Mixtures of blowouts and pitching duels fill Wednesday's action

The second day of baseball in the Northwoods League showed a wide variety of ball games ranging from blowouts, pitching duels, and nail biters. Wisconsin Rapids and Wisconsin got one game of their doubleheader completed before rain showers postponed action for the second consecutive night. Rochester and Mankato saw two pitching gems take place, while the Duluth Huskies provided the first walk-off game winner of the 2015 season.

Thunder Bay 12, Eau Claire 3

Only 12 hours after their 7-0 victory the previous night, the Border Cats continued to hit the ball well Wednesday afternoon. Thunder Bay roughed up the Express pitching staff, racking up 19 hits in the contest, giving them 30 total in the two game series. The Border Cats 4, 5, and 6 hitters led the offensive charge as Mikael Mogues (Seton Hall), Grant McKown (Florida Tech), and Kyle Comer (Minnesota Duluth) combined for seven hits and 8 RBIs. Cats starter Jeremy Charles (Hartford) coasted through five innings giving up just two runs, while punching out five Express batters. Eau Claire’s Designated Hitter Alex Listi (Dallas Baptist) and 2nd Baseman Tyler Jones (Air Force) both registered two hits and picked up an RBI in a losing effort.

Lakeshore 9, Battle Creek 1

The Chinooks did not care for the dramatics Wednesday, opposed to last night’s come from behind victory in the opener against Battle Creek. Lakeshore scored runs in each of the first four innings, jumping out to an 8-0 lead and racking up 14 hits through the first four frames. A two-hour rain delay put a considerable pause in the action, but when play resumed, the game left no doubt the Chinooks would finish on top. Right Fielder Lucas Raley (Lake Erie) and Left Fielder Jake Romano (Miami Ohio) had three hits each, and combined for 4 RBIs. Chinooks reliever John Schreiber (Kent State) entered the game in the 4th inning and picked up the win, going four innings allowing only two hits, while striking out four. Bombers Center Fielder Dan Swain (Siena) went 2-for-3 with a walk, as the Bombers dropped to 0-2 on the season.

Wisconsin Rapids 13, Wisconsin 4 (7 innings)

In game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader in Wisconsin Rapids, the Rafters had no problem disposing of their in-state rival as they routed the Woodchucks. The Rafters had a trio of hitters combine for 10 of the team’s 13 hits as Designated Hitter Blake Molitor (Illinois State), catcher Kyle Devin (Rhode Island), and 1st Baseman Max Widmar (Parkland) carried Wisconsin Rapids to victory. The Rafters big right-hander Adam Hall (Xavier) pitched comfortably for his first win of the season only needing 4 2/3 innings of work, while striking out four. Woodchucks 3rd Baseman Ryan Day (Duke) went 1-for-4, with an RBI and stole his first bag of the year. Game 2 of the doubleheader made it into the 5th inning, where the Woodchucks were leading 5-1, before rain delayed the contest, ultimately ending in a postponement. The Rafters and Chucks will meet again July 6th, where the game will resume in the 5th inning and be completed.

Madison 16, Kalamazoo 1

The Madison Mallards pushed their record to 2-0 on the season as they cruised to an easy victory over the Growlers. The Mallards had a dominant offensive performance throughout the two-game sweep; totaling 25 runs on 25 hits. Mallards Jonathan Quintana (Barry University) and J.J. Gould (Jacksonville) each had three hits and 3 RBI’s a piece, while Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s) and Logan Regnier (Central Michigan) hit their first home runs of the year. Madison starter Nate Hoffmann (Middle Tennessee State) sailed to victory tonight needing only five innings off the mound, giving up one run and striking out four. The Growlers lone bright spot was 2nd Baseman Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) who had two hits, one of them being his first home run of the season.

