St. Cloud Moves into First-Place Tie

After several teams had the day off yesterday, Tuesday night's action featured a full slate of Northwoods League baseball. Lots of games had close finishes with five of the nine games decided by one run. There was a mix of pitcher's duels, which we saw in the Wisconsin Rapids and Lakeshore game, and slugfests, which were provided in the game between Mankato and Willmar. St. Cloud moved into a tie for first place in the North Division with its seventh consecutive victory.

Battle Creek 6, Green Bay 2

The Battle Creek Bombers never trailed in a 6-2 home victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs on Tuesday night. The Bombers scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the early 4-0 advantage, capped off by a two-run single from by designated hitter Eric Gilgenbach (Notre Dame). Each team scored two runs the rest of the way for the Battle Creek victory. Bomber starter Tommy Parsons (Adrian College) gave up one run in six innings of work and allowed eight hits and zero walks with three strikeouts to improve to 3-1 in four starts. Green Bay had chances with 10 hits but left nine runners on base. Battle Creek improved to 12-11, and Green Bay fell to 7-14.

Eau Claire 6, Rochester 5

The Eau Claire Express survived a late rally from the Rochester Honkers to hold on to a 6-5 win at home. The Express pulled away to a 6-1 lead after seven innings of play, but the Honkers scored four in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to a single run. Mark Contreras (UC Riverside) hit his second home run on the season with a one-out solo homer to begin the eighth-inning scoring. Eau Claire's starting pitcher Ryan Hamilton (Augustana) allowed one unearned run on four hits and two walks over six innings with a strikeout for the win, as Eau Claire moved to 13-8 on the season.

La Crosse 10, Thunder Bay 6

The Thunder Bay Border Cats chipped away at the La Crosse Loggers' lead, but it was not enough as the Loggers won 10-6. After a seven-run fourth, the Loggers held a 10-0 advantage, which was enough to take down Thunder Bay. La Crosse starter Mitch Stalsberg (Winona State) threw six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on one hit and four walks with eight strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season. The Loggers boosted their overall record to 13-8, while the Border Cats dropped to 1-19 on the season.

Duluth 9, Wisconsin 8

The Duluth Huskies came out on top 9-8 in a wild game over the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Tuesday night. The Woodchucks nearly came back from a five-run deficit but came up one run short in the end. Duluth scored five in the third to take a 5-1 lead, and Wisconsin added a run in the fourth and sixth to make it a 5-3 game. The Huskies scored three in the bottom half of the sixth, but Wisconsin came back with four in the eighth to cut the lead to one. Duluth scored in the ottom of the eighth, and the Woodchucks did the same in the ninth but left the bases loaded to end the game. Steve Passatempo (UMass Lowell) hit for the cycle in a loss for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Rapids 2, Lakeshore 1

The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters took down the Lakeshore Chinooks in a low-scoring game with a score of 2-1 on Tuesday. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Wisconsin Rapids catcher Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) hit a sacrifice fly that proved to be the game winner. Rafters' starter Jay Peters (UW Milwaukee) allowed one run on two hits and a walk with six strikeouts in five innings. John Jaeger (Sterling College) earned the win for Wisconsin Rapids with three scoreless innings in relief with two strikeouts, and Garrett Schilling (Xavier) threw a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to pick up the save. Both teams recorded just four hits on the game, as Wisconsin Rapids improved to 12-8 on the season.

Mankato 12, Willmar 10

The Willmar Stingers climbed back into the game against the Mankato MoonDogs, but the big eighth-inning rally was not enough for the Stingers, who lost 12-10. After seven innings of play, Mankato led 12-3, but the comfortable lead became not so safe when Willmar erupted for seven runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Stingers had runners at first and second with one out and the winning run at the plate in the ninth, but a double play ended the game. Both teams had plenty of runners on the basepaths, as the game combined for 22 runs, 24 hits, 18 walks, two hit batters and 20 runners left on base.

Kalamazoo 8, Madison 7

The Kalamazoo Growlers scored two runs in the top of the eighth to beat the Madison Mallards 8-7 on the road. Trailing 7-6 after the seventh, Kalamazoo shortstop Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) hit the third home run of the game for the Growlers on a two-run shot that gave them the one-run lead, which was all they needed for the win. Hayden Brauser (Pratt CC) had a huge game for Kalamazoo from the bullpen. After a short start, Brauser came in and threw 7 1/3 innings of relief and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts to earn the victory.

St. Cloud 5, Waterloo 4

After the Waterloo Bucks tied the game in the seventh inning, the St. Cloud Rox scored a run in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead for good in a 5-4 win on Tuesday. St. Cloud held a 4-2 lead before Waterloo came back with two in the top of the seventh. With the game tied at 4, Rox first baseman Brendan Illies (University of North Carolina) singled to score Denis Karas (Cal Berkeley) for the game-winning run. St. Cloud extended its winning streak to seven games with the win and moved into a tie with Waterloo at 14-6 at the top of the North Division standings.

Kenosha 12, Rockford 6

The Kenosha Kingfish pounded out 17 hits and defeated the Rockford Rivets 12-6 on Tuesday night. After scoring one in the first, Kenosha added four in the second and four more in the third to take an early 9-0 lead, which was too big of a deficit for the Rivets to come back from. Seven batters in the Kenosha lineup recorded multiple hits, and Marty Bechina (Michigan State) had the lone home run of the game with a two-run shot in the third. The Kingfish moved to 9-14 on the season, while the Rivets now sit with a 11-10 record.

Wednesday's Schedule

Eau Claire @ Rochester (12:05 PM)

Wisconsin @ Duluth (6:35 PM)

Kenosha @ Rockford (6:35 PM)

Kalamazoo @ Madison (7:05 PM)

Lakeshore @ Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 PM)

Waterloo @ St. Cloud (7:05 PM)

La Crosse @ Thunder Bay (7:05 PM)

Green Bay @ Battle Creek (7:05 PM)