NWL Roundup 7/17

St. Cloud 7 – Rochester 2

Rochester sent one of its seven All-Stars to the mound in Zach Robertson (Iowa) to face the River Bats, but the bats couldn’t help him out as the Honker ace allowed three runs in six innings. Rochester nearly rallied back and did make the score 3-2 heading to the ninth, but St. Cloud posted four runs in the top of the ninth to end any hope of a rally and seal the 7-2 victory. Rochester fell to 10-5 in the second half while St. Cloud is now 8-5. Robertson retired the first six men he faced but the River Bats broke through against him in the third. Tony Renda (California) led off the inning, and blasted a ball well over the wall in left-center to give the Bats a 1-0 lead. St. Cloud would push across single runs in each of the next two innings, both with the leadoff man reaching base and eventually coming around to score. Robertson’s day ended after the six, and he allowed three runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Meanwhile the Honkers struggled for the second consecutive night against St. Cloud’s starting pitching. Pedro Ramos (Glendale CC) gave up a single to Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) and a double to Rance Roundy (UNLV) both in the first inning, but escaped damage there and was untouchable for the rest of his day. He pitched seven full innings and allowed only one hit and a walk over the final six innings he pitched. But the Honkers did nearly climb back against the bullpen in the eighth inning. Facing Xavier Esquivel (Loyola Marymount), Rochester started the inning with a single and a walk before a fielder’s choice and a strikeout got them down to their final out of the inning. Tony Thompson (Kansas) came through with a two-run double off the wall in right-center that nearly got over the fence and tied the game to make it a 3-2 score. Esquivel would recover, however, and strike out Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) to end the inning. Riley Bevill (Oregon) came on to pitch the ninth for Rochester and try to hold the lead, but some miscues on bunt attempts led to a rough outing. After giving up a leadoff double, the River Bats attempted to bunt the runner to third, but Christ Auten (New Mexico State) picked the ball up and unsuccessfully tried to get the out at third and both runners were safe. A passed ball on Aaron Johnson (Illinois) allowed one run to score and a walk and a single later brought in another run to make it 5-2. But the big blow came on the next batter when Brian Humphries (Pepperdine) attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Thompson charged in and played it with a bare hand, but his throw skipped by first base and down toward the Honker bullpen, allowing two unearned runs to score and give St. Cloud a 7-2 lead. Bevill would get the next three batters out to escape the inning without further damage, but the Honker bats couldn’t muster any runs in the bottom of the ninth. Ramos got the win to move to 3-2 while the loss went to Robertson, sending him to 4-2 on the year. Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) went 3-for-5 with a run and two RBI for the St. Cloud, while Renda added two runs and an RBI on his 2-for-4 performance. Thompson had the best day at the plate for Rochester, going 1-for-3 with the two RBI.

Duluth 4 – Brainerd 3

The Duluth Huskies scored the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Lunkers, 4-3 and split the series at Wade Stadium. A one-out double followed by an infield single and defensive error allowed the winning run to score. Prior to that, the Lunkers used some ninth inning heroics of their own to tie the game. Trailing, 3-1 in the top of the ninth, two consecutive walks led to an RBI groundout to cut the lead to one. Then, pinch-hitter Nate Hammes (St. Cloud State) dumped a single between three men in shallow right field to tie the game. That would be the final highlight for the Lunkers though. Starter Kyle Spurley lasted six innings, allowed three runs, and struck out five in the no decision. Mike Frongello (Davidson) was tagged with the loss in relief. Duluth was led by great pitching off the arm of Tyler Clark (Missouri) who went 8 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and striking out 6. Matt Patterson (Creighton) recorded his fifth win of the season. Zach Walters (San Diego) went 2-5 with a double, triple, and an RBI, while both Scott Sommerfeld (Parkway South H.S.) and Nick McCoy (San Diego) had 2 hits apiece including a double.

Green Bay 7 – Madison 2

It took just one swing of the bat on Friday night for Jacob House to become the man of the hour. His grand slam propelled the Green Bay Bullfrogs to a 7-2 victory and a series sweep over the Madison Mallards inside Warner Park. House (Arkansas) unloaded on his first pitch during the fifth inning sending it deep over the right field wall. All three Bullfrogs on base were able to watch it fly after they each reached on a walk. It was his second homer of the season and the first four-run bomb by a Green Bay (6-8, 20-27) player this year. He also added a RBI-double in the seventh frame to drive in his fifth run of the night. As House put on a show, Green Bay starting pitcher Brent Ebinger (Lambuth) quietly put together a strong pitching performance. Throughout his five innings on the mound, he scattered eight hits and sat down seven Madison (8-6, 27-21) hitters to earn the victory, his third of the season. Collin Kuhn (Arkansas) scored three times on the evening, while House crossed the plate twice for the Bullfrogs. The Arkansas combo accounted for five of Green Bay’s seven runs. In addition, Kuhn nabbed two bases. House has put together an impressive resume over the last five games. Entering July 13 he was hitting .167 and thanks to a pair of homers and two-consecutive three hit ballgames, he has raised his batting average over 100 points to .275. Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) and John Hicks (Virginia) each had two hits to lead the Mallards lineup. Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) was roughed up through six innings allowing three hits, four runs, and walking six batters. He did, however, strike out eight as he was credited with the loss. The Bullfrogs bullpen – Tyler Lorenz (UW-Stevens Point) and Alex Schmarzo (Saint Mary’s) – combined to toss four innings of hitless ball to preserve the win. Brashad Johnson (Des Moines Area CC) helped put the first run on the board for either squad, with a RBI single to give Madison a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Kurtis Muller (Iowa) was platted on a Patterson RBI single to cut the Mallards deficit to 4-2 after five frames of play. Green Bay tacked on two runs in the seventh and another in the ninth to push its lead out of reach. Riley Henricks (Portland) hit a RBI single, while Paul Hoenecke (UW-Milwaukee) had a sacrifice fly.

