Honkers take North Division lead, Chinooks move into 2nd place in South.
Thursday night's results saw the Rochester Honkers jump the Duluth Huskies for the top spot in their division, while Lakeshore moved into a half game lead for the second playoff spot in the South Division. The Kenosha Kingfish continue to be the storyline of the first half of the season, winning their sixth straight game, advancing their record to a league-best 19-5.
St. Cloud 10, Alexandria 5
The Rox exploded for eight runs in the 1st inning, as they swept their road series against Alexandria, moving a game out from first place. St. Cloud 1st baseman Connor Crane (McNeese State) contributed two hits and two RBIs in the rout, while center fielder Michael Strem (Boston College) knocked in three RBIs. Reliever Chris Farish (Wake Forest) won his first game, going two innings, allowing a hit and striking out three. Blue Anchors center fielder Jake Merrigan (North Carolina) continued his tear at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, as Alexandria has now dropped a league-leading 19th loss in the first half.
Rochester 6, Eau Claire 1
Rochester scored four runs in the 8th inning as they came back and defeated the Express, and taking the North Division lead. Honkers 1st baseman Mark Contreras (UC Riverside) was sensational in his team’s debut, getting on base in all five at-bats, going 3-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs. Making his Honkers debut as well was reliever Jake Sparger (Louisville) was lights out coming out of the pen, tossing two innings of relief and picking up a victory. Express shortstop Irving Lopez (Arizona Western C.C.) delivered the only form of offense for his team, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, as Eau Claire sits in 8th place at 9-14.
Madison 7, Kalamazoo 4
Down an early 4-0 after three innings, the Mallards came all the way back, scoring seven unanswered runs and stunning the Growlers. Madison’s first six batters combined for thirteen hits, led by Brian Rodemoyer’s (Illinois State) first home run of the season. Mallards’ reliever Corbin Olmstead (North Florida) tossed the last four innings of relief, shutting down the Kalamazoo lineup as he held them to no runs and struck out four. Growlers 1st baseman Bryce Adams (LSU) contributed a solid effort, as he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Battle Creek 5, La Crosse 4
The Bombers jumped out to an early lead on the road, and held off a late Loggers’ comeback as they earned their tenth victory of the season. Leadoff man Dan Swain (Siena) was terrific at the top of the lineup, recording two triples and two RBIs, boosting his average to .303 on the year. Starter Cameron Ming (Arizona) turned in a quality start, going six innings and allowed three runs on four hits and punched out two. La Crosse catcher Keith Skinner was great in the losing effort, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, smashing his first home run of the year.
Willmar 11, Thunder Bay 4
Willmar stayed hot as they blew out the Border Cats in Thunder Bay and are now only a game out of first place in the North. The Stingers’ lineup put on a show, totaling eleven hits, led by catcher Troy Dixon’s (St. John’s) two hit, four RBI night. Willmar starter Tyler Hanson (Minnesota) remains one of the hottest pitchers in the league, picking up his third consecutive win, hurling seven strong innings, allowing two runs and struck out two. The Northwoods League’s best hitter continues to be Thunder Bay’s 1st baseman Grant McKown (Florida Tech), going 3-for-4 with an RBI, owning a league-best .440 batting average.
Green Bay 6, Duluth 2
The Bullfrogs scored four runs in the 4th inning, and cruised to a series split over the Huskies. Green Bay 1st baseman Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) supplied the game changing hit as his grand slam proved to be the difference. Bullfrogs’ starter Alex Martinez (De Anza College) needed only five innings of work, but improved to 1-1, giving up two runs on five hits and struck out two. Duluth shortstop Matt McLaughlin (Kansas) was the only batter in the lineup with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5, as the Huskies have now fallen into a half-game out of first place behind the Rochester Honkers.
Mankato 5, Waterloo 2
Mankato responded from an early 2-0 deficit, scoring five unanswered runs as they completed the series sweep over the Bucks. MoonDogs’ 1st baseman Mikel Mucha (Wichita State) shined in his first series with the team, going 1-for-2 with a run scored, while being hit-by-pitch twice. Chris Butcher (Rio Hondo) threw a shutout 8th inning, followed by closer Ricky Ramirez (Fresno State) picking up his second save of the year, striking out the side in the 9th. Waterloo leadoff man Luke Stratman (Lamar C.C.) contributed the only glimpse of offense to the game with three hits, as his team dropped their last three games.
Kenosha 13, Wisconsin Rapids 10
The South Division-leading Kingfish refuse to lose, as they opened up to an 11-3 lead after two innings, then coasted to their sixth straight win. A pair of Kingfish batters carried the offense as Nick Sergakis (Ohio State) and Erik Filia (UCLA) combined for seven hits and four runs, as they have been consistently strong bats the entire season. Closer Callahan Brown (UConn) tossed the last 2 2/3 innings of the game, giving up a run, but held off the Rafters lineup just enough to earn his first save. Wisconsin Rapids 3rd baseman Brock Carpenter (Seattle) turned in a tremendous performance at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a three-run home run, and finished with four RBIs.
Lakeshore 8, Wisconsin 6
Lakeshore rebounded from their last night defeat, as their bats provided a consistent attack throughout the entire game, while moving into second place in the South. Chinooks catcher Colby Fitch (Louisville) went 3-for-5 and scored twice, while 3rd baseman Greg Deichmann (LSU) served up a two hit, two RBI night. Marshall Kasowski (Houston) collected his second win, going 4 1/3 innings in relief, and struck out an impressive eleven batters. Chucks batter Max Ponzurick (Virginia Tech) went 2-for-3 with three RBIs as Wisconsin moved to 8-14 in the division.
Green Bay @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM
Willmar @ Rochester 7:05 PM
Mankato @ Eau Claire 7:05 PM
Kenosha @ Madison 7:05 PM
Duluth @ Wisconsin 7:05 PM
La Crosse @ Kalamazoo 7:05 PM
Battle Creek @ Wisconsin Rapids 7:05 PM
St. Cloud @ Waterloo 7:05 PM
Alexandria @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM