Tight Low Scoring Games Highlight Friday’s Action in the NWL

Six of the games on Friday night were decided by two or fewer runs and Kenosha runs their win streak to four games.

Kenosha 4, Madison 2

The Madison Mallards dropped their third game in a row to the Kingfish (0-3, 16-21), in a tight battle which was not decided until the last out was made with the potential lead run at the plate in the ninth inning. The game swung back and forth in the late innings, and the Mallards were one break short of winning the ballgame. The game was well-played on both sides and featured three double plays, outstanding pitching, and clutch hitting in the late innings. The Kingfish led 2-0 going into the seventh inning when a double by Trevor Schwecke (UW Milwaukee) and a long sacrifice fly into the left center field alley by Jake Randa (NW Florida State) tied the game 2-2. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Carson Ragsdale (South Florida) was one pitch away from getting out of the jam. On the second pay-off 3-2 pitch, Ragsdale sawed off the Kingfish batter on the fists, but a blooper fell into left field just over the head of the Mallards shortstop for two RBI.  The Mallards threatened in the ninth and had runners on first and second with one out when an unlucky break doomed the Madison rally. A line shot off the bat of Randa, ticketed for right field and an RBI single, found the leg of the tying Mallards base runner instead between first and second for a dead ball and an automatic out. The last out was made with the tying run at first base to secure the win for the Kingfish.

Growlers 5, Bullfrogs 4

The host Green Bay Bullfrogs had base runners at third and second base with two outs in the ninth inning, but the visiting Kalamazoo Growlers recorded the game-ending strikeout to secure the narrow 5-4 victory at Joannes Stadium Friday evening. The Bullfrogs suffer their eighth consecutive loss and drop to 0-5 against Kalamazoo this season. Kalamazoo grabbed the early lead in the opening frame on a RBI walk from Zach Daniels to put the visitors up 1-0. Green Bay took their first lead in the second inning as Luke Robinson (Western Carolina) scored on an error followed by a sacrifice fly from Brian Davis (Gordon State College) scoring Andre Antone (UC Irvine) to put the Bullfrogs in front 2-1. The Growlers tied the score at 2-2 in the third inning on a sacrifice fly before a two-run blast from Matthew Acosta (USC) in the bottom of the third gave the Frogs a 4-2 advantage on one swing of the bat. The Bullfrogs were held scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Kalamazoo began to chip away at the deficit in the fourth inning on a RBI infield single by Jonathan Foster (Florida State) to make it a 4-3 game. The Growlers had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, but Green Bay reliever Ben Keizer (Univ. of Michigan) tallied back-to-back strikeouts to escape the jam and keep the one-run Bullfrogs advantage. The visitors took back the lead with a two-spot in the top of the seventh inning. Kalamazoo’s rally began with Zach Daniels (Tennessee) scoring on a wild pitch to knot the score at 4-4. Cayman Richardson (Virginia) then blooped a RBI single into right-center field to put the Growlers back on top 5-4. Green Bay threatened with the tying run at third base and winning run at second, but Growlers closer Mason Shinabery (Huntington) posted the game-ending strikeout to seal the Kalamazoo triumph.

St. Cloud 7, Waterloo 2

Jack Barrie (Northwestern Ohio) blasted his fourth home run of the season and helped carry St. Cloud to a 7-2 win over the Waterloo Bucks on Friday night. The Rox finished the game with 12 hits and had five players register at least two or more total hits. The scoring began in the top of the third inning as Gus Steiger (South Dakota State) hit a single to center field that scored Connor Aube (UT-Arlington) from second base. Ryan Davis followed in the next at-bat with an RBI of his own, hitting a single to left field that scored Ben Carew (Kent State).
In the fourth inning, Barrie belted a leadoff home run to left field and extended the Rox lead to 3-0. It was the first pitch of the at-bat. The scoring would continue next inning when Ryan Weisenberg (Georgetown) singled to left field and scored Steiger, who got on base with a double to left field. St. Cloud wasn’t done scoring yet and Davis was back at it in the seventh inning, as he recorded a single to center field that scored Aube. A few insurance runs would be tacked on in the eighth inning, as Aube singled to right field and scored Ryland Kerr (Eastern Kentucky) and Barrie. Kyle Richardson (Texas A&M) started the game for St. Cloud on the mound and struck out five batters in five-and-one thirds innings pitched. Erik Martinez (UC-Berkeley), Carlo Graffeo (Minnesota State-Mankato), and Finn Del Bonta-Smith (San Jose State) all saw work out of the bullpen in the victory.

