Opening Night 2015

The opening night of the Northwoods League's 22nd season went underway Tuesday, filled with multiple high-scoring affairs and a few pitching duels. Thunder Bay and Waterloo grooved to shutout victories, while La Crosse came out on top in front of a sell-out crowd in Green Bay. The Wisconsin Woodchucks' opener against in-state rival Wisconsin Rapids was postponed due to rain, as well as the Rochester Honkers versus the Mankato Moondogs. The defending champion Lakeshore Chinooks kicked off their season with a resilient comeback in Battle Creek. 

Lakeshore 4, Battle Creek 2

The 2014 Northwoods League Champion Lakeshore Chinooks found themselves in a hole in Battle Creek as Bomber starter Alex Hermeling (Louisiana-Monroe) pitched brilliantly going 6 1/3 innings allowing no runs, two hits while striking out eight batters, earning pitcher of the night honors. However Hermeling's efforts resulted in a no decision as the Chinooks grinded out four runs in the 8th inning behind a raid of singles which proved to be the difference in their victory. Gavin Downs (Purdue) provided a strong performance for Lakeshore going six innings giving up one run and scattering five hits. Three year Chinook Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee) closed the door in the 9th inning to notch his first save of the year. 

Thunder Bay 7, Eau Claire 0

The Border Cats exploded into the 2015 season with a five run 1st inning against the Express, highlighted by 2nd Baseman Grant McKown's (Florida Tech) grand slam. McKown would end the game going 3-for-4, adding an RBI triple giving him five on the night, and winning hitter of the night honors. Thunder Bay pitcher Mike Eagan (Eckerd College) sailed comfortably to a win, throwing six solid innings, while Yuji Suzuki (Concordia) completed the shutout of the Express going three innings, receiving a save. Left Fielder Brady Burzynski (UW-Stout) was the lone bright spot for Eau Claire getting on base three times, ending the night 2-for-3 with a walk. 

Madison 9, Kalamazoo 4

A three-run 3rd inning, followed by a four-run 5th inning provided more than enough support for the Mallards as they cruised to a victory over the Kalamazoo Growlers at Warner Park. Right Fielder Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary's) had an impressive opener going 2-for-5 with a bases clearing double in the 5th, ultimately finishing with four RBIs. Mallard pitcher Dalton D'Spain (Texas A&M Corpus-Christi) came in relief in the 4th inning and pitched four strong innings, only allowing one run and picking up the win. Second year Growlers Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) and Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) experienced successful nights. Yarnall smashed a home run, while Fletcher went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored twice. 

Waterloo 15, Alexandria 0

Waterloo started off their road stand about as well as a team possibly could, as they not only routed, but shut out the Blue Anchors Tuesday night. In the 3rd inning, Bucks outfielder Zach Jarrett (Charlotte) started the scoring party hitting his first home run of the year, followed next in the order by infielder Mark Hernandez (Long Island) who played copycat, slugging a bomb over the fence as well. Bucks pitchers Brian Drapeau (Long Island) and Nick Veale (Minnesota State) kept the Alexandria lineup off-balance all game as they coasted to an easy victory. 

La Crosse 4, Green Bay 1

In front of a sell-out Green Bay crowd, the Loggers grinded out their first win of the season. La Crosse jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning highlighted by designated hitter Graham Spraker's (Quincy University) 2 RBI single. However both teams played to a stalemate after the 3rd inning as both teams were held in check, scoring no runs. The Loggers also received a solid first outing by starter Ben Ritchey (Sacramento City College) who threw five innings only giving up one run, and striking out six Bullfrogs, while Liam Carter (Missouri) came into the game in the 8th inning and shut the door notching his first save. Green Bay center fielder Caleb Ratzman (Illinois State) supplied the offense going 2-for-5 and being the only Bullfrog to touch home plate. 

St. Cloud 13, Kenosha 4

The Rox began their 2015 season scoring runs in each of the first four innings as they cruised to a big win in Kenosha. A plethora of St. Cloud hitters had big nights including center fielder Michael Strem (Boston College) who went 3-for-6 with 2 RBIs, catcher Liam Bedford (Doane) had two hits and 3 RBIs, and 1st baseman Austin Athmann (Minnesota) clubbed his first home run of the season. Pitcher Trevor Charpie (Saddleback C.C.) returned for his 2nd season with the Rox and tossed four innings in relief, allowing only one hit and striking out five, earning the win. Right fielder Nick Sergakis (Ohio State) led the Kingfish offense with two hits and 3 RBIs. 

 Wednesday's Schedule

Eau Claire @ Thunder Bay (11:05 AM)

Lakeshore @ Battle Creek (12:05 PM)

Wisconsin @ Wisconsin Rapids (Double-header, two 7-inning games, start at 5:05 PM)

Waterloo @ Alexandria (6:35 PM)

St. Cloud @ Kenosha (6:35 PM)

Kalamazoo @ Madison (6:35 PM)

La Crosse @ Green Bay (6:35 PM)

Rochester @ Mankato (7:05 PM)

Willmar @ Duluth (7:05 PM)