Divisional races begin to tighten during second week.

Tuesday night saw the Northwoods League's only remaining unbeaten team fall by a considerable margin, as the St. Cloud Rox blew out the Waterloo Bucks, giving them their first loss of 2015. Several day games took place today as Education Day filled three Northwoods League ballparks with young children who took a break from school to come out and support their local teams. Rochester won their third consecutive contest as they swept the Battle Creek Bombers, while Green Bay may have supplied the most exciting finish to a game we may see all season.

Thunder Bay 14, Duluth 4

The Border Cats took it took the Huskies, splitting the series between Duluth early Tuesday afternoon in front of crowd of 2,700 at Wade Stadium. Thunder Bay totaled 17 hits on the day with a plethora of infield singles chipped away from the Huskies pitching staff, and led to more than enough run support. Border Cat hitters Grant McKown (Florida Tech), Matt Batten (Quinnipiac), and Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) all had three hits each and combined for eight RBIs powering the Thunder Bay offense. Pitcher Jeremy Charles was strong again in his second starting appearance as he went six innings only allowing two runs and struck out four, moving to 2-0 on the year. Huskies 3rd Baseman Alex Greene (West Florida) had a solid day at the plate registering three hits and two RBIs, as both teams are tied at 4th place in the North Division with a 3-4 record.

Kenosha 6, Kalamazoo 0

Kenosha scored all of their runs in the first two innings, while starter Andrew Zapata (UConn) tossed a no-hitter through seven innings, coasting to a series sweep of the Growlers. Zapata collected his second win of the season as his no-hit bid was broken up in the 8th inning by a Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) leadoff single. He would be taken out after, only giving up two hits and struck out seven. The Kingfish were propelled on offense by Center Fielder Eric Filia (UCLA) getting on base four times, three of them hits, and picked up an RBI. In addition to Filia’s big day at the plate 3rd Baseman Alex Borglin (Central Michigan) went 2-for-4 with his 4th RBI of the season. Kenosha now sits in 2nd place in the South with a 5-3 record while Kalamazoo sits at the bottom of the division with a league-worst 1-7 record.

Rochester 11, Battle Creek 7

The Honkers won their third straight game as they scored six runs in the 2nd inning and maintained the lead throughout as they gave the Bombers their 4th loss of the season in front of a sellout Battle Creek crowd. Rochester’s lineup was outstanding today in a team effort as five Honker batters tallied multi-hit games, highlighted by Designated Hitter Brad Mathiowetz (Des Moines Area C.C.) registering two hits and three RBIs. Honkers’ starter Jayson Yano (Stevens Institute) improved his record to 2-0, as he only needed five innings of work, giving up an earned run on three hits and struck out one. The Bombers used five pitchers throughout the whole game, as the staff could not seem to figure out the hot-hitting Honkers lineup. Catcher Spencer Hemphill (Louisiana-Monroe) was impressive for Battle Creek going 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI.

Green Bay 2, Wisconsin Rapids 1

Tuesday night’s South Division showdown between the Bullfrogs and Rafters may have resulted in the best ending to a game the Northwoods League will see this season. Tied 1-1 in the top of the 9th inning, Bullfrogs Center Fielder Paul Jacobson (South Dakota State) stood on 3rd base, jumped the Rafter’s pitching motion, and stole home safely for the deciding run in the baseball game. The Bullfrogs were also backed by a dominant pitching performance as lefty Garrett Harrison (St. Cloud State) tossed eight innings, giving up a run on six hits, and struck out eight as he moved to 1-1 on the year. Wisconsin Rapids was given a strong outing from Adam Hall (Xavier) as he factored in a no decision going 6 2/3 innings giving up an earned run, five hits and struck out five as the Rafters fell to 3-4 in the South.

