Elite pitching in the Northwoods League was on full display again on Wednesday night with several low-scoring ballgames. Some bad weather went across the league, which put an early end to three games and postponed another to tomorrow night. Duluth and Waterloo was called final after five innings, as was Willmar and La Crosse. Mankato and Rochester made it to the bottom of the seventh inning before the game was finished, and Game 2 was pushed back to Thursday night.
Rochester 7, Mankato 6
In what was scheduled to be a doubleheader on Wednesday night, the first game between the Rochester Honkers and Mankato MoonDogs finished in just seven innings because of more bad weather. Rochester won the game 7-6. Spencer Johnson (Wayne State) picked up the victory for the Honkers. He went 5 2/3 innings and allwowed four runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. The two teams will try to play another doubleheader tomorrow night beginning at 6:05 with the second game beginning 30 minutes following Game 1's conclusion.
St. Cloud 3, Eau Claire 1
The St. Cloud Rox scored in three of the first four innings and defeated the Eau Claire Express 3-1 on Wednesday night. TJ Friedl (Nevada Reno) hit 2-for-4 and scored the first run of the game in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Denis Karas (Cal Berkeley). Brendan Illies (University of North Carolina) recorded the other two RBI with sacrifice flies in the second and fourth innings. St. Cloud's Jake Stevenson (University of Minnesota) had a no-hitter going through the first five innings and threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and three walks with four strikeouts on the night. Brandon Benson (Georgia College) recorded three hits for the Rox, who improved to 5-4, while the Express fell to 5-4 on the season.
Kalamazoo 6, Green Bay 0
The Kalamazoo Growlers pitchers allowed just three hits and shut out the Green Bay Bullfros 6-0 on Wednesday night to win their third game in a row. Green Bay kept the game close, and they trailed 1-0 heading into the eight inning, but the Growlers scored four runs to blow the game open. Kalamazoo starter Larry Wood (Northwood) threw seven scoreless innings on three hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Drake Herrman (Pittsburg State) and Grant Wolfram (Central Michigan) each threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, as the Growlers completed the shutout. Kalamazoo outhit the Bullfrogs 9-3 in the game and improved to 5-4 on the year, while Green Bay dropped to 3-6.
Madison 2, Lakeshore 1
The Madison Mallard scored a run in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat the Lakeshore Chinooks 2-1 on the road Wednesday night. Madison starter Mike Reitcheck (Penn) tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed four hits and a walk with five strikeouts on the night. The Chinooks scored their lone run in the bottom of the eight to but the lead to 1, but Alex Smith (North Florida) came on to close out the game for the save and secured the Mallards' victory. Lakeshore starter Alex Rogers (North Dakota State) pitched a solid game but earned the loss. He allowed just one run on five hits and no walks with a pair of strikeouts over six innings.
Rockford 2, Kenosha 1
The Rockford Rivets outlasted the Kenosha Kingfish in a pitcher's duel on Wednesday. Rockford took a two-run lead after single runs in the fourth and sixth innings with a sacrifice fly and a single from first baseman Ricardo Ramirez (UIC) to drive in both Rivets' runs. Wes Weeks' (St. Johns River State) RBI groundout put Kenosha on the board in the eighth, but that was all the scoring for the Kingfish on the night. Kenosha's Nick Kanavas (Madison College) had the best game with a 3-for-3 performance with the only Kingfish run scored. Nick Drahozal (Kirkwood CC) earned the victory by throwing six scoreless innings on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
Wisconsin Rapids 5, Thunder Bay 0
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters shut out the Thunder Bay Border Cats 5-0 on Wednesday thanks to a spectacular pitching performance from Gareth Stroh (Coffeyville CC), who was named the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night. Stroh threw seven scoreless innings for Wisconsin Rapids with three hits and a walk allowed and eight strikeouts in the game. The Rafters got on the board in the bottom of the second inning with a two-run home run hit by Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville), who recorded three RBI on the evening. Rafters' leftfielder Brandon Polizzi (Cal State – Dominguez Hills) finished with a game-high three hits.
Waterloo 2, Duluth 1
In another game that was shortened due to bad weather, the Waterloo Bucks defeated the Duluth Huskies 2-1 in just five innings of play. The Bucks scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run hit by catcher Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois). Waterloo recorded just two more hits the rest of the game, but Duluth finished with just two hits total. Bucks starter Jordan Accetta (Wofford) threw all five innings and allowed a run on two hits and four walks with three strikeouts for Waterloo, who improved to 7-2 for first place in the North Division.
Willmar 5, La Crosse 0
The Willmar Stingers and La Crosse Loggers completed just five innings of play before the game was called final, as the Stingers won 5-0 at home. Willmar pitcher Gage Hutchinson (Daytona State) threw a complete game with five scoreless innings,allowed three hits and struck out four batters. Stingers' shortstop Quincy McAfee (Pepperdine) hit 2-for-2 with a run scored and two RBI, as Willmar boosted its record to 5-4, while La Crosse fell to 3-6.
Battle Creek 7, Wisconsin 0
The Battle Creek Bombers pounded out 14 hits and scored seven runs to defeat the Wisconsin Woodchucks 7-0 on Wednesday night. Eight batters in the Battle Creek lineup recorded hits, including Christian Helsel (Penn State), who hit 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and a RBI. Bombers' starting pitcher Scott Sency (SVSU) picked up the victory in six innings of work, allowing no runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in the game. Battle Creek bumped its record up to 6-3, and Wisconsin dropped to 5-3.
Mankato @ Rochester (6:05 PM) – Game 1
Mankato @ Rochester (8:05 PM) – Game 2
Lakeshore @ Madison (6:35 PM)
Kalamazoo @ Green Bay (6:35 PM)
St. Cloud @ Eau Claire (6:35 PM)
Rockford @ Kenosha (7:05 PM)
Thunder Bay @ Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 PM)
La Crosse @ Willmar (7:05 PM)
Duluth @ Waterloo (7:05 PM)
Wisconsin @ Battle Creek (7:05 PM)