Late-inning heroics develop playoff madness.
Rounding out the final weekend of the first half of the season, multiple ballgames were decided in the final stages of the ballgames, causing major shifting amongst the top of the standings. Kenosha faltered to Mankato, resulting in the Bullfrogs jumping into a first place tie a top the South Division. The Honkers pulled off the comeback in Duluth, advancing in second place in the North, owning a half game lead over the third place Huskies and St. Cloud Rox.
Madison 4, Wisconsin Rapids 0 (7 Innings)
In a rain-soaked afternoon game in Madison, the Mallards earned the series split, and now remain a game out of first place in the South. Starter Andrew Beckwith (Coastal Carolina) went the entire way, throwing six shutout innings, allowing three hits and struck out a pair, as he improved to 2-1 on the year. Madison’s 2nd baseman J.J. Gould (Jacksonville) recorded his first home run, going 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Rafters’ outfielder Beau Jordan (LSU) went 1-for-2, as the entire lineup could not provide any form of offense in the shutout, falling a game below .500 in the first half.
Rochester 5, Duluth 4
The Honkers scored a key run in the top of the 8th inning, registering the series stalemate in Duluth, taking a half game lead for second place in the North Division. Rochester batters Mark Contreras (UC-Riverside) and Cole Krzmarzick (Nevada) combined for four hits, four runs and two RBIs, as they were the catalysts behind the comeback victory. Spencer Greer (Dixie State) closed the door tossing the final two innings, giving up just a hit, and struck out one as he earned his league-best sixth save. Duluth leadoff man Cal Stevenson (Nevada) went 2-for-4 and scored twice, while swiping his 9th bag of the year as the Huskies fell into third place, and a half game back from a playoff spot.
La Crosse 5, Wisconsin 4
La Crosse plated three runs in the 8th inning as they battled all the way back to stay alive in the first half, defeating the Woodchucks in the series finale. Designated hitter Ronnie Gideon (Texas A&M) walked three times, but also provided a solo home run to the offensive effort, while outfielder Alex Merritt (North Florida) went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Loggers closer Ty Provencher (Long Beach State) pitched a clean 9th inning, recording his sixth save, lowering his ERA to a stellar 0.81 to begin the season. Chucks’ catcher Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) tied a league-high, hitting his fifth bomb of the year, finishing with two RBIs, in a losing effort, as his team fell to 12-21.
Mankato 7, Kenosha 5 (13 Innings)
The MoonDogs scored two runs in the 13th inning, as Mankato took the series finale in a barnburner in Kenosha. The Kingfish scored three times in the 9th inning, forcing extra innings, but Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon) supplied the key moment of the night, doubling home the go-ahead run, while also scoring the insurance run, pacing Mankato to their 17th victory. Reliever Connor O’Brien (Southern Mississippi) completed dominated the late innings, throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and fanning five batters, collecting the well-deserved win. Kingfish left fielder Jeremy Vasquez (Florida) was sensational in his second game with the team, going 3-for-6 and scored once, as Kenosha has now fallen into a first place tie with Green Bay in the South.
Thunder Bay 6, Waterloo 5
In a back and forth affair, the Border Cats scored two runs in the 9th inning, shocking the visiting Bucks and sweeping their home series. The Bucks scored four runs in the top of the 9th, taking a 5-4 lead, but Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) was the hero of the night, smashing a two-run double, scoring Carter McEachern (Trinity) and Alan Baldwin (Hawaii), as Thunder Bay celebrated the walk off victory. Thunder Bay starter Yuji Suzuki (Concordia) threw a gem, hurling eight innings, giving up a single run on five hits, while striking out four as he recorded his first win of the season. Waterloo’s Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run, as the Bucks seemingly fell out of playoff contention, after winning their first seven games of the first half.
Green Bay 8, Battle Creek 4
Green Bay opened out to a 7-0 lead, as they swept the Bombers, winning their sixth consecutive game, and moved into a tie with Kenosha a top the South Division. Batting in the leadoff role, Logan Taylor (Louisville) was tremendous tonight, going 3-for-4, while scoring a season-best four times. Starter Parker Hamilton (Florida Gulf Coast) received his second win, going six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and struck out an impressive eight batters. Bombers outfielder Dan Swain (Siena) totaled three hits and an RBI, as Battle Creek has now lost their last six games.
Willmar 6, Eau Claire 5
The Stingers scored four runs in the 8th inning, and held off a final Express rally as they completed the series sweep, and won their fourth straight. Willmar’s Tyler Leffler (Bradley) and Ky Parrott (James Madison) each knocked in a pair of runs, while leadoff man Dan Motl (Minnesota) went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Closer Dakota Belter (Minnesota State) won his fourth game of the season, tossing 1 2/3 innings and struck out a batter. Express catcher Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) continues to stay hot, hitting safely in eight straight contests, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run, as Eau Claire dropped their fifth consecutive game.
Lakeshore vs. Kalamazoo (Postponed)
The Sunday matchup between the Chinooks and Growlers was cancelled today due to Homer Stryker Field’s flooded conditions. The makeup date is for both teams to play a doubleheader on July 4th.
Thunder Bay @ Duluth 12:00/6:35 PM (Doubleheader)
Willmar @ Alexandria 12:05/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
Eau Claire @ Wisconsin Rapids 12:05/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
Madison @ La Crosse 12:05/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
St. Cloud @ Mankato 1:00/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
Kalamazoo @ Battle Creek 7:05 PM