Second half begins with plethora of strong pitching performances.

The second half of the Northwoods League kicked off in full gear, as pitching story lined the night, with several games involved in tight, low-scoring battles. Willmar continued their North Division dominance, as they won their series opener in Eau Claire, while Kenosha, Thunder Bay, and Wisconsin all held their opponents scoreless, en route to shutout victories. 


Thunder Bay 2, Mankato 0

The Border Cats hosted Mankato for a Wednesday matinee, and kicked off the second half on a high-note, registering a shutout victory. Thunder Bay’s starter Cole Stapler (Nicholls State) highlighted the day, blanking the MoonDogs over seven innings, holding them to four runs and striking out four, giving him three wins in his last three appearances. Carter McEachern (Trinity) contributed two hits and a run, while Alan Baldwin (Hawaii) recorded a two-RBI single, supplying the only offense throughout the game. Mankato was limited to just four hits as a team, but Mikel Mucha (Wichita State) was the lone bright spot, going 1-for-3 with a walk in the loss.

Wisconsin 3, Lakeshore 0

Wisconsin enjoyed a solid start to the new half, as their pitching staff held the Chinooks to just six hits throughout, and took game one of their series opener in Mequon. Dylan Dwyer (Kentucky) was lights out off the mound, tossing 8 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits, and struck out one as he improved to 3-1 on the year, winning his third consecutive start. Designated hitter Max Ponzurick (Virginia Tech) carried the offense, going 1-for-2 with two walks, an RBI and scored once. Lakeshore’s shortstop Anthony Massicci (Canisius) broke out of his previous 0-for-9 slump, going 2-for-3 at the plate, boosting his average to .323 on the year.

Alexandria 8, Duluth 7

The Blue Anchors continue to perform well based off the momentum they built off the first half, scoring two runs in the 8th inning, defeating the Huskies. Alexandria’s lineup combined for fourteen hits, led by Ben Allen (Des Moines C.C.) going 3-for-4 with a double, and a home run, his first of the year. Relievers Mitch Larson (Nebraska-Omaha) and Max Knutson (Nebraska) combined to shutout Duluth through the last 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and struck out three, while Larson collected the win and Knutson picked up his first save. Huskies 1st baseman Justin Paulsen (Missouri State) recorded his first bomb of the season, finishing with a pair of hits and runs, as his team started off the second half in the loss column.

St. Cloud 6, Waterloo 2

After scoring five runs in the 3rd inning, St. Cloud cruised to their first win of the second half, taking down the Bucks at home. Starter Zach Pop (Kentucky) served up another terrific pitching performance, tossing 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out a season-high eight, as he has gotten in a groove, becoming victorious in back-to-back starts. Rox batters Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville) and Brett Pope (Western Carolina) were a solid 1,2 punch a top the lineup, connecting with four hits and an RBI. Waterloo’s catcher Matt Stemper (Minnesota) contributed an RBI double on the night, as the Bucks fell to 0-1 to begin the second stanza.

Kalamazoo 12, Madison 8

Kalamazoo broke out with nine runs after four innings, as they upset the Mallards at Warner Park, and moved into the win column to begin the second half. Second year Growlers Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) and Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) combined for six hits and five RBIs on the night, as their team combined for an impressive fourteen hits. Alex Kuisel (Academy of Art) only need 1/3 of an inning of work to record his second win of the season, as he owns a 2.64 ERA through 17 innings of relief. Madison’s Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s) continues to build upon his fantastic 2015 season, as he slugged two home runs, tying a league-high with six on the year, and knocking in five RBIs, brining his total to 23.

Willmar 3, Eau Claire 1

The first-half champion Stingers broke the 1-1 tie in the 6th inning, and held on for the victory, as they took their series opener against the Express. Willmar’s starter Brian Kehner (Presbyterian) was stellar tonight, earning Pitcher of the Night honors, going eight strong innings, allowing a run on two hits, and fanning seven batters, as he advanced to 2-0 on the year. Catcher Kyle Gilbert (Florida Gulf Coast) went 1-for-3 at the plate, adding a walk and a run to his effort, as the Stingers offense provided just enough offense for the victory. Express leadoff man Sam Hurt (Madison Technical) tacked on his first home run of the year, hitting a solo shot to begin the ballgame.

Kenosha 1, Wisconsin Rapids 0

Kenosha grinded out to a narrow 1-0 victory on the road in Wisconsin Rapids, as they scored the lone run in the 3rd inning, starting off the second half right where they left off, which is in the win column. Kingfish ace Josh Serio (UW-Parkside) only needed five innings of work to collect his league-high sixth victory, allowing just one hit and punching out three, as he has lowered his league-best ERA to a wonderful 0.89 through 40 1/3 innings pitched. Catcher Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois) provided the only offense, with an RBI walk in the 3rd inning, giving him his six on the campaign. Rapids received a solid start from their pitcher Brian Russell (Staten Island) who tossed seven innings, giving up just one run on six hits and struck out a pair of batters, but received no run support and was handed his first loss of the year.

Rochester 4, Battle Creek 2

The Honkers took game one of their interleague series against the Bombers, holding Battle Creek scoreless through the last four innings and picking up their first victory in the second half. Starter Jayson Yano (Stevens Institute) continued his dominance off the mound, throwing six innings, giving up two runs (one earned), five hits and struck out a season-best nine batters, as he earned his fifth victory of the year. Rochester’s outfielder Cole Krzmarzick (Nevada) enjoyed a two hit, two RBI night at the dish, improving his average to a modest .293. Bombers Brennon Lund (BYU) and Dan Swain (Siena) each recorded two hits on the night, as Battle Creek starts off the second half with a loss.

La Crosse 4, Green Bay 3

Snapping the Bullfrogs eight-game win streak, the Loggers scored a crucial run in the 8th inning, and held off a late Green Bay push in the 9th, as they took game one of their second half opener. La Crosse batters Will Savage (Columbia) and Jordan Zimmerman (Mesa C.C.) each recorded two hits on the night, with Savage scoring twice. Brandon Lawson (South Florida) was strong in his first victory, throwing seven innings, allowing just one earned run, striking out six. Leadoff man Logan Taylor (Louisville) collected two hits a top the Bullfrogs lineup, as Green Bay dropped to 0-1 to begin the second half.  


Thursday’s Schedule

Wisconsin @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM

Duluth @ Alexandria 7:05 PM

Eau Claire @ Willmar 7:05 PM

Battle Creek @ Rochester 7:05 PM

Kenosha @ Wisconsin Rapids 7:05 PM

Kalamazoo @ Madison 7:05 PM

Green Bay @ La Crosse 7:05 PM

Waterloo @ St. Cloud 7:05 PM

Mankato @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM