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Pitching owns the night as first half comes to an end.

As the final weekend of the first half comes to fruition, defense dominated the league throughout as several teams' offenses were dominated by stellar starting pitching. Green Bay overtook second place from Madison, winning their fifth straight game, taking down Battle Creek on the road. Willmar continues to certify themselves with a playoff bid, winning their third consecutive contest, leading the North by 1 1/2 games. 

 

Thunder Bay 3, Waterloo 0

The Border Cats played spoiler Saturday night, defeating the Bucks, setting them essentially out of the playoff picture in the first half. Starter Julian Loret de Mola (Nova Southeastern) was sensational throwing a complete game shutout, scattering five hits and struck out five, improving to 2-1 on the season. Thunder Bay’s leadoff man Jared James (Long Beach State) recorded his first bomb of the season, while maintaining a stellar .357 batting average. Waterloo’s left fielder Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) was seemingly the only batter to have success at the plate with two hits, as the Bucks dropped 2 ½ games back into a tie for 5th place in the division.

Kenosha 5, Mankato 1

Building on their South Division lead, the Kingfish took game one of their interleague series against Mankato, holding off the MoonDogs, and winning their 21st game. A pair of pitchers took control of the game as E.J. Trapino earned the victory, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up a run on five hits and a pair of strikeouts. Reliever Ryan Orr (Kalamazoo College) went the rest of the way, allowing just one hit through 3 2/3 innings, and collecting his second save. Right fielder Erik Filia (UCLA) registered his first home run of the year, finishing with two hits, two runs and an RBI. David Metzgar (Cal-State Bakersfield) and Mikel Mucha (Wichita State) both served up two-hit nights as Mankato fell to 16-16 in the first half.

Wisconsin Rapids 2, Madison 1

The Rafters squeaked out a narrow victory in Madison, knocking the Mallards back into 3rd place in the South, and moving to .500 at 15-15. Jack Riley (UConn) was stellar as the lefty tossed seven shutout innings, surrendering six hits and striking out a trio of batters moving to 2-0. Wisconsin Rapids’ 1st baseman Ryan Cleveland (Georgia Southern) provided the lone RBI, while Nate Easley (San Joaquin Delta) scored the deciding run in the 8th inning during his Rafters debut. Mallards’ catcher Jason Goldstein (Illinois) went 2-for-3 on the night, as Madison fell a game behind Green Bay for 2nd place in the standings.

Alexandria 2, St. Cloud 1

Alexandria continues to hand out devastating losses around the North Division, defeating the Rox by a narrow margin in the series opener. Sean Terres started the dominance by the Blue Anchors pitching staff, going six full innings, allowing a run (none earned) on just two hits, and struck out a season-high seven batters but factored in a no-decision. Reliever Ciji Ramos (Arkansas) picked up his second win, throwing a scoreless 7th inning, and was rewarded as his team took the lead shortly after. Left fielder Nehwon Norkeh (Angelo State) got on base in all four at-bats with two hits, a walk, and hit-by-pitch, scoring once as he carried the offense. Rox right fielder Webb Bobo (S.E. Louisiana) recorded the only run of the game for his team, going 1-for-2 on the night as St. Cloud dropped into a half game behind Duluth for 2nd place.

Wisconsin 4, La Crosse 1

The Woodchucks pitching staff shutout La Crosse through the first eight innings of the game, taking game one of their road series against the Loggers. A duo of Wisconsin pitchers dominated the La Crosse lineup as Starter Simon Matthews (Georgetown) and Kaylor Chafin (Texas A&M) combined for eight scoreless innings, allowed just six hits and struck out nine, with Matthews earning the victory. Outfielder Taylor Kohlwey (UW-La Crosse) went 2-for-4 with an RBI, pacing the Chucks’ lineup. Will Savage supplied the only form of offense for the Loggers with two hits and a walk, as La Crosse has now slid back 2 ½ games from a playoff berth in their division.

Duluth 5, Rochester 2

Scoring four runs in the 6th inning, the Huskies picked up an enormous home victory, moving into 2nd place in the North as they took care of the Honkers. Bo Hellquist (Minnesota-Duluth) provided quality start off the mound, picking up his third consecutive victory, as he surrendered two runs on eight hits, while fanning five. A pair of Duluth batters led the offensive charge as Alex Greene (West Florida) and Matt McLaughlin (Kansas) combined for six hits on the night. Honkers’ outfielder Cole Krzmarzick (Nevada) went 3-for-4, as Rochester fell back a half game behind Duluth, currently sitting in 3rd place in the North.

Green Bay 4, Battle Creek 1

The Bullfrogs broke the 1-1 tie in the 5th inning and went on to pick up their fifth straight victory, moving into 2nd place in the South Division. Starter Ryan Radue (UConn) was sensational off the mound, going five innings, allowing just a run on four hits, striking out a season-best eight batters, as he recorded his second straight victory. Shortstop Jack Strunc (Washington State) added a pair of hits and runs on the night, giving him 21 hits on the year. Bombers center fielder Dan Swain (Siena) went 3-for-4 at the dish as Battle Creek has now dropped their last five games, falling into 8th place.

Willmar 8, Eau Claire 6

Willmar picked up their 20th win of the season, scoring three runs in the 2nd and 4th innings, and holding off a late Express rally, building a 1 ½ game lead amongst the rest of their North opponents. Lucas Tancas (Irvine Valley) and Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) combined for four hits, five runs, and two RBIs, leading the Stingers to victory. Reliever Garrett Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) picked up his first victory of the year, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing a single hit, and striking out three. Express outfielder Brady Burzynski (UW-Stout) went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two runs, as Eau Claire has now lost four straight contests.

Lakeshore vs. Kalamazoo (Postponed)

Saturday night’s game between the Lakeshore Chinooks and Kalamazoo Growlers has been postponed due to excessive flooding around the field, cancelling the entire series. The makeup date has been scheduled for doubleheaders to occur both July 3rd and July 4th in Kalamazoo.  

 

Sunday’s Schedule

Wisconsin Rapids @ Madison 4:05 PM

Rochester @ Duluth 5:05 PM

Mankato @ Kenosha 5:05 PM

Waterloo @ Thunder Bay 5:05 PM

Wisconsin @ La Crosse 5:05 PM

Green Bay @ Battle Creek 6:05 PM

Eau Claire @ Willmar 6:05 PM