Duluth 3, Rochester 2

Duluth won their third straight game on Friday night with a 3-2 win over the Rochester Honkers at Mayo Field in Rochester, Minnesota.
The Huskies scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning and held on to the lead for the remainder of the contest. Duluth starting pitcher, Hunter Bigge (Harvard) tossed six innings on the mound, allowing one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking three. His effort was enough to be the winning pitcher. The game stayed scoreless as the first four innings came and went quickly. In the frame, seven Huskies came to the plate and three runs scored on three hits and two errors. The deadlock broke on an RBI single by Julian Escobedo (San Diego State) that scored Kyle Jacobsen (South Carolina). Moments later, Augie Isaacson (Friends University) hit an RBI sacrifice fly that brought in Michael McCann (Texas), doubling the Duluth lead. The inning was capped off by an error that scored Escobedo to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead midway through the contest. In the sixth, Bigge surrendered his only run on the mound as he carried a no-hitter into the inning. The no-no was broken up on a solo home run off the bat of Logan Denholm (UC Davis), his first of the year, putting the Honkers on the board.
In the seventh, Tim Holdgrafer (Cal Poly Pomona) took over for Bigge on the mound. Holdgrafer provided three innings of work out of the bullpen, surrendering one run on three hits. In his first inning of relief, Holdgrafer allowed a solo home run by Alex Baeza (Hawaii), launching his first home run of the year over the left-field wall, making it a 3-2 game. In the eighth, Rochester had runners at the corners with nobody out before the Huskies miraculously got out of the jam. The inning ended on a 9-2 double play as Jacobsen made a catch in right field before gunning down a runner at home plate that got the Huskies out of the inning unscathed. The Huskies offense was held hitless in the final three innings, but they were able to hold on to win as Holdgrafer slammed the door on the Honkers in the ninth, giving Duluth their first win over Rochester of the season.

Fond du Lac 5, Wisconsin Rapids 4

The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders took down the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 5-4 for their first win in the second half of the season. The Dock Spiders scored the first run of the game after back-to-back base hits to start the bottom of the second. A 4-6-3 double play was hit into by Mitch Boe but it allowed Sam Cohen to score from third. The Rafters tied it up a half inning later. Jordan Wiley (Kalamazoo College) collected a lead-off double and Brody Wofford (UCF) delivered the RBI base hit to plate Wiley and tie the game. Three more Rafters runs scored in the fourth off of four consecutive hits. Matt Schmidt (Michigan) smacked a two-run double and Victor Carlino (Long Beach State) earned an RBI single to give the Rafters a 4-1 lead. In a 4-1 hole heading into the 5th Fondy would climb out from underneath. Mitch Boe (Iowa) led things off with a walk and then the next two batters would reach on walks. Jack Wassel (Minnesota) would send home one batter with his third hit of the night. With the bases loaded the Rafters pitcher would walk the batter at the plate sending home run number three. One batter to follow with the score at 4-3 Andrew Bullock (Western Carolina) lined one into center field which sent home the go ahead run. Fond du Lac led 5-4 after 5 innings and would hold on for the next three innings.