Thunder Bay 4 – Waterloo 3

Adam Courcha (New Mexico) delivered a two-run single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as Thunder Bay rallied to beat Waterloo 4-3.  Border Cats pitcher Matt Robertson (Barton CC) who was in as a pinch runner, scored the winning run as Thunder Bay evened its record at 7-7. Walker Moore (Cal St. Fullerton) and Matty Johnson (Bellevue) both had two hits for the Border Cats. Willie Argo (Illinois) tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning with a two-run double for the Bucks, and Jason Krizan (Dallas Baptist) went 2-5 with a run scored as Waterloo fell to 8-6.  Reliever Tim Combs (Eastern Michigan) picked up his first win of the season for Thunder Bay.  Tim Ryan (Minnesota) allowed two runs (one earned) in the last of the ninth to take the loss, dropping his record to 1-1.

Eau Claire 6 – Battle Creek 5 (13 Inn.)

The Eau Claire Express and Battle Creek Bombers battled into the thirteenth inning before the Express became victorious 6-5. Kole Calhoun (Arizona St.), in his third season with the Express, has proven to be one of the most dominant players in the Northwoods League. That dominance was put on display Friday night. With the Express short on pitchers and in extra innings, Calhoun was given the ball in the eleventh inning. He went three innings, gave up no hits and was only in trouble because he walked three batters.  But in the end, it was Calhoun’s bat that made the most noise Friday night. In the bottom of the thirteenth inning, with two outs, Calhoun came to bat. He fell behind 0-2 but battled back to 2-2. He took the next pitch over the right-center field fence for a walk-off home run.Trent Blank (Baylor) started on the mound and went six innings and allowed three runs.  He left with the lead so he was in line for the win. Chevy Tollefson (MATC), the Eau Claire native made his Express debut relieving Blank in the seventh inning.  Tollefson pitched a scoreless seventh but struggled in the eighth inning.  The Bombers scored two runs off of Tollefson to tie the game even though only one of them was earned.  Ian Campbell (Yavapai) came on to get the Express out of the inning. Express closer Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) pitched a scoreless ninth and tenth inning before Calhoun took over. Calhoun finished the night a single short of the cycle.

Wisconsin 7 – La Crosse 0

The Wisconsin Woodchucks put up seven runs in the bottom of the seventh and Kyle Gumieny was nearly flawless on the mound as the Woodchucks defeated the La Crosse Loggers 7-0 Friday night at Athletic Park. The Loggers were limited to no runs and just two hits by the Gumieny, a 2008 NWL All-Star. Logger starter Madison Boer and Gumieny locked up in a classic pitcher’s dual on an unseasonably cool July night, as both teams were scoreless through the first six innings.  Wausau would bust loose in the seventh though, scoring all of their seven runs off of Boer and reliever Jordan McClintick.  Gumieny would then finish off the Lumbermen with a scoreless eighth and ninth for the victory.

Mankato 5 – Alexandria 4 (12 Inn.)

With two out in the twelfth inning, Mankato’s Brenden Webb (Palomar CC) hit a solo homerun to right-center field, proving to be the game winning run. Alexandria had their chances to walk off, but reliever Jimmy Patterson (Central Arizona CC) mowed through the Beetles order, and usual starter and all-star pitcher James Wise (Washington State) closed out the last two innings, picking up the win. The Beetles jumped out in front first, getting a run in the fourth inning on a Tim Griffin (Rollins) wild pitch. Mankato would answer in the sixth, getting two back on a Jimmy Patterson homerun off of Beetle’s starter Erik Johnson (Cal).  The MoonDogs would plate two more, unearned runs in the seventh against reliever Bryce Uhrig (Pepperdine), and took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. But the Beetles had an answer, getting three runs back against Griffin and reliever Alex Burgos (Manatee CC).  Mike O’Neill (USC) chipped in with a two-RBI infield single, and the tying run scored on another wild pitch. The game remained tied through the eighth and ninth innings.  Then, both teams went down in the tenth.  Again in the elventh. Finally in the twelfth, after two quick outs were recorded, Webb launched a 2-1 pitch offered by Kevin Vangheluwe (Michigan) over the fence, his first blast of the year.