Doubleheaders lead to shakeups in divisional standings
A plethora of Northwoods League games resulted in the fight for North Division crown, as five teams are within a 1 1/2 game separation, with the Rochester Honkers coming out on top tonight. The Kenosha Kingfish split their doubleheader with La Crosse, but retained their South Division dominance. Three teams earned victories in walk-off fashion, as Eau Claire, Mankato and Wisconsin Rapids all earned victories in the final frame.
Lakeshore 5, Madison 2 (Game One)
Lakeshore took the first game in the doubleheader between Madison, scoring three runs in the 1st inning and never looking back. A pair of Chinooks carried the offense by way of the long ball as Lucas Raley (Lake Erie) recorded his second home run of the season, while Kyle Wood (Purdue) slugged his first of the year. Starter Brian Keller (UW-Milwaukee) only needed five innings of work to move into the win column, giving up just two runs on seven hits and two strikeouts. Mallards Center Fielder Cameron Frost (Washington State) went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, however his team has now dropped into 4th place in the South with an 8-8 record.
Wisconsin Rapids 7, Battle Creek 6 (Game One, 7 Innings)
Slowly but surely, the Rafters continue to climb the South standings, as they displayed a valiant comeback in game one of their doubleheader, eventually winning the game in the final inning. Leadoff man Zack Domingues (Long Beach State) was the hero of game one, breaking the 6-6 tie in the 7th inning, and singling home the game-winning run. Rafters’ Craig Pearcy (Morehead State) earned a well-deserved victory as he allowed just one base runner in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Bombers Center Fielder Dan Swain (Siena) registered his third home run of the season in the loss. The Bombers now possess a 7-9 record, sitting at 7th place amidst the South Division.
Eau Claire 5, Thunder Bay 4 (Game One, 7 Innings)
The Express grabbed game one against the Border Cats in walk-off fashion, plating the winning run in the 7th inning. Eau Claire’s 2nd Baseman Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) provided the clutch hit of the game, as his single scored Teddy Cillis (Hofstra), pushing their record to 6-10. Express reliever Victor Sanchez (New Mexico) received the win, despite initially blowing the save, as Thunder Bay tied the game in the top of the 7th. Border Cats 1st Baseman Grant McKown (Florida Tech) continued his dominance at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, as Thunder Bay fell to 9-7 and 1 ½ games from the North Division lead.
Kenosha 10, La Crosse 1 (Game One, 7 Innings)
In a battle between the top two teams in the South Division, Kenosha struck first as they routed La Crosse on their home field, winning their eighth straight game. Catcher Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois) led the Kingfish with a double and a home run, finishing with two RBIs. P.J. Schuster Jr. (Southern Illinois Edwardsville) was strong off the mound tossing six innings, giving up just one run on four hits, while striking out five, while improving his record to 2-1. La Crosse leadoff man Mason McCoy (Illinois Central) increased his impressive hitting streak to nine games with a double in the loss.
Rochester 5, Alexandria 4 (Game One, 7 Innings)
The Honkers moved into a temporary first place tie with the Duluth Huskies, as they held on for a slim victory over Alexandria in part one of their doubleheader. Rochester Center Fielder Alex Shultz (Nebraska-Omaha) paced the offense for the second consecutive night, going 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Reliever Colby Green (Triton C.C.) picked up his second victory, tossing a scoreless 6th inning, while closer Spencer Greer (Dixie State) stifled the Alexandria lineup in the final frame, giving him his third save of the season. Blue Anchors Right Fielder Josh Merrigan (North Carolina) got on base in all three at-bats, recording two hits and a walk, while adding two RBIs, as Alexandria descended to 3-13 in the first half.
Mankato 2, Duluth 1 (Game One, 9 Innings)
The MoonDogs triumphed through nine innings in the first game of their doubleheader, as they walked off against the division-leading Huskies. Mankato’s Craig Nenning (Ohio State) proved to be the hero in extras, as his game-winning base knock broke the 1-1 stalemate, giving his team their seventh win. Reliever Ricky Ramirez (Fresno State) pitched the last two outs of the 9th inning, collecting his first win, advancing his record to 1-1. Catcher T.J. Martin (Kansas) was the only Duluth batter with a multi-hit game, recording two hits, as the Huskies have briefly fallen a half game behind Rochester.
Rochester 6, Alexandria 2 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Rochester scored four runs in the 6th inning, adding to their divisional lead as they completed the doubleheader sweep against the Blue Anchors. Catcher Sam Hall (Dixie State) carried the offense with two hits and two RBIs, finishing with three knocks in the series. Pitcher Patrick Duester (Tulane) recorded his first win, tossing 1 2/3 innings, completely shutting down the Blue Anchors lineup. Alexandria Left Fielder Gabe Hernandez (Boston College) smashed his first homer of the season in a losing effort, as the Blue Anchors sit in last place in the North, with an uninspiring 3-14 record.
