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NWL Roundup 8/6

Green Bay 8 – Battle Creek 6

Nick O’Shea became the star on Thursday with his only hit of the evening, a triple, to complete a come from behind ninth inning rally for an 8-6 Green Bay win over Battle Creek inside C.O. Brown Stadium.  With the contest tied a six runs apiece in the ninth inning, O’Shea (Minnesota) roped the first pitch of his at-bat to right field driving home Jared Andreoli (Western Kentucky) and Riley Henricks (Portland). It was O’Shea’s only hit of the game and while he will receive most of the publicity, it was a collective team effort that earned the victory. Green Bay’s (15-17, 29-36) second baseman, Henricks, began the final frame rally by patiently waiting out a six-pitch bases loaded RBI walk, scoring Aaron Conway (Missouri State), for the first run. Two batters later, Jacob House (Arkansas) drove home Collin Kuhn (Arkansas) on a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at six runs each. It was the next pitch that doomed Battle Creek (15-17, 36-29) as O’Shea drove home the winning runs. The top of the Bullfrogs lineup combined to go 6-for-14 on the night, as Joel Hutter (Des Moines Area CC), Conway, and Kuhn each tallied two hits. Pat Wolard (St. Cloud State) also had two hits, while Henricks was the top scorer with two runs. Green Bay has belted out 23 hits – 11 on Wednesday and 12 on Thursday – over the first two games of the four-game series with Battle Creek. Alex Schmarzo (Saint Mary’s) tossed the ninth frame to pick up the victory. Battle Creeks’ Mike Murphy (Arizona State) led its lineup with a 3-for-5 performance, including a run scored and a RBI. Chris Lewis (Western Michigan) added two hits, two RBIs, and a run scored. Kuhn laid down a perfect bunt to reach base on a single in the opening inning. As he was making it to first, the Bombers pitcher made an errant throw allowing Hutter to score the games first run and to give Green Bay a 1-0 lead. During the second, the Bullfrogs did it again. As Conway was stealing second base Battle Creek made an attempt to catch him stealing. While he safely reached for a steal, Wolard stole home to give Green Bay a 2-0 advantage. Battle Creek answered with two runs in the third inning to tie the contest at two runs apiece. Murphy ripped a triple to right-center field to score Alan Denman (USC-Sumter). Lewis followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Murphy. The Bombers tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to take a 4-2 lead. Lewis drove in a run with a single to center field and scored a run on a throwing error. Green Bay responded with a pair of runs in the sixth inning for the games second tie, 4-4. Hutter laced a two-out bases loaded two-RBI single to left field. Henricks and Kyle Robinson (Indian River State College) each scored on the hit after reaching on singles. Battle Creek reclaimed the lead with a run in its half of the inning, along with a score in the seventh for a two-run lead, 6-4.  During the sixth Greg Annarummo (Elon) drove home Larry Perry (USC-Beaufort) on a sacrifice fly. Joe Van Meter (Virginia Commonwealth) scored on a Perry RBI single in the seventh. Atlee Pearson (Erskine College) took the loss after throwing one inning on the hill.

