Strong pitching performances and late-inning heroics storyline Friday night’s games.
Friday night's action in the Northwoods League was dominated by impressive starting pitching as every game went down to the wire, and back and forth contests. Thunder Bay and Kenosha provided comeback game-winners as they both earned walk off victories against divisional opponents. The longest game of the season took place in Lakeshore as the Bombers and Chinooks battled in a 17 inning stalemate, which had to be suspended due to darkness. Rochester collected their third straight victory as they stand alone atop the North.
Duluth 1, Eau Claire 0
An RBI single in the 7th inning, combined with a great performance by the Huskies’ pitching staff led them to a narrow victory against the Express. Duluth Shortstop Matt McLaughlin (Kansas) had a clutch base hit that scored Designated Hitter Alex Wojciechowski (Minnesota-Duluth), providing the only offense in the entire game. Both pitchers dueled all night as Huskies starter Brady Arenson (Florida Southern) shut out the Express through six innings, giving up just four hits and struck out five, but factored in a no decision. The Duluth bullpen stifled the rest of the Eau Claire lineup, as reliever Ryan Tapani (St. Olaf) pitched the 7th and 8th innings, earning the victory, and closer Alex Carpenter (Alabama) left no worries in the 9th, as he collected his league-leading third save of the season. Eau Claire received a strong pitching performance as well as starter Dalton Roach (Minnesota State) was strong going six innings, giving up just two hits and punched out five, as the Express moved to 4-7 in the North Division.
Kalamazoo 5, Green Bay 2
The Growlers finally received a quality pitching performance from their starting pitchers, as lefty Keegan Baar (Michigan State) took complete control of the game in his Kalamazoo debut. Baar went seven full innings, giving up two runs (one earned), four hits and struck out five as he picked up his first victory. A trio of Growlers carried the offense tonight as Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois), Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh), and Max Schuman (Utah) all combined for seven of the ten Growlers hits, and accounted for knocking in three of the five runs. Bullfrogs Designated Hitter Evan Ruechel (St. Ambrose) went 1-for-4, recording the only RBI in the lineup, as they fall to a three-way tie for 6th place in the South.
Thunder Bay 5, Alexandria 4
A valiant two-run 9th inning ended in a walk-off game winner as the Border Cats stole a game from the visiting Blue Anchors. Thunder Bay Catcher Nate Nolan (St. Mary’s) was the hero, as his RBI single sent the fans home happy, giving them their fifth win on the year. Reliever Mitch Kuebbing (Longwood) pitched a clean 9th inning, and received his first victory of the season in result of the walk-off. Blue Anchors 2nd Baseman Steve Sada (Miami Ohio) had a respectable night at the plate going 2-for-4 with an RBI, as Alexandria remains in last place in the North with a 2-8 record.
La Crosse 3, Wisconsin 1
The Loggers scored two runs in the 7th inning, which proved to be the difference as they picked up their fifth win of the season in Wausau. La Crosse 2nd Baseman Mason McCoy continues to be on a tear, as he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Starter Nolan Gromacki (Missouri) received the ball for his first start of the season and did not disappoint going seven innings, allowing no earned runs, two hits and struck out six, as he improved his record to 1-1. Wisconsin outfielder Jared Oliva (Arizona) supplied the only form of offense as he registered an RBI single in the 4th inning. The Woodchucks have now dropped to 4-5 for the season.
Rochester 2, St. Cloud 0 (10 Innings)
In a battle amongst the two leaders of the North, the Honkers and Rox dueled out a scoreless nine innings, but a pair of RBI singles from Miles Mastrobuoni (San Mateo) and Matt Fiedler (Minnesota) in the 10th broke the drought, and gave Rochester a half game lead in the division. Rochester received a fantastic pitching performance by their starter Tyler Feyereisen (St. Thomas), as he earned Pitcher of the Night honors pitching a full nine innings, scattered seven hits and struck out two, as he received his first win on the year. Rox pitcher Reese Gregory (St. Cloud State) had another impressive start as he tossed eight innings, only giving up two hits and struck out seven, bringing his total to a league-leading 18, as St. Cloud has now fallen a game behind the Honkers for the top spot in the North.
Willmar 5, Madison 1
The Stingers took game one of their interleague matchup between the Mallards, as their pitching staff held Madison in check all night, moving to 5-4. Starter Tyler Hanson (Minnesota) was outstanding off the mound leading to his first victory, going 5 2/3 innings, giving up an earned run, and struck out four. Stingers leadoff man Dan Motl (Minnesota) filled the stat-book with two hits, three runs, and an RBI. Madison Center Fielder Cameron Frost (Washington State) delivered the only ounce of offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI in the 6th inning, as the Mallards have dropped two straight contests, but remain the South Division leaders.
Kenosha 5, Wisconsin Rapids 4
Kenosha scored four runs in the last three innings of the game, scoring two in the 9th inning, as they walked off at home, pulling to within a half game of the South Division lead. The Kingfish scored two runs in the final at-bat as a wild pitch brought Mitch Gasbarro (Eastern Illinois) home, tying the ballgame at four, which was then followed by Hunter Alexander’s (St. Johns River State) game-winning single. Reliever Callahan Brown (UConn) pitched lights out in the 8th and 9th, and picked up the win, due to the late-game heroics. Rafters 1st Baseman Ryan Cleveland (Georgia Southern) was strong with the bat, going 2-for-3 and an RBI as they move to 5-5 on the year.
Waterloo 4, Mankato 3
A three-run 9th inning provided an exciting comeback victory for the visiting Bucks as they stole a victory in Mankato. Waterloo took advantage of a combination of mistakes made by the Moondogs as a wild pitch and an error supplied two of the runs for the Bucks. Designated Hitter Mark Hernandez (Long Island) provided a clutch RBI single, which tied the game at three, followed by an error by the Mankato pitcher in the next at-bat, scoring pinch runner Joseph Shepherd (Murray State). Waterloo reliever Zach Reeg (Augustana) picked up his first win on the season as he pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Mankato Right Fielder Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon) led offensive charge going 2-for-4 with an RBI, as they drop a tough one at home, falling to 3-8.
Battle Creek 4, Lakeshore 4 (Delayed After 17 Innings)
The South Division contest between the Bombers and Chinooks lasted 17 innings, which resulted in the city of Mequon ordinances having to suspend the game due to darkness. The game will resume at 5:00 PM tomorrow, picking up action in the top of the 18th inning.
Battle Creek (5-5) @ Lakeshore 5:00 PM/6:35 PM
Waterloo (8-3) @ Mankato (3-8) 6:05 PM
Alexandria (2-8) @ Thunder Bay (5-5) 6:05 PM
Willmar (5-4) @ Madison (7-3) 6:05 PM
Kalamazoo (3-8) @ Green Bay (4-6) 6:05 PM
Rochester (8-2) @ St. Cloud (7-3) 6:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids (5-5) @ Kenosha (7-4) 6:05 PM
Eau Claire (4-7) @ Duluth (6-4) 6:35 PM
La Crosse @ Wisconsin 7:05 PM