Mankato 5, Willmar 1

The Mankato MoonDogs defeated the Willmar Stingers at Franklin Rogers Park Friday evening by a score of 5-1. The MoonDogs have won their last three games at Franklin Rogers Park and are undefeated in the second half. The scoring started early at the Frank with Willmar striking first via an RBI ground out. The MoonDogs regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning as RJ Teijeiro (UCLA) drove in Nick Novak (Angelo State) and an error by the Stinger shortstop scored Kyle MacDonald (Arkansas State). Novak then advanced the Mankato lead with a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Zac Wiley (Bellarmine). Jon Ludwig (Minnesota State) worked out of a jam in the top of the sixth. With runners on second and third, Ludwig earned his third strikeout of the inning to strand the Willmar base runners. The MoonDogs gained runners in the fifth and sixth innings but were unable to bring them across to score. Zac Wiley then extended the lead with a powerful solo home run to left field in the bottom of the seventh. Wiley, the 2017 season leader in home runs for the MoonDogs, tallied his second longball of the season and 16th RBI. Mankato added an insurance run through Max Wright (Indiana State) in the eighth. Wright singled to the right side and scored Garrett Mitchell (UCLA) from third. Mitchell’s run represents Wright’s 15th RBI of the season. The Stingers provided some late drama at the Frank. Willmar loaded the bases without recording a single out. Alden Huschle (Seattle) was able to draw a fly out and earned consecutive strikeouts to gain a six-out save.

Lakeshore 4, Wisconsin 3

After a fast start for the Chinooks, good pitching performances from starting pitcher Kyle Schmitt (Ellsworth) and the bullpen behind him held off the Woodchucks for a 4-3 win. Woodchucks starting pitcher Orsen Josephina (Palm Peach Atlantic) labored through his shortest start of the season, only completing one inning against the Chinooks. Jack Dunn (Northwestern) led off with a single and stole second base. With one out, Turner Buis (Coastal Carolina) singled to left field, scoring Dunn, and a throwing error allowed him to advance to third. Griffin Dey (Yale) reached on an infield single, scoring Buis from third. With two outs, Ronnie Sweeny III (Iowa Western) singled to score Dey, increasing the Chinooks lead to 3-0. Wisconsin turned the game over to Sam Ballard (Parkland College) in the second inning, but he was only able to get one out. He walked four batters, allowing one run, before exiting with the bases loaded. Frank Frate (Walsh University) entered the game and got Jim Govern (Eastern Illinois) to bounce into a double play, thanks to a fantastic diving play by second baseman Brandt Broussard (LSU). With the 4-0 game after the second inning, Kyle Schmitt (Ellsworth) was tasked with preserving the Chinooks lead. The Woodchucks were able to get two in the third inning on a two-out double by Zach DeLoach (Texas A & M) that found grass in between Jack Dunn and Cole Turney. Wisconsin made it a 4-3 game in the sixth after a RBI single by Alex Toral (Miami), and Schmitt was relieved for Clayton Slifer (Eastern Illinois). After scoring in the first two innings, the Chinooks offense went quiet for the rest of the night. Woodchucks reliever Frank Frate had a fantastic performance, pitching five and two-thirds shutout innings, only allowing one hit and striking out five. While he did walk three batters, Frate was able to mitigate any potential damages throughout the night. With the 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, the Chinooks decided to turn the game over the Luis Ferrer (Central Florida). He pitched the last two innings of the game, earning his first save of the season. He struck out four of the six batters he faced and continued to be one of the most effective Chinooks out of the bullpen, lowering his ERA to a fantastic 1.25.

