La Crosse 11 – Waterloo 10
Saturday night the La Crosse Loggers took on the Waterloo Bucks in what could be the Northwoods League game of the year. La Crosse successfully completed yet another ninth inning walk off win as they took down the Bucks 11-10 infront of the remaining 4,256 fans in attendance at Copeland Park. La Crosse would take an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when Blair Moore (San Diego St.) drove in a run on his opposite field single. The Bucks would eventually get a run in each the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning to take a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. La Crosse finally found some offense though in the bottom of the eighth as they faced three different Waterloo pitchers. The lumbermen would score three runs to take a 4-3 lead before catcher Rob Brantly got up with two outs and picked up his fourth hit of the game, this one being a two run home run which gave the Loggers a 6-3 lead heading into the ninth inning. The Bucks were not ready to give up quite yet though as they were able to score seven runs in the top of the ninth to take a 10-6 lead. In the inning, Waterloo was able to earn all seven of their runs on seven hits against Loggers closer Craig Crumbly (Florida Gulf Coast). Being down four runs many fans made their way to the exit, a decision they would soon regret. Aaron Gates (Pepperdine) led off the bottom of the ninth for La Crosse and drew a walk against Waterloo’s Zach Cooper (Central Michigan). After Nick Baligod (Oral Roberts) struck out, Robert Abel (San Francisco), and Blair Moore both drew full count walks. Gates would score the first run of the inning after scoring on a wild pitch to batter Boomer Collins (Nebraska). Collins would then drive in Robert Abel with an RBI single to close the gap to two. Zach Cooper was able to pick up the second out of the inning when he struck out Austin Knight leaving it all up to the Loggers designated hitter Chris Engell (San Diego). With two out and two runners on, Engell was able to take a 1-0 pitch from Cooper out of the ballpark for a walk-off three run home run for La Crosse. The walk-off home run by Engell may be the teams biggest hit of the season as they picked up the win to keep their half game lead over the Madison Mallards who also were winners on Saturday night against the Eau Claire Express. Making his case for team MVP, if not league MVP, was Loggers catcher Rob Brantly who went 4-5 hitting his sixth home run of the season and driving in his team high 34th RBI of the season. Chris Engell stole the show for La Crosse though making the most of his only hit of the game by hitting the game winning home run. Loggers starting pitcher Richie Erath (Florida Gulf Coast) didn’t figure into the decision but pitched seven strong innings allowing six hits and three runs. Craig Crumbly, despite allowing seven runs on as many hits, picked up his second win of the season for La Crosse.
Thunder Bay 6 – Duluth 0
The Duluth Huskies (10-23) got shutout by the Thunder Bay Border Cats (17-15) by a final score of 6-0. Border Cats starting pitcher Randy Mower (St Josephs) threw a complete game only allowing 4 hits. Drew Erwin (Nicholls State) pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two for his 4th save. Matty Johnson (Bellevue) raised his average to .339, going 3-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. A.J. Schugel (Central Arizona College) knocked in three runs as he went 1-4 with a sacrifice fly and Sean Claugherty (St. Scholastica) had a 2-5 night with a run scored. Huskies starting pitcher Drew Smyly (Arkansas) went 6 innings giving up 5 runs on 9 hits. Josh Foreman (UMD) pitched the remainder of the game allowing 1 run on 3 hits. The Huskies Pete Cappetta (Illinois) was their only bright spot at the plate going 3 for 3. Jared Womack (Oklahoma St) hit a double getting the Huskies only other hit.