Thunder Bay 5, Eau Claire 1 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Thunder Bay’s pitching answered the call, as they shut down the Express’s momentum stemming from game one, holding the Eau Claire lineup to one hit. Border Cats starter Greg Weissert (Fordham) supplied a terrific pitching performance, going six innings, allowing just one run on one hit, while striking out seven batters. A pair of Thunder Bay bats carried the offense as the red-hot Grant McKown (Florida Tech) and Nate Nolan (St. Mary’s) went back-to-back with solo home runs in the 5th inning. In the losing effort, Eau Claire 2nd Baseman Sam Hurt (Madison Area Technical) provided the lone hit on the night for his offense.
Mankato 6, Duluth 2 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
The MoonDogs took control of the second stanza of the doubleheader, taking two from the Huskies tonight. Mankato starter Brett Clark (Friends University) contributed a dominant performance off the mound, going six innings, giving up two runs (no earned) allowing five hits, while striking out two. Left Fielder Hunter Mercado-Hood (San Diego) recorded two hits, setting the table for their offense throughout, picking up his second win. Huskies leadoff hitter Cal Stevenson (Nevada) was fantastic at the top of the lineup, going 3-for-3 with a run scored, as Duluth surrendered their North Division lead to the Honkers and now sit a 1 ½ games in the North Division.
Wisconsin Rapids 4, Battle Creek 3 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
The Wisconsin Rapids topped the Battle Creek, sweeping the Bombers in the second game of the double header improving their record to 9-7. Rapids Shortstop Demetrius Sims (Bethune-Cookman) led the offense going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Reliever John Jaeger (Pacific) did not have his best performance giving up three runs in three innings but earned his first victory of the 2015 season. Bombers centerfielder Trek Stemp (Washington State) delivered a strong performance at the plate with two hits as the Bombers dropped to 7-10 on the season.
La Crosse 3, Kenosha 2 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
The Loggers split the doubleheader between the South-leading Kingfish, inching to within three games of the lead. La Crosse 1st Baseman Ryan Kirby (San Diego) was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 and leading the offensive charge. Reliever Matthew Naylor (North Florida) threw 2 1/3 innings, picking up his second win on the year as he sat down every batter he faced. Kingfish infielder Alex Borglin (Central Michigan) recorded two hits in the second game, boosting his average to a stellar .418, as Kenosha remains in first place with a league-best 13-5 mark.
Madison 5, Lakeshore 1 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Madison split the doubleheader between Lakeshore, as they held the Chinooks lineup in check throughout, moving into a three-way tie for third place. Starter Dalton D’Spain (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) delivered a strong performance, going five innings, surrendering just one run on three hits, while fanning five batters, picking up his second win on the year. Shortstop Chris Tschida (Western Illinois) was instrumental to the offense, singling home two runs in the 5th inning, putting the game out of reach. Lucas Raley (Lake Erie) carried over his strong performance from game one into the nightcap, as he recorded his league-leading third triple of the season.
Wisconsin 7, Green Bay 4
The Woodchucks scored three runs in the 7th inning as they broke away from the 4-4 tie, winning their sixth game. Right Fielder Max Ponzurick (Virginia Tech) recorded two doubles on the night and picked up an RBI as he led the offensive charge. As pitcher Connor Kelly (Central Michigan) made his debut in a Woodchucks jersey and earned a victory, throwing two innings of relief and struck out two. Green Bay 1st Baseman Paul Jacobson (South Dakota State) led the output with a two-run single in a losing effort, as Green Bay sits in 7th place in the South Division.
St. Cloud 2, Willmar 1
Adding to the constant shifting of divisional standings tonight, the Rox held on to win in Willmar, splitting the series, and advancing into a three-way tie for second place in the North. Starter Domenick Carlini (S.E. Louisiana) threw six strong innings in a no decision, however reliever Robbie Petty (Nicholls State) pitched a clean 7th inning, and was presented with his first win in a Rox uniform. Catcher Liam Bedford (Doane College) delivered the go-ahead single in the 8th inning, which resulted in the game-winner. Stingers 2nd Baseman Brian Pruett (Florida Gulf Coast) supplied the only offense throughout the lineup as he recorded an RBI double in the 2nd inning, as Willmar fell back to 8-8.
Waterloo 7, Kalamazoo 0
Fresh off a monumental collapse the previous night, the Bucks pulled to within a half-game out of first place in the North as they blew the game wide open in the 8th inning and took the series split in Kalamazoo. Leadoff man Luke Stratman (Lamar C.C.) hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning, while Right Fielder Weston Hatten (Washington State) hit a two-run single in the 8th inning as they carried the offense to victory. Starter Carson McPherson (Murray State) improved to 2-1 on the campaign going six innings, only allowing four hits and struck out eight. Reliever Landon Busch (South Dakota State) went the rest of the way tossing three innings of relief, and registering his first save. Kory Young (Michigan State) as one of the only Growlers to experience success, going 1-for-3 with a walk, as Kalamazoo dropped to 5-13.
Wisconsin @ Kenosha 6:05 PM
Mankato @ Thunder Bay 6:05 PM
Madison @ Green Bay 6:05 PM
Alexandria @ Eau Claire 6:35 PM
La Crosse @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM
Waterloo @ Battle Creek 7:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids @ Kalamazoo 7:05 PM
Duluth @ Rochester 7:05 PM
St. Cloud @ Willmar 7:05 PM