Battle Creek 2, Rockford 1

The Rockford Rivets lost their fourth straight game Friday night in Rockford when they fell to the Battle Creek Bombers by a score of 2-1. Rockford managed to score first in the second inning off of a Parker Bates (Louisiana Tech) RBI double that scored second baseman Kian O’Brien (Kent State). This was Bates first game back after suffering a hand injury a couple weeks ago. O’Brien was also making his first start in the Rivets lineup and finished with two hits and a run. The Rivets had multiple chances to score in the game but could not seem to get hits in clutch situations. Rockford led 1-0 until the sixth inning when the Bombers managed to push across a run to tie the game. Jordan Swiss (Saginaw Valley State) singled to score Roman Trujillo (New Mexico State). They then scored in the seventh on a triple by Jalen Thomas (Madonna University) that scored Drake Osborn (Texas A & M – Corpus Christi) to go ahead and ultimately go on and win the game.

La Crosse 11, Eau Claire 4

The La Crosse Loggers scored seven runs in the seventh inning to beat the Eau Claire Express 11-4 on Friday night. La Crosse has now won six games in a row, improving to 3-0 on the second half of the 2018 Northwoods League season. The Express scored a run in the first but starting pitcher Hunter Davis (Duke) was able to escape an early jam. La Crosse answered with a run in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI single from Shane McGuire (San Diego). McGuire went 4-for-5 on Friday night, collecting two RBI to improve his season total to team-leading 33. The Loggers scored one run in each of the third, fourth, and fifth frames to take a 4-3 lead. Hunter Davis turned in 5.0 strong innings for La Crosse, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits, and leaving with the lead after facing a batter in the sixth frame. Ryan Anderson (Nevada) was outstanding in relief in his first appearance of the season, earning the victory after surrendering one run on one hit and striking out five over 4.0 innings of work. The Loggers offense was fueled by a seven run seventh inning that included a go-ahead two-run double from Korey Lee (Cal), an RBI single from Braiden Ward (Washington), and a three-run home run from Bryce Blaum (Texas A&M) that capped off the decisive inning. Lee finished the night 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored while Ward went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and three runs scored at the top of the Loggers’ lineup. Harrison Freed (Butler) extended his hit streak to 17 games with a base hit in the fifth inning, and is now two games away from the Loggers franchise record (19).

Thunder Bay 7, Bismarck 3

After a solid appearance last night from Erik Key, Friday’s starting pitcher Connor Centala (North Carolina State) picked right up where Key left off. Centala dominated the Larks batters as he pitched seven innings of one-run baseball in a 7-3 win for the Border Cats. He only allowed six Larks to reach base and as a result, never let them get any momentum. His strong performance resulted in him being named the Northwoods League pitcher of the night. Cruz Daddario (Cal State Northridge) started on the mound for the Larks and pitched seven innings, while striking out three batters and pitching four 1-2-3 innings, he gave up three runs. Andrew Gross (Texas at Arlington) came in relief for Centala and pitched two solid innings to finish the game. Offensively, the Cats scored all their runs in three different innings. The Cats scored three runs in the fourth inning that was led by Daniel DeSimone (Cowley College) and Shane Connahan (Georgia College). DeSimone hit an RBI single and Connahan followed it up with a 2 RBI double. Later in the game, an RBI triple from Brandon Trammell (Tennessee) and a two-run single from Nick Conti (Eckerd College) extended the lead and was the difference in the ballgame. Every Border Cat contributed a hit with Nick Conti being the standout performer. He went 3-5 with two RBI’s and scored two runs. For the Larks, Matt Warkentin (Xavier) drove in Chase Coker (Arkansas Little Rock) in the bottom of the 2nd inning to give the Larks a 1-0 lead. Warkentin would finish the day with three hits and one of them being a solo home run in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Saturday’s Schedule

Madison @ Kenosha 6:05pm
ThunderBay @ Bismarck 6:05pm
Eau Claire @ La Crosse 6:05pm
St.Cloud @ Waterloo 6:35pm
Kalamazoo @ Green Bay 6:35pm
Wisconsin Rapids @ Fond du Lac 6:35pm
Wisconsin @ Lakeshore 6:35pm
Battle Creek @ Rockford 6:35pm
Mankato @ Willmar 7:05pm
Duluth @ Rochester 7:05pm