scored on the grounder to short before Rogers struck out the sixth batter he faced in the inning on just his 13th pitch.
With the score 1-0, the Loggers then doubled their lead in the second inning. Rogers retired the first two in the inning but a two-out walk came back to haunt him as Cody Jeffries doubled down the right field line that scored Levi Usher from first to make it 2-0 after two innings.
In the top of the third inning the Larks finally got something going, after Jacob Rogers lead off with a walk, Jack Chernow singled before Zack Gregory doubled down the first base line to score a run. Unfortunately, the Larks left Chernow and Gregory stranded at second and third with nobody out in the inning though.
In a 2-1 ballgame, the Loggers then scored two in the fifth inning courtesy of a two-run home run from TJ Byrd off of Gavin Rogers. Rogers escaped a jam in that same inning that seemed to start some momentum for the Larks.
That momentum was crushed though in the top of the sixth. After Ronnie McBride lead things off with a walk and stole second, Brian Leonhardt grounded into a 4-3-2 double play that was the biggest defensive play of the game for the Loggers. McBride who has scored from second base on infield hits before this season, was unsuccessful on this try. The Loggers second baseman Brett Hawkins made a great diving play to take away a hit from Leonhardt before the first baseman Tony Bullard fired a bullet to the plate to cut down McBride and complete the double play.
Then of course the Loggers came through with another two-out RBI to increase their lead to 5-1 through six innings. That was all for Gavin Rogers on the hill as he allowed nine hits in the ballgame in his six innings but just four earned runs while he attacked the zone all evening as he threw 68 percent of his pitches for strikes and he struck out three batters.
The Larks got one back in the seventh on a wild pitch to make it 5-2 before Alex Winslow gave up a solo home run on the first pitch of his outing to complete the final score of 6-2 Loggers. Winslow settled in after the big hit going the final two innings just allowing that one hit and striking out three.
Inside The Boxscore: Zack Gregory walked for his Northwoods League lead 16th time on Friday and also picked up his 10th RBI of the season to move into the top six in the league with his fellow teammates, Brian Leonhardt (10), Brody Tanksley (12) and Wyatt Ulrich (15).