Huskies go 4-2 over the 5th week of the season
Duluth, Minn — The Duluth Huskies Baseball Club had a successful 5th week of the season, going 4-2 with road trips to La Crosse and Bismarck, and three home games. Through the first 31 games of the summer, the team holds a 12-19 record and stands 5 games out of 1st place in the Great Plains East Division. They will travel to Eau Claire for a two-game set with the Express this upcoming weekend and will return to Duluth for a 7 game homestand starting July 1st and will face three different teams.
Last Friday the Huskies went to the 10th inning against La Crosse to win 2-0. Both of Duluth’s runs were scored in extra innings as both teams put on a pitching clinic. Through the first 4 innings of the game, both teams would only log two hits each and neither team could score as Zach Pronschinske and Austin Smith pitched cleanly their first couple times through the opposing team’s order. La Crosse threatened to score the first run of the night in the top of the 6th when they placed runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but Smith got Loggers’ Shortstop Jacob English to pop out to Ramon Enriquez at first base to end the inning with the score deadlocked at zero. Collin Hopkins, who made his Duluth Huskies debut would get to 2nd base after getting hit by a pitch and advancing on a wild pitch. Hopkins would then take 3rd base on another wild pitch, the first runner in scoring position for the Huskies. But Hopkins would be thrown out attempting to come home on a Noah Marcelo flyout to centerfield to end the inning.
Keaton Carattini would then relieve Austin Smith in the bottom of the 8th inning. Jacob English doubled to lead off the inning, but Carratini would strand him there sending the 0-0 game to the 9th inning. The Huskies got another shot at scoring as Lance Ford and Danny Zimmerman both drew walks to put runners at 1st and 2nd for Ramon Enriquez. But the Loggers would once again get a double play to halt Duluth’s hopes. Carratini would then send the Loggers down in order in the bottom of the 9th to force extra innings. Carter Putz would hit an RBI double to the centerfield wall that scored Ramon Enriquez from 2nd base to make it 1-0 in Duluth’s favor. Tyler Lozano, who pinch hit for Justin Moore, made it 2-0 when he singled home Putz with a base hit to shallow center field. Jack Filby led off the bottom of the 10th with a single that put runners on the corners with no outs. Carratini would then get two huge strikeouts in a row and snagged a line drive back at him to seal the