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Powerful offense supplies the fireworks throughout the 4th.

As the 4th of July came upon the Northwoods League, the bats ruled the night as nine teams scored over six runs or more in their contests. La Crosse snapped Kenosha's five-game win streak in an offensive barn burner, while Willmar continues their dominance over the North Division, pulling off a close victory in Eau Claire, completing the series sweep. Lakeshore's Lucas Raley broke a Northwoods League record, hitting four home runs in the first game of their doubleheader in Kalamazoo. 

 

Duluth 7, Alexandria 4

Kicking off the July 4th slate of ballgames, the Huskies received a stellar pitching performance from their starter Bo Hellquist (Minnesota-Duluth), and swept their home series against the Blue Anchors. Hellquist held the Alexandria lineup without a hit through the first 6 2/3 innings of the game, and cruised to his fourth victory as he allowed two runs, and struck out six. Hellquist’s collegiate teammate Alex Wojciechowski added a perfect 4-for-4 night, with an RBI, while shortstop Alex Greene (West Florida) went 1-for-4 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Blue Anchors right fielder Kyle Richardson (Notre Dame) contributed two RBIs in the loss, as his team dropped to 2-2 in the second half.

Wisconsin Rapids 14, Green Bay 4

The Rafters opened up to an 8-1 lead after two innings, as they split the season finale against Green Bay in a terrific display of offense. Led by a duo of Zack Domingues (Long Beach State) and Jake Sandlin (Georgia College), the two combined for six RBIs, four runs and three hits as Rapids was not fooled at all by the Bullfrogs’ pitching staff. Backed by an offensive explosion, starter Jack Riley (UConn) improved to 3-0 on the year, going six innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, while striking out a trio of batters. Bullfrogs 1st baseman Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, as Green Bay fell to .500 at 2-2 to begin the new half.

Lakeshore 16, Kalamazoo 2 (Game One, 7 Innings)

In game three of their four game series, the Chinooks blew away the Growlers, as they received an unbelievable night at the dish from Lucas Raley (Lake Erie), who recorded a league-record four home runs in the first half of the doubleheader. Raley was absolutely sensational, scoring four times and finishing with eight RBIs, while now owning the lead league for home runs with nine, as he easily took home Player of the Night with a performance he will not soon forget. Chinooks starter Lake Bachar (UW-Whitewater) eased himself to his third win, tossing seven innings, giving up an earned run on seven hits, while striking out five Growlers. John Soteropulos (California) provided two hits and an RBI in the loss, as Kalamazoo fell to 1-4.

Kalamazoo 2, Lakeshore 1 (Game Two, 7 Innings)

Kalamazoo bounced back from their game one thrashing by Lakeshore, to silent the Chinooks’ bats and take the nightcap by a slim margin. Starter Cole Schaefer (Coastal Carolina) performed well, going 4 2/3 innings, allowing just a run on five hits, striking out a batter and winning his first game of the year. Closer Nick Wernke (West Virginia) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings scoreless, earning his third save of the year. The Growlers offense grinded out both of their runs, one off a Lakeshore error, the other due to Kory Brown’s (Bowling Green) bases loaded walk, which pulled his team ahead for good. Lakeshore’s shortstop Greg Deichmann (LSU) slugged his first home run of the year, as Lakeshore dropped to 2-4 in the South Division.

La Crosse 13, Kenosha 10

The Loggers snapped Kenosha’s five-game win streak as they demolished Kingfish pitching all night en route to earning their second win. Catcher Riley Adams (San Diego) propelled his team to victory, recording a grand slam, while finishing with two hits and scoring twice, while outfielder Chris Baker (Washington) provided some fireworks of his own, as he stole home, while also contributing a pair of hits and RBIs on the night. La Crosse starter Kevin Flemer (Oregon State) did not have his best performance, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits and struck out four, but was supplied with a plethora of runs, advancing to 3-0 on the year. Kingfish shortstop Grayson Byrd (LSU) turned in an impressive effort, homering in the loss, while picking up two hits and three RBIs, as Kenosha took their first loss of the second half, moving to 3-1.

Battle Creek 7, Waterloo 6 (10 Innings)

Battle Creek scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, holding off a late Bucks’ rally and splitting their road interleague series. Bombers’ Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) labeled himself the hero of the night, as his two-run single was the deciding factor in his team’s victory, while finishing the night with an outstanding performance, going 4-for-6 with three RBIs. Reliever Edgar Sanchez (Cedar Valley College) was shaky in the final frame, but composed himself to limit the damage and earn his first save of the season. Waterloo’s shortstop Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem State) smashed his first home run of the year, finishing with two hits as the Bucks dropped to 1-3.  

Willmar 4, Eau Claire 3

Remaining the hottest team in the Northwoods League, the Stingers inched out a slim victory as they shutout the Express through the final four innings of the ballgame, and staying unbeaten. Willmar’s left fielder Ky Parrott (James Madison) provided the go-ahead hit, singling home a run in the 7th inning, while designated hitter Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) added a pair of doubles, while knocking in a run. Closer Brady Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) caused a stir, giving up two hits in the final frame, but finally shut the door to end the game, as he has now successfully converted all nine save opportunities. Eau Claire’s Nathan Krause (Winona State) recorded his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the 4th inning, as the Express remain winless to begin their second half campaign.

St. Cloud 7, Thunder Bay 1

The Rox jumped all over Border Cat pitching today, registering fourteen hits, taking the series sweep and remaining undefeated to begin the second half. Lucas Gilbreath (Minnesota) needed just five innings of work to pick up his second win, surrendering just one run on three hits, while punching out seven. Rox 3rd baseman John Sansone (Florida State) went 2-for-5 with a solo home run, giving him two in just five games with the team, while Liam Bedford (Doane College) contributed a pair of hits and RBIs to the winning effort. Border Cats’ catcher Dan Rizzie (Xavier) provided the only ounce of offense, going 1-for-4 with an RBI as Thunder Bay fell to 2-2.

Madison 7, Wisconsin 3

Madison remained unbeaten Saturday night as they swept their road series, edging the Woodchucks, as they take an early lead over the South Division. Mallards’ catcher Collin Theroux (Delta College) was terrific, going 2-for-5 with a three-run bomb in the 5th inning, rounding out the contest with four RBIs and scoring twice. Starter Matt Bower (Washington State) continued to provide quality starts, going 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), while striking out an impressive nine batters. Chucks’ outfielder Connor Heady (Kentucky) supplied two hits and an RBI in the losing effort, as Wisconsin lost their second straight game, settling in at 2-2 on the new half.

 

Sunday’s Schedule

Thunder Bay @ Rochester 1:05 PM

Willmar @ Waterloo 3:35 PM

Madison @ Alexandria 5:05 PM

Green Bay @ Kalamazoo 5:05 PM

Mankato @ Duluth 5:05 PM

St. Cloud @ Eau Claire 5:05 PM

Wisconsin Rapids @ Wisconsin 5:05 PM

Lakeshore @ Battle Creek 6:05 PM

La Crosse @ Kenosha 6:05 PM