Opening Night 2014
The opening night of the 2014 Northwoods League season was a combination of close, back-and-forth battles and dominant performances. In their first Northwoods league game, the Kenosha Kingfish routed Wisconsin Rapids- earning both the player and pitcher of the night. Defending champions Madison were rained out and Green Bay almost completed a four-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
Mankato 3, Alexandria 0
The MoonDogs scored a run in each of the first three innings and rode a strong start from Trevor Lubking (Pacific Lutherean) to take their season opener, 3-0, over the Blue Anchors. Lubking went six shutout innings, striking out four and allowing just six hits to earn the victory. His counterpart, Zach Muckenhirn (North Dakota) allowed three earned runs and made it just three innings to take the loss. Three different MoonDogs had two hits while catcher Ridge Smith (Austin Peay) had a solo home run in the second.
Willmar 7, Duluth 1
The Stingers and Huskies battled to a 1-1 tie through the first seven innings, but Willmar tacked on six unanswered runs in the 8th and 9th innings to win, 7-1. Nick Rivera (FGCU) and Sam Hall (Western Nevada) both turned in big nights on offense, combining for four hits and two RBIs in the middle of the Willmar lineup. Duluth's Dominic Brugnoni (Florida Southern) had a solo home run in the bottom of the first, the Huskies only offense. Stinger starter Will Lydon (Pacific) allowed just two hits over six innings of work, but earned a no descsion. Reliever Brantley Claunch (North Alabama) earned the win.
St. Cloud 9, Thunder Bay 7
The Rox jumped out to a 7-0 lead and it seemed on its way to a blowout, but a huge seven-run fifth brought Thunder Bay roaring back. However, the Rox pulled through as Harrison Wenson (Michigan) hit a two-RBI double in the seventh to earn the win. Trevor Charpie (Tennessesse) earned the victory in relief while teammate Kevin Burgee (Georgia State) picked up the save. St. Cloud rightfielder Eric Loxtercamp (St. Cloud St) had an impressive game at the top of the lineup, going 3-for-5 with a two-run shot and a pair of runs.
Kenosha 14, Wisconsin Rapids 0
An impressive outburst of offensive firepower lifter Kenosha to a resounding 14-0 win against Wisconsin Rapids in their inaugrual game. The Kingfish racked up 16 hits while holding the Rafters to just four. Kenosha starter Rico Garcia (Hawaii Pacific) went six shutout innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Caleb Howell (Eastern Illinois) led the Kingfish with an impressive 5-for-6 line as he added three runs.
Waterloo 8, Rochester 6
The Bucks and Honkers scored early and often but it was a five-run Waterloo third inning that put the Bucks in the drivers seat on their way to a 8-6 season-opening win. Shortstop Mikal Hill hit a home run for the Bucks and had two RBIs. Waterloo starter Nick Veale was chased after four and a third, but Brent Jurceka picked up a win with three shutout innings. Returning closer Adam Dian continued his old ways, picking up a save.
La Crosse 14, Wisconsin 6
A five-run fifth and impressive production from the five through seven hitters carried the Loggers to a 14-6 opening day win over the Woodchucks. La Crosse chased seven different Wisconsin pitchers and fended off a late three-run rally. Cameron Balough (Judson), Ryan Kirby (San Diego) and Taylor Kohlwey (UW-La Crosse) combined to go 6-for-13 with six runs and six RBIs for Waterloo, while Ben Cejika (UW-La Crosse) picked up a win after going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
Battle Creek 10, Green Bay 9
Green Bay came up just short in the bottom of the ninth- loading the bases with two outs after cutting the lead to one, but a groundout to second ended the walkoff threat. The Bombers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second and no-hit pitching from Austen Thrailkill (six walks, four strikeouts, no hits through four innings) kept the Bullfrogs at bay. However, once Thrailkill left, the Bullfrogs pounced. Green Bay scored five runs in the fifth, but Battle Creek answered with five total in the next two. The Bullfrogs scored three runs in the ninth but couldn't complete the comeback. Nicholas Hellman earned the win for the Bombers.
St. Cloud @ Thunder Bay (11:05 AM)
Lakeshore @ Eau Claire (5:05 PM, 7:35 PM)
Kalamazoo @ Madison (Double-header, two 7-inning games, start at 4:35 PM)
Rochester @ Waterloo (6:35 PM)
Willmar @ Duluth (6:35 PM)
Alexandria @ Mankato (7:05 PM)
Kenosha @ Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 PM)
Battle Creek @ Green Bay (7:05 PM)
Wisconsin @ La Crosse (7:35 PM)