Alexandria 9, Eau Claire 5

The Blue Anchors flipped the script Tuesday, defeating Eau Claire by the same result, shortly after the Express won last night’s contest 9-5. Alexandria was led by home runs from Center Fielder Josh Merrigan (North Carolina) and 3rd Baseman Tanner Buenting (Iowa Central C.C.), both knocking in three 3 RBIs as well. The Blue Anchors were led on the mound by a two-headed attack of Max Knutson (Nebraska) going five innings for the win, while Blake Stockert (North Dakota State) earned his second save, pitching the final four innings in relief. Express Left Fielder Austin Listi slammed his first home run of the season as Eau Claire fell to 3-5 on the season.

Madison 7, Lakeshore 6 (11 Innings)

Madison moved back to their winning ways as they grinded out an extra inning battle in Lakeshore, splitting the series. Chris Tschida (Western Illinois) hit a pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the 11th putting the Mallards on top and picking up their sixth win on the year. Madison Left Fielder Scott Tyler (Ball State) hit a three-run home run in the 2nd inning, and finished the game with four RBIs. Reliever Mike Kaelin (Buffalo) dominated in relief going two innings, only surrendering a hit, earning his first save of the season. Lakeshore .500 (4-4) on the season and were offensively led by 3rd Baseman Doug Kraeger (Richmond) who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs.

La Crosse 7, Wisconsin 5

The Loggers held off a late 9th inning push by the Woodchucks as they won their second game of 2015. La Crosse had a pair of Nevada Wolfpack teammates Jordan Pearce and Grant Fennell combine for four hits and three runs, pacing the Loggers to victory. Starter Graham Spraker (Quincy) boosted his record to 1-1 after going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and struck out five. La Crosse closer Ty Provencher (Long Beach State) only needed to face one batter in the 9th inning to pick up his first save of the season. The Chucks were highlighted by Catcher Albee Weiss’s (Cal State Northridge) solo home run, giving him his first on the campaign.

Willmar 7, Mankato 3

Willmar split the series between their North Division opponent Mankato Moondogs as they took a 6-2 lead after two innings and cruised to victory. The Stingers received an impressive performance by Left Fielder Ky Parrott (James Madison) who finished the game with a stat sheet stuffing two hits, a walk, two runs, and three RBIs. Stingers lefty starter Jonny Ortiz was solid for the second consecutive start, pitching seven innings, only giving up two earned runs and struck out five. Mankato Shortstop Craig Nenning (Ohio State) went 1-for-3 with a two-run double, as he has now registered hits in three straight games, as the Moondogs drop to 2-5.

St. Cloud 13, Waterloo 1

The Rox completely dismantled the formerly undefeated and North-leading Waterloo Bucks as they registered 13 runs on 19 hits. The Bucks pitching staff was shelled tonight as every hitter in St. Cloud’s startling lineup ended the day with a hit. A trio of Rox batters had big nights including Michael Strem (Boston College), Lee Miller (Davidson), and Toby Hanson (Minnesota) who all combined for a terrific nine hits and seven RBIs. Canadian-native Marc-Andre Habeck (Georgia State) was outstanding for the Rox as he went six strong innings, giving up a run, six hits and struck out five batters. The Bucks ending up tying a franchise record for their best start to a season (7-1), and were highlighted on offense by Catcher Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois) knocking in an RBI double in the 2nd inning.


Wednesday’s Schedule

Kalamazoo (1-7) @ Wisconsin (3-3) (6:35 PM)

Lakeshore (4-4) @ Wisconsin Rapids (3-4) (6:35 PM)

Green Bay (3-4) @ Madison (6-1) (6:35 PM)

Rochester (5-1) @ Mankato (2-5) (7:05 PM)

Eau Claire (3-5) @ Thunder Bay (3-4) (7:05 PM)

Duluth (3-4) @ Waterloo (7-1) (7:05 PM)

Willmar (3-3) @ La Crosse (3-5) (7:05 PM)

Kenosha (5-3) @ Battle Creek (4-4) (7:05 PM)

St. Cloud (5-2) @ Alexandria (2-5) (7:05 PM)