Rochester 12 – Madison 2

Zach Robertson (Iowa) entered Thursday night’s game five short of the all-time record for career strikeouts in the Northwoods League, which had stood at 245, and racked up 11 strikeouts in six excellent innings as the Honkers cruised to a 12-2 victory over the Madison Mallards. Robertson got his first four outs by way of the strikeout and fanned six straight batters at one point in the Honker win as he set a new league record with 251 total K’s. With the win the Honkers are now 22-10 in the second half and Madison fell to 16-13. St. Cloud also lost earlier in the night, cutting the magic number for the Honkers to clinch a playoff berth to just one. The La Crosse Loggers also won, and knocked Madison out of first place in the South Division. After giving up a single to start the game, Robertson struck out the side in the first inning to set the tone of the game. He kept the Mallards off the board until the fourth, when he issued a walk and gave up a two-run homer to Adam McClain (Memphis) that would end up being the only runs for the Mallards. He seemed to settle into a groove after that, and struck out the final batter he faced in the fourth before fanning the side in order in the fifth before striking out the first two he faced in the sixth inning as well. The final batter he faced grounded out to end his six innings of work, in which he fanned the 11 and allowed just two runs on four hits while walking four. He earned the win to move to 5-3 on the year, and cap his record-setting day with a critical win that put the Honkers just a win away from the postseason. He got to pitch with a lead almost the entire night as well, as the Honkers greeted Madison starter Matt Jansen (Purdue) with three runs in the first. Jansen actually pitched very well, and allowed just two hits over the first five innings, but after he hit a batter and issued a walk in the first, Danny Brock (St. Louis) lifted a high fly ball just over the wall in left for a three-run homer to put Rochester on top 3-0. The home run that Robertson gave up in the fourth cut the score 3-2, but the Honkers surged in the second half to turn the pitcher’s duel into a rout. Jansen entered the sixth with a two-hitter, but Rance Roundy (UNLV), Brock and Danny Pulfer (Oregon) all singled against him in the frame around two hit batsmen and a two walks to chase him from the mound. The final batter he faced was Scott Berke (UNLV), who walked with the bases loaded, and Ross Hellenbrand (Winona State) came on in relief and walked John Tommasini (Oregon State) to bring another run home. When the inning finally ended the Honkers had scored five runs to expand their lead to 8-2, and they only padded it from there. Hellenbrand would finish the game, but Rochester touched him for two more runs in the seventh and another pair on Corey Jones’s (Cal State Fullerton) league-leading 13th home run in the eighth to cap the scoring at 12-2. Riley Bevill (Oregon) pitched the final three innings for the Honkers in relief of Robertson, and didn’t always have great command but battled to pitch three hitless, scoreless innings to earn his first save. Jansen took the loss to fall to 6-3, and ended up allowing eight runs on five hits over 5.2 innings. Danny Brock paced the offense with a 3-for-5 performance in which he homered, scored three runs and drove in four. Roundy and Jones also scored three runs for the Honkers, and Danny Pulfer was the only other Honker batter with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI. McClain led the Madison offense, driving in their only runs with his home run. With the win the Honkers now have clinched home field advantage in the playoffs against every potential opponent except for Mankato and La Crosse, against both of whom the magic number for home field advantage is one.

Brainerd 6 – St. Cloud 2

A 2-RBI double blasted to centerfield off the bat of Hunter Nolen (Northern Colorado) dropped the St. Cloud River Bats for good, and gave the Lunkers the 6-2 win in front of 593 fans at Mills Field. The victory is the Lunkers fifth in a row, which is a franchise best. The River Bats plated the first run of the night in the second to take the lead. A leadoff single led to an RBI groundout to put St. Cloud on top. Two innings later though, the Lunkers tied the game on Nate Hammes’ (St. Cloud State) RBI fielder’s choice that scored Mike Gedman (UMass). For much of the game, a pitcher’s duel ensued. Charlie Henderson (Regis), who made his first start of the year, tossed seven innings, allowed six hits, just one run, and struck out three in the victory. In three of his seven innings, Henderson sat down the Bats in order, 1-2-3. In the sixth, the Lunkers took the lead. A one-out walk issued to Dennis O’Grady (Duke) set up Mike Gedman’s second single of the night, and Hunter Nolen scored O’Grady on a sacrifice fly into center. With two outs in the eighth though, the lumber came alive. Dennis O’Grady picked up his second hit of the night, and Mike Gedman followed with another hit himself. Nolen’s huge double then followed. However, the Lunkers weren’t done. Pinch-hitter Brenden Furrow (Concordia-St. Paul) drove a pitch to the right center gap that fell and brought home Nolen and Nate Hammes to complete the four-run eighth inning. Mike Gedman finished 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, while Hunter Nolen finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and a run scored. Dennis O’Grady also chipped in two hits in the victory.

