High-scoring Saturday night headlines league action.
Saturday night's games saw a collection of high-run ballgames as the bats story lined the night. Willmar has started to bounce out of their early second half slump to sweep the doubleheader against Thunder Bay. The Rox continue to maintain their early lead in the North, splitting their doubleheader against Rochester. In a battle between the top two teams in the South Division, Kenosha took down Green Bay in the series opener.
Kalamazoo 3, Wisconsin Rapids 2
The Growlers held Wisconsin Rapids scoreless through the last six innings of play, taking game one of their series opener, moving to 4-9 on the year. Kalamazoo’s bullpen stole the show, allowing just one hit in the final 4 2/3 innings, shutting down the Rafters lineup, with Nathan Coakley (St. Francis) recording his second win. Right fielder John Soteropulos (California) supplied the game winning hit, crushing a solo home run in the 4th inning, which was the deciding factor. Rafters 3rd baseman Brock Carpenter (Seattle) recorded his third home run of the season, while walking three times, as his team fell to 5-5 on the year.
St. Cloud 10, Rochester 2 (Game One, 7 Innings)
St. Cloud took part one of their Saturday doubleheader, as they exploded with twelve hits in the shortened seven-inning game, improving their record to 9-2. Four different Rox batters hit home runs as Michael Strem (Boston College), Webb Bobo (Southeastern Louisiana), Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville), and John Sansone (Florida State) combined for all of their team’s RBIs. Starter Lucas Gilbreath (Minnesota) became victorious in back-to-back starts, giving six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out five. Honkers’ outfielder Joe DeRoche-Duffin (UConn) supplied the only offense for his team, registering a pair of RBIs as Rochester dropped their fourth game of the second half.
Rochester 11, St. Cloud 2 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Rochester responded with a blow-out victory of their own, as the took down the Rox, scoring all of their runs in the last three innings, moving into a tie with Alexandria for second place. Honkers’ 2nd baseman Ryan Webberley (Cal Poly Pomona) was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI in the second game. Reliever Spencer Greer (Dixie State) received the win, tossing 1 1/3 innings, giving up no runs and one hit, punching out three batters. Rox shortstop Brandon Benson (Georgia College) crushed his second home run of the season, providing the only ounce of offense for his team, however St. Cloud still maintains a 1 ½ game lead over the entire North Division.
La Crosse 8, Lakeshore 4
The Loggers totaled fifteen hits on the night, moving to 7-5 in the second half, propelled behind a terrific night by Mason McCoy (Illinois Central). While maintaining the title of the league’s most efficient hitter, McCoy increased his average to .381 with four hits and two RBIs. Graham Spraker (Quincy University) took his fourth victory on the year, going six innings, giving up four runs on six hits, while striking out three. Chinooks’ Lucas Raley (Lake Erie) continues his all-star caliber 2015 season, going 3-for-5 with his league-leading tenth home run, as Lakeshore moved back to 5-10 in the new half.
Kenosha 9, Green Bay 3
Kenosha continued their dominance over the South Division, taking a critical series opener against the Bullfrogs, owning a league-best 10-2 record. Kingfish catcher Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois) provided a two-hit, two-RBI effort on the night, boosting his average to a solid .302. Scholl’s collegiate teammate Brendon Allen was solid off the mound, throwing six innings, allowing three runs (one earned), striking out three, improving to 2-2. Bullfrogs’ 1st baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) went 2-for-4 with an RBI, as Green Bay remains in second place in the South, and 2 ½ games behind Kenosha.
Battle Creek 2, Madison 1
The Bombers took home an impressive road win at Warner Park, scoring two runs in the 5th inning and holding off a late Mallard rally to hand Madison an upset loss. Battle Creek’s Jordan Knutson (Missouri State) took home Pitcher of the Night honors, throwing a 7 1/3 inning gem, giving up a run on three hits, striking out an impressive eleven batters. Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) provided the offensive power, as his two-run bomb in the 5th was all the run support his team needed tonight. The Mallards fell to 6-4 in the second half; catcher Jean Ramirez (Illinois State) supplied the only offense on the night for Madison, hitting a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning.
Alexandria 4, Mankato 2
Winning their second straight game, the Blue Anchors continue to be the biggest surprise of the second half as they defeated the MoonDogs in the series opener. Alexandria platooned their way to a victory as Max Knutson (Nebraska) pitched the first five innings, receiving his team-best fifth victory, while reliever Ciji Ramos (Arkansas) tossed the final four scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out three, picking up his first save. Leadoff man Steve Sada (Miami Ohio) went 3-for-5, while holding a terrific .335 batting average. MoonDogs’ left fielder Brinn Bell (St. Ambrose) went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the loss, as Mankato slid back to 4-6.
Waterloo 3, Eau Claire 2
Waterloo bounced back to take game one of their home opener against Eau Claire, holding off a late 9th inning rally to win their sixth game. Jonah Bride (Neosho County C.C.) carried the offense with three hits and two RBIs, Bucks’ ace Jordan Desguin (Florida Gulf Coast) continues to be a force off the mound, throwing seven great innings, giving up just a run on three hits, striking out six and lowering his ERA to 1.25 with a 3-2 record. Eau Claire remains in the hole to begin the second half, outfielder Teddy Cillis provided a solo home run; his second of the year as the Express now own a 3-8 record.
Willmar 6, Thunder Bay 4 (Game One, 7 Innings)
The first half North-champion Stingers took game one of their home doubleheader as they never trailed throughout the game and defeated the Border Cats. Willmar 2nd baseman Brian Pruett (Florida Gulf Coast) enjoyed another multi-hit night, going 2-for-3, recording his fourth home run. Starter Brad Bailey (North Alabama) notched his fifth win of the year, going six innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out four, as he has now picked up the win in five of his last six starts. Thunder Bay’s leadoff man Jared James (Long Beach State) totaled three hits in the first game, as his team dropped to 4-7, in 8th place in the North.
Willmar 10, Thunder Bay 2 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Willmar used a six-run 5th inning to sweep their Saturday night doubleheader as the offense led them to their third-straight win. Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) had a huge night at the dish, going 2-for-3, scoring twice and hitting his first home run of the year, knocking in a season-high four RBIs. Colton Boucher (Northern State) turned in a solid outing for his second victory, giving five innings of work and striking out four. Jared James (Long Beach State) continued his build upon a solid two-game night, recording two RBIs and a double.
Duluth 7, Wisconsin 3
Duluth broke out with four runs in the 6th inning and went on to take their interleague matchup against Wisconsin, led behind a solid fourteen hits from their offense. Catcher Holden Cammack (Oral Roberts) supplied a pair of hits and runs, while knocking in a run, and 2nd baseman Jimmy Heck (Minnesota-Duluth) provided three RBIs. Huskies’ starter Eric Morell (LaGrange College) picked up his second win, ending over a month drought from his previous victory in late-May, as he allowed a run through six innings, and fanned four batters. Chucks’ Ramsey Romano (Michigan) recorded his second home run of the year, hitting a two-run shot in the final frame, as Wisconsin dropped their second straight contest.
St. Cloud @ Rochester 1:05 PM
Eau Claire @ Waterloo 3:35 PM
Battle Creek @ Madison 4:05 PM
Green Bay @ Kenosha 4:05 PM
Lakeshore @ La Crosse 5:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids @ Kalamazoo 5:05 PM
Wisconsin @ Duluth 6:05 PM
Alexandria @ Mankato 6;05 PM
Thunder Bay @ Willmar 6:05 PM