Duluth shocks Willmar, Madison slides by Green Bay, while St. Cloud and Kenosha advance to division finals.
In the inaugural Northwoods League single-game elimination wild card matchups, both one-seeds advances seemingly with ease as St. Cloud shut out Rochester, and Kenosha coasted over La Crosse. In the 2 vs. 3 matchups, Duluth upset the first-half North Champion Willmar Stingers, advancing to the finals, while Madison defeated Green Bay by a narrow margin.
St. Cloud 4, Rochester 0
Behind a terrific complete game three-hitter behind their ace Reese Gregory (St. Cloud State), the Rox eliminated Rochester, taking the shut out victory and advancing to the North Division finals. Gregory was the star of the night, throwing all nine innings, giving up just three hits, a walk, and striking out a stellar ten batters in the victory. Right fielder Lee Miller (Davidson) provided the spark offensively, hitting his first home run of the postseason, a two-run shot in the 5th inning which supplied more than enough run support for Gregory to get the job done. Rochester’s Joshua Pigg (Hawaii) was cruising until the 5th, but allowed four runs through six innings and struck out four in the loss, as Rochester’s 2015 season comes to an end.
Duluth 2, Willmar 0
In a shocking outcome in the North semifinal, the Huskies pulled off a terrific upset in Willmar, defeating the Stingers at home to move into the divisional finals. Carried by starter Eric Morell’s (LaGrange College) fantastic outing off the mound, giving 6 2/3 innings of work, allowing just three hits and striking out a pair of batters as he earned the victory. Closer Austin Carpenter (North Alabama) picked up the save, throwing a shut out 9th inning and preserving the win. Duluth’s leadoff man Danny Lee (Manatee) went 2-for-5 with a double and a run at the top of the lineup, while Jimmy Heck (Minnesota-Duluth) collected an RBI and a walk. Willmar’s Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) and Dylan Alexander (Cal State Northridge) were the only Stingers batters to record hits on the night, each finishing with two base-knocks as the first-half champs have now been eliminated from the postseason.
Kenosha 7, La Crosse 2
Kenosha used a huge six-run 5th inning to pace their way past La Crosse for the easy semifinal win, facing off against Madison tomorrow for the South Division title. Kenosha racked up 11 hits on the night. Led by All-Star Eric Filia (UCLA) going 2-for-4 with an RBI, while outfielder Pat McInerney (Illinois) recorded his first home run of the playoffs, finishing with three RBIs, two hits and two runs scored. Rico Garcia (Hawaii Pacific) earned the semifinal victory, giving up a run over 5 1/3 innings of work and struck out six, while reliever Adam Dressler (Purdue) threw the final two innings scoreless, punching out three batters in the process. Loggers’ 2nd baseman Jordan Zimmerman (Michigan State) provided a solo home run in the loss, as La Crosse’s 2015 campaign comes to a close.
Madison 3, Green Bay 2
The Mallards scored a pair of runs in the 4th inning and held off a late Green Bay push to advance into the South Division finals, carried by timely hitting and a terrific pair of pitching performances. Starter Andrew Beckwith (Coastal Carolina) was brilliant off the mound, giving 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run (none earned) on eight hits and struck out a pair, while typical starter A.J. Bogucki (North Carolina) went the rest of the way, throwing 2 2/3 innings of relief, surrendering a run on three hits and struck out five for the save. All-Star Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s) continued his outstanding 2015 season, hitting a home run out of the leadoff spot, while Jean Ramirez (Illinois State) and Cameron Frost (Washington State) each provided two hits apiece. Green Bay’s 1st baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Brian Celsi (California) contributed a pair of hits and a run, as the Bullfrogs have been knocked out of the playoffs.
North Division Championship
Duluth @ St. Cloud 7:05 PM
South Division Championship
Madison @ Kenosha 7:05 PM