Madison 3 – Eau Claire 1
Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) dominated on the mound en route to a Mallards’ sweep of Eau Claire after a 3-1 win in front of 7,441 at the “Duck Pond” on Saturday night. Rivers nearly went the distance only to be replaced by Patrick Lala (Kirkwood CC) after one hitter in the ninth. He picked up his fourth win of the season after eight strong innings, allowing a run on seven hits while striking out five and walking just two. Rivers retired six of the last seven batters he faced and kept Madison in contention for a playoff spot with two games left to play. Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) helped the Mallards pick up where they left off last night by smacking a single to right field and eventually coming around to score on a couple of Eau Claire errors, giving the Mallards an early, 1-0, lead in the first. Adam McClain (Memphis) continues to find his stroke as he blasted a two-run shot into the visitor’s bullpen in right center field in the fourth, giving the Mallards a 3-0 lead. It was his seventh homer of the year. With one out in the top of the fifth, the Express strung together a walk and two singles to load the bases for the clean-up hitter, Nate Baumann (Augustana), who homered and drove in three on Friday night. Rivers who had gotten out of two jams already in the game, did so again with a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and preserve the lead. The defense behind Rivers played a key role as well and turned in another good effort in the field, converting two double plays including one to end the game on a line out to the Mallard first baseman, Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana). Immekus said he’s also impressed by the way Rivers has matured mentally. After the final out was recorded, PA announcer Aaron Sims relayed the score from Copeland Park, where the La Crosse Loggers were hosting Waterloo and the score at the time read Waterloo 10, La Crosse 6. After La Crosse had stormed back with a five-run eighth, the Bucks answered with a seven-run ninth to take the lead. It seemed as if the Mallards would jump back into first place at night’s end, but La Crosse wasn’t finished. They scored five in the ninth and capped it off with a Chris Engell three-run home run to walk off with the 11-10 victory. It was Engell’s only hit of the night and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Madison remains one-half game behind La Crosse in the South Division standings with two games left to play.
Wisconsin 5 – Mankato 2
The Wisconsin Woodchucks came into Franklin Rogers Park needing to win out to make the playoffs. Despite being eliminated, the Woodchucks put up a fight, sweeping the MoonDogs with a 5-2 victory at Franklin Rogers Park on Saturday evening. Bryce Shafer (Valparaiso) did his part on the mound for the ‘Chucks, as he threw a complete game while striking out eight to move to 4-3 on the summer. It was the second complete game of the summer. Chad Wright (Kentucky), Travis Whitmore (Pittsburgh) and Ben Long (UW-Milwaukee) all recorded two hits for the Woodchucks (29-36, 16-15). The two Woodchuck wins marked the first time the MoonDogs were swept at home during 2009. After the Woodchucks took a 1-0 lead in the first, the MoonDogs (38-28, 15-18) responded for two in the third frame. Taylor Black (Kentucky) singled and stole second before Ryan Durant (Iowa) brought him in with a single. KC Serna (Oregon) came through two batters later with an RBI single to right to give the Dogs their only lead. The Woodchucks would score the last two runs they would need in the fourth. Trailing 2-1, Long led off the inning with a single up the middle. Richter then followed with a triple to the left center field gap to tie the game. Casey Rihn (South Carolina) followed with a sac fly to center field to give the Woodchucks the winning run. Eric Fritz (UW-Stevens Point) came around to score on an error by Serna in the fifth and Whitmore brought home Wright with a single down the left field line in the seventh to give the Woodchucks a three-run cushion and final 5-2 margin. Tony Strazzara (San Diego) was the only MoonDog with multiple hits, going 2-4. Jake Petricka (Indiana State) took the loss on the hill (2-3), lasting seven innings and allowing four earned runs on nine hits.