Duluth 1, Willmar 0

The Huskies and Stingers were in the thick of a great pitching duel, for which the game was decided in the final at-bat. Stingers starter Jonny Ortiz (Daytona State) went six strong innings scattering four hits, striking out three; while Huskies opening day starter Bo Hellquist (Minnesota-Duluth) threw five innings giving up only three hits, and also struck out three. Both bullpens were very solid, resulting in the game remaining scoreless going into the final frame in the 9th inning. In the bottom of the 9th, Huskies Designated Hitter T.J. Martin (Kansas) proved to be the hero of the night, as he simply put the ball in play, causing an error by the Willmar 1st Baseman, scoring Alex Wojciechowski (Minnesota-Duluth), as Duluth began their season 1-0 in walk-off fashion.

Waterloo 5, Alexandria 3

Waterloo completed the two-game sweep of the Blue Anchors Wednesday night. The Bucks found themselves tied with Alexandria after six innings of play, but a duo of Minnesota Golden Gophers were the difference makers tonight as Center Fielder Alex Boxwell hit an RBI single in the 7th, and Designated Hitter Matthew Stemper provided the insurance run with an RBI sacrifice fly. Waterloo reliever Brent Jurceka (Evansville) came in the 6th inning and completely shut down the Alexandria lineup going 3 1/3 innings, allowing no hits, and picked up his first win. Blue Anchors Designated Hitter Dane Hutcheon (Montevallo) went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Rochester 2, Mankato 0

After being washed out due to inclement weather the previous night, the Honkers and Moondogs opened up to a great display of pitching between both teams. Moondog starter Austin Warner (Bellarmine) struck out 10 of the 18 Honker batters he faced through five innings, giving up no runs, and earning Pitcher of the Night. Outdueling Warner was Honker starter Jayson Yano (Stevens Institute) who went 7 2/3 innings, surrendering only two hits, and striking out five. In the 8th inning, Honker 3rd Baseman Will Paschal (Georgia Gwinnet) broke the scoreless tie with an RBI single, and returning Honker closer Spencer Greer (Dixie State) closed the door in the 9th inning to secure his first save of the year. Designated Hitter Jack Flansburg (Cypress C.C.) was the highlight of the Moondogs' lineup going 2-for-4 with a double.

Kenosha 4, St. Cloud 2

Kenosha rebounded from last night’s loss, defeating the Rox by a close margin at home. The Kingfish received a strong outing from starter Josh Serio (UW-Parkside) who threw six innings allowing a run, and striking out six, acquiring his first win. Brett Shimanovsky (St. Louis) followed Serio’s great start by entering the 9th and closing the door on any possible St. Cloud comeback, picking up his first save of the year. Kingfish Left Fielder Eric Filia (UCLA) paced the offense tonight with three hits, one being a triple, and knocking in 2 RBIs. Josh Altmann (Olivet Nazarene) powered the Rox offense with two hits.

Green Bay 9, La Crosse 3

The Bullfrogs earned the series split between the Loggers, pulling away, due to a four-run 7th inning. The Bullfrogs were led by a strong pitching performance in starter Mike Ellenbest (Saginaw Valley State) who gave up only one hit over 6 1/3 innings, and struck out four Loggers, picking up his first victory. Bullfrog 1st Baseman Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) had a impressive night going 2-for-3, one of the hits being his first home run of the year, while ending the night with 3 RBIs. Loggers 1st Baseman Jacob Boston (Mesa C.C.)  had an RBI double as the Loggers fell to 1-1. 

Thursday’s Schedule

Duluth @ Eau Claire (6:35 PM)

Kenosha @ Lakeshore (6:35 PM)

Wisconsin @ Madison (6:35 PM)

St. Cloud @ Green Bay (6:35 PM)

Wisconsin Rapids @ La Crosse (7:05 PM)

Alexandria @ Rochester (7:05 PM)

Mankato @ Waterloo (7:05 PM)

Kalamazoo @ Battle Creek (7:05 PM)

Thunder Bay @ Willmar (7:05 PM)