Second Half Begins with Solid Pitching
Following last night's thrilling first-half finale, the second half of the Northwoods League season began with a full nine-game slate on Wednesday night. The day's action featured a few phenomenal pitching performances, highlighted by Eau Claire's Jon Roblez, who had a no-hitter through seven innings.
Kalamazoo 2, Mankato 1
The Kalamazoo Growlers won a pitcher's duel against the Mankato MoonDogs 2-1 at home on Wednesday. Kalamazoo's Connor Smith (Western Michigan) singled in a run in the bottom of the second, and the Growlers added another in the fifth on a passed ball, as Smith scored from third. Mankato scored its lone run of the game in the top of the seventh with a run-scoring single from Chase Hamilton (Austin Peay). Kalamazoo starter Austin Woodby (Ohio State) earned the victory and allowed one run on three hits and no walks with four strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. Austin Rodesky (Findlay) earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
Lakeshore 10, Wisconsin 4
The Lakeshore Chinooks had a 10-0 lead following a six-run sixth inning, which proved to be the difference in a 10-4 home victory over the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Marshall Kasowski (Houston) had an incredible night on the mound, as he picked up the win for Lakeshore. He threw five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and three walks with eight strikeouts. Chinooks' third baseman Tim Dalporto (Kent State) hit 2-for-5 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored with a home run. Kasowski's college teammate Zac Taylor (Houston) also homered for Lakeshore.
Waterloo 6, Duluth 2
The Waterloo Bucks scored in four of the first five innings to take a 6-0 advantage over the Duluth Huskies in a 6-2 victory on the road. The Bucks scored two in the first, one in the second, two in the third and one in the fifth. Duluth scored its two runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Waterloo starting pitcher Steven Baker (Chico State) pitched a fantastic game with 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed four hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Shortstop Brody Weiss (Riverside City College) hit 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in for the Bucks.
Rockford 4, Green Bay 3
The Rockford Rivets scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and held on to defeat the Green Bay Bullfrogs 4-3 at home. Rockford scored one in the sixth and three in the seventh, and Green Bay scored a run in the final three innings in a losing effort. The Bullfrogs actually outhit Rockford 10-6 but committed three errors, which led to three unearned runs. Rockford starter Tyler Thornton (Tennessee Wesleyan) threw five shutout innings and allowed six hits and one walk with four strikeouts to pick up the win. Leftfielder Hunter Steinmetz (Missouri State) hit 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, two RBI and a run scored.
Wisconsin Rapids 6, Kenosha 5
The first-half South Division champion Wisconsin Rapids Rafters rallied for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Kenosha Kingfish 6-5 on Wednesday. Kenosha held a 5-1 lead going in to the eighth inning. Wisconsin Rapids scored two in the eighth before Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) stepped up to the plate in a pinch-hit appearance and connected on a three-run home run to give the Rafters their first lead of the game at 6-5. Kenosha put a runner on in the top of the ninth but left him stranded, as Nick Belzer (Hawaii) locked down the save.
Thunder Bay 5, La Crosse 2
The La Crosse Loggers took an early lead, but the Thunder Bay Border Cats picked up the 5-2 win on the road on Wednesday night. Thunder Bay had a solid balance offensively, as the Border Cats recorded eight total hits, and seven batters in the lineup had a hit. Michael Papierski (Louisiana State University) and Andrew Fregia (Sam Houston State University) both finished with home runs for Thunder Bay. Border Cats starter Brandon Langan (University of Mexico) picked up the win in five innings of work. He allowed one run on six hits and two walks with a strikeout.
Eau Claire 11, St. Cloud 8
The St. Cloud Rox came back from an eight-run deficit to force extra innings, but the Eau Claire Rox came away with a 11-8 victory in 10 innings. Eau Claire scored six runs in the seventh to take an 8-0 lead. Jon Roblez (Alabama St) did not allow a hit in seven innings of work for Eau Claire before he was replaced, and the Rox got their first hit with two outs in the eighth inning in what was an impressive comeback. St. Cloud scored two in the eighth and six in the bottom half of the ninth to force the 10th inning. Eau Claire scored three runs in the top of the 10th and shut out St. Cloud in the bottom half of the inning.
Willmar 10, Rochester 7
The Rochester Honkers took a 4-0 lead in the second inning before the Willmar Stingers came back and held on to win 10-7 at home. Rochester outhit the Stingers 19-12 but stranded 16 runners on base in the loss. Willmar designated hitter Danny Meyer (Pacific) hit 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored with two home runs, and leftfielder Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. For the Honkers, leadoff hitter and second baseman Kyle Kasser (Oregon) had a four-hit night with a run scored and a run batted in.
Battle Creek 15, Madison 11
The Battle Creek Bombers outscored the Madison Mallards 15-11 in an offensive battle on the road Wednesday night. There was plenty of action on the base paths from both sides. In addition to the 26 total runs, teams combined for 29 hits, 13 walks and five errors. Battle Creek recorded three home runs in the game, including leftfielder Daniel Jipping (Central Michgian), who hit his eighth homer of the season, which is good for second most in the Northwoods League. Madison also connected on two homers, including third baseman Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville University), who hit his seventh of the year in the loss.
Waterloo @ Duluth (6:35 PM)
Wisconsin @ Lakeshore (6:35 PM)
Green Bay @ Rockford (6:35 PM)
Eau Claire @ St. Cloud (7:05 PM)
Rochester @ Willmar (7:05 PM)
Kenosha @ Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 PM)
Thunder Bay @ La Crosse (7:05 PM)
Mankato @ Kalamazoo (7:05 PM)
Battle Creek @ Madison (7:05 PM)