Rochester 7 – St. Cloud 6
In a game that couldn’t be more different in juxtaposition from last night’s rout, Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Honkers held off a late St. Cloud rally to win 7-6 and clinch the North Division second half title and a trip to the playoffs. The first postseason game will be played on Tuesday night at 7:05pm at Mayo Field against the Mankato MoonDogs, with game two in Mankato the following night. Game three, if necessary, would be in Rochester on Thursday evening. With the win the Honkers are now 23-11 in the half and 42-24 overall while St. Cloud is 17-14 in the second half. The Honkers got an early lead, scoring a run in the first inning after John Tommasini (Oregon State) drew a leadoff walk off St. Cloud starter Kurtis Frymier (Michigan State) before Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) drove him in with an RBI single. Rochester would score two more in the second after Rance Roundy (UNLV) and Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) led off the inning with singles and both came around to score. But Frymier would settle down, and hold Rochester off the board from there until the sixth inning. Meanwhile Honker starter Brian Flynn (Wichita State) was dealing, and cruised through five innings allowing just one hit and walk. In the sixth St. Cloud would rally, though, as Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) singled with one out in front of a Brian Humphries (Pepperdine) RBI single and an RBI double from Matt Fanelli (Washington State) made the score 3-2. Rochester went the bullpen in Scott McGough (Oregon), and Tony Renda (California) greeted him with another RBI double to tie the score at 3-3. McGough would get through the rest of the inning with the score tied, and set the stage for Ramirez’s heroics. Frymier for the first out before issuing a walk to Danny Brock (St. Louis), a single to Roundy and a walk to Beuerlein to load the bases with one out. The River Bats turned to Xavier Esquivel (Loyola Marymount) out of the bullpen, and Ramirez was the first batter he would face. Rochester gave their DH the green light on a 3-1 count, and he smashed it well over the wall in right for a grand slam to put Rochester on top 7-3 with jus three innings to play. But the River Bats weren’t done, as they started a rally in the eighth that Ramirez found himself in the middle of, although in a different capacity. After McGough allowed two singles to start the inning, the Honkers brought in Ramirez to pitch. He allowed one run to score getting the first out on a fielder’s choice, but Renda launched a one-out, two-run homer to left to close the score to 7-6. Ramirez would settle down and get the next two outs as the game stayed 7-6 into the ninth inning. Arik Sikula (Marshall) came on in relief and got a strikeout before issuing a walk and giving up a bloop single to put two runners on with one out. Roof then came to the plate and on the third pitch catcher Aaron Johnson (Illinois) threw behind the runner at first, and a complicated rundown ensued. It ended with the Tommasini tagging out the lead runner, Matt Summers (UC-Irvine) at second base, and Summers crashed into Tommasini on the play which cleared both benches. After the ensuing melee cleared, Sikula threw just one more pitch and struck out Roof on a changeup to end the game punch Rochester’s playoff ticket.
Alexandria 5 – Brainerd 0
The Lunkers allowed just six hits on the evening, but gave up five runs in the ninth inning and fell to the Alexandria Beetles, 5-0 in front of 602 fans in the home finale. Starter Mike Gedman (UMass) matched every move of the Beetles’ Mitch Handley (North Alabama). He tossed 6.2 innings of no-hit baseball, walked just one and struck out four through seven innings. However, in the ninth, the Beetles started and finished their attack. A leadoff single, which was only the second hit of the night, gave way to a one-out single. Then, a big 2-RBI double by Tim Roberson (Florida Gulf Coast) snapped the tie game, and lifted Alexandria ahead, 2-0. The rally wasn’t finished though. A walk followed the double, and then a pair of RBI hits brought home three more runs to finish off the five-run ninth inning. The Lunkers got a two-out single by Mike Gedman in the bottom of the ninth, but it proved to be too little, too late. On the mound, Gedman threw 8.1 innings, allowed four hits on four runs, and struck out five in the loss. Offensively, the Lunkers picked up just three hits on the night. In addition to Gedman’s late single, T.J. Berge (Northern Colorado) and Brenden Furrow (Concordia-St. Paul) were the only other two batters to have a hit.
Battle Creek @ Green Bay (Cancelled)
It ended just like it started for the Green Bay Bullfrogs with the weather affecting the outcome of a contest. With lightning all around Jones Sign Field and Joannes Stadium the game was cancelled in the top of the second inning. Unfortunately for the Bullfrogs, they were leading 1-0 after Paul Hoenecke (UW-Milwaukee) ripped a RBI single down the right field line and Zach Varce (Portland) recorded three strikeouts. It was the second time this season that a home game was cancelled because of weather – the other was the season opener. The first lightning strike occurred at 7:29 p.m. and the delay last almost an hour-and-a-half. The fans did, however, get to witness some exciting action on the field. Both squads went into skit like performances, highlighted by a dance-off competition. Aaron Conway (Missouri State) still remains two steals shy of tying the single-season Northwoods League record of 45 set by Green Bay’s Daniel Robertson in 2007.