Mankato 5 – Duluth 3

The Duluth Huskies (10-21) lost to the Mankato MoonDogs (15-16) 5-3 on Thursday night.  Starting pitcher RJ Fondon (Florida Intl) threw 7 innings giving up 5 runs on 11 hits.  Matt Harrison (UNC) came into the game in the 8th inning and threw 2 shutout innings. The Huskies scored 3 runs on 10 hits during the game.  Pete Cappetta (Illinois) led the team going 2 for 3 with an RBI.  Zac Elgie (Kansas) Jeff Reynolds (Harvard) each had an RBI double.

Thunder Bay 11 – Alexandria 2

Playoffs are now but an afterthought. Now, the Beetles are just trying not to be on the wrong end of crooked scores.  Again on Thursday, Thunder Bay ousted Alexandria 11-2, handing the Beetles their third straight loss and eliminating them from playoff contention. The Border Cats posted single runs in the second and fourth innings before exploding for five unearned runs in the sixth, knocking Erik Johnson (Cal-Berkeley) from the game.  The knock-out blow, a three-run homer from Matty Johnson (Bellevue) to cap off that explosive inning. Trailing 7-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, Mike O’Neill (USC) answered with a solo homer to centerfield. In the seventh, Alexandria cut the deficit to 7-2, but left two runners stranded in the inning.  Thunder Bay would tack on three more runs in the ninth to pull away 11-2. The win knocks the Beetles out of the playoff hunt; Rochester’s magic number to clinch the second half North title is down to one.

La Crosse 11 – Eau Claire 2

The La Crosse Loggers scored early and late to dominate the Eau Claire Express 11-2 in a much needed win for the Loggers.  The Express are playing for home field advantage, but the Loggers have a little more at stake as they are trying to play their way into the playoffs.  They made a pretty good statement Thursday night.  La Crosse scored one run in the first, four runs in the second and two in the third inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead after three innings.  They added three more runs in the seventh and one more in the ninth. Eau Claire starting pitcher Chevy Tollefson (MATC) struggled early and only last three innings for the Express.  He surrendered seven earned runs and allowed eight hits.  The Express bullpen kept the game within reach for a little bit, but they simply ran out of gas as the game wore on. Will Fadness (South Mountain CC) made his Express debut in a pinch hit effort in the ninth inning.  Will becomes the fourth Fadness brother to play for the Express and he joins his brother Nolan on the team for the remainder of the season. 

Wisconsin 9 – Waterloo 0

Kyle Gumieny (Southeast Missouri State) threw his second shutout of the season and the ‘Chucks offense posted a season-high 16 hits as the Wisconsin Woodchucks dominated the Waterloo Bucks in a 9-0 victory Thursday night. The Woodchucks had an offensive outburst that consistently put up runs against the league’s worst pitching staff. The Woodchucks scored in all but three innings in the game en route to the victory. The ‘Chucks notched a pair of runs in the first when Chad Wright (Kentucky) started things off with a single and Travis Whitmore (Pittsburgh) followed with a double as both runners came across to score to give the Woodchucks a 2-0 lead after just an inning of play. In the second, Wright stuck again, this time with the longball as he launched a two-run home run over the right field wall to give the Woodchucks a 4-0 advantage. The Woodchucks added single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings as they continued to pull away from the Bucks. In the eighth, Wright recorded his fifth hit of the game and Whitmore his fourth, as the Woodchucks tallied two more runs and extended their lead to 9-0. Gumieny did the rest, shutting down the Bucks in front of a season-high 4,080 fans at Riverfront Stadium. Wright, who was a double short of the cycle, finished 5-for-6 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Whitmore also had a big night, ending 4-for-5 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Carson Vitale (Creighton) pitched in three hits in the victory. Josh Lyon went 2-for-4 to lead the way offensively for the Bucks in the loss. Gumieny, who lowered his ERA to 2.54 with the win, went the distance and scattered seven hits while striking out eight. Lenny Linsky suffered his sixth loss of the year after allowing five runs on seven hits in four innings of work.