Willmar triumphs over Alexandria, clinches first half North Division title.
Monday served up a multitude of doubleheaders, in which the Willmar Stingers capped off a 2015 playoff spot, winning game two of their doubleheader against Alexandria. Duluth and Battle Creek both won their games in walk off fashion, while St. Cloud pulled to within a half game out for the final playoff spot in their division.
Alexandria 9, Willmar 1 (Game One)
In game one of the day-night doubleheader, the Blue Anchors routed the North-leading Stingers in Alexandria, winning their third consecutive game. Starter Graylon Brown (Angelo State) completely dominated throughout, tossing a complete game where he allowed one run on seven hits, striking out a season-high eight batters as he earned his first win of the season. Alexandria’s 1st baseman Matt Hopfner (Northwestern) contributed a 2-for-4 effort, recording his second home run and added three RBIs and three runs in an impressive opener. Designated hitter Ky Parrott (James Madison) supplied the only ounce of offense for the Stingers in game one, going 1-for-4 with an RBI, as Willmar still holds a 1 ½ game lead above the rest of the North Division.
Willmar 5, Alexandria 3 (Game Two)
Willmar scored all of their runs in the 6th and 7th innings, take game two of their doubleheader, and clinching the first half North Division crown. Storm Wilson (Kentucky) broke the scoreless tie in the 6th inning with a three-run home run, giving him three on the season. Garrett Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) registered his second consecutive win, going 3 2/3 innings and struck out four, holding the Blue Anchors lineup in check. Alexandria’s Matt Hopfner (Northwestern) built off his game one performance, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, collecting five total on the night, as his team dropped to 12-22 to round out the first half.
La Crosse 6, Madison 5 (Game One)
The Loggers held off a late Madison push, taking game one and narrowing their deficit to two games behind first place in the South. La Crosse 2nd baseman Jordan Zimmerman (Mesa C.C.) continued his hot-hitting month of June, providing his fourth home run of the month, finishing with a pair of runs and RBIs. Starter Kyle Nelson (UC-Santa Barbara) threw seven scoreless innings, giving up six hits and struck out five, as he collected his second straight win, moving to 2-0. After running into some trouble in the 9th inning, closer Ty Provencher (Long Beach State) picked up his league-leading seventh save and securing the victory. Madison’s outfielder Cameron Frost (Washington State) provided another stellar day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with four RBIs, adding his third home run of the season, as Madison now sits a game and a half out of first behind Green Bay and Kenosha.
Madison vs. La Crosse (Game Two, Postponed)
Game two of the Monday doubleheader between the Mallards and Loggers was postponed due to inclement weather. The makeup date has been scheduled for both teams to play a doubleheader on August 8th starting at 5:05 PM.
Mankato 13, St. Cloud 11 (Game One)
The MoonDogs broke out to a 12-3 lead after five innings, and held on to hand St. Cloud a crucial loss in part one of the doubleheader hosted in Mankato. The entire MoonDog lineup combined for 17 hits, however Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon) stayed hot, going 3-for-3 with three runs, three RBIs, and recorded his third home run of the year. Backed by the offensive explosion, starter Rhett Rapshus (Black Hawk College) picked up his first victory, going six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and struck out one. Rox 1st baseman Austin Athmann (Minnesota) contributed three hits and a season-high five RBIs, as St. Cloud now sits a game behind Rochester for a playoff spot in the North.
St. Cloud 8, Mankato 4 (Game Two)
St. Cloud scored three runs in the 1st inning and held on to split the Monday doubleheader as they bounced back to defeat the MoonDogs. Catcher Austin Athmann (Minnesota) continued to be on a tear offensively, going 2-for-5 with four RBIs, recording his fourth home run, and totaled nine RBIs on the day. Rox starter Reese Gregory (St. Cloud State) earned his fourth victory, his third in three consecutive starts, throwing six innings, allowing just a run on four hits, while striking out a half dozen batters. Mankato’s Brinn Bell (St. Ambrose) extended his hit streak to five games, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, as the MoonDogs dropped to 18-17 on the year.
Thunder Bay 3, Duluth 1 (Game One)
Thunder Bay broke out to a 3-0 lead after the 3rd inning, winning their third straight contest, and spoiling the Huskies attempt to push for a late playoff spot in the North. Greg Weissert (Fordham) was the story of game one as he was absolutely untouchable, going seven full innings, in which he did not allow a run, and struck out a season-high eleven batters, giving him twenty in his last two starts. Border Cats’ leadoff man Jared James (Long Beach State) smacked his second home run of the year, giving him two in his last three games, finishing with two hits and a run scored. Huskies’ designated hitter Justin Paulsen (Missouri State) served up his team’s lone RBI with his RBI double in the 8th inning, while Duluth has now fallen back to a third place tie with St. Cloud in their division.
Duluth 2, Thunder Bay 1 (Game Two)
The Huskies rebounded from their game one loss in Thunder Bay, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 9th and stealing a late-inning victory from the Border Cats. A pair of Duluth batters led the comeback charge as Dominic Miroglio (San Francisco) tied the game at one with an RBI single, followed by Elliott Barzilli’s (TCU) walk off double, which scored Miroglio and brought the Huskies within a half game of second place in the North. Reliever Moises Ceja (UCLA) threw a scoreless 9th inning, and was granted his first win as a result of the game-winner. Border Cats starter Johnny York was absolutely sensational in a losing effort as the lefty retired the first seventeen batters to begin the game, but received the loss, giving up two earned runs in the final frame.
Eau Claire 5, Wisconsin Rapids 2 (Game One, 10 Innings)
Kicking off the interleague doubleheader, the visiting Express scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning, taking game one, and jumped to 13-21 in the first half. Travon Benton (New Mexico J.C.) provided the go-ahead run, with a sacrifice fly, while the Express took advantage of a pair of Rafters errors, scoring their other two runs. Reliever Cameron Cotton (Cal Poly) threw a scoreless 9th inning, and picked up his first win, as result of the extra-inning rally. Mitchell McGeein (Eastern Michigan) went 1-for-4 in game one, while hitting his league-best sixth home run, as the Rafters have dropped consecutive games, owning a 15-17 record.
Eau Claire vs. Wisconsin Rapids (Game Two, Postponed)
Game two of the Monday doubleheader between the Express and Rafters was postponed due to inclement weather. No current makeup date has been announced.
Battle Creek 4, Kalamazoo 3 (13 Innings)
The Bombers finished their first half campaign in game-winning fashion as Lin Li (Taiwan) hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the 13th inning, giving Battle Creek a victory over their in-state rivals. Christian Helsel (Penn State) contributed three hits on the night, pacing the lineup, and improving his batting average to a modest .296. Evan Dunn (Pepperdine) held the Growlers scoreless through the last two innings, as he received his first victory. Kalamazoo’s 2nd baseman Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, as the Growlers finished the first half with a league-worst 8-25 record.
Kenosha @ Lakeshore 11:35 AM/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
Green Bay @ Wisconsin 12:05/6:35 PM (Doubleheader)
Waterloo @ Rochester 12:05/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)
Willmar @ Duluth 6:35 PM
St. Cloud @ Alexandria 7:05 PM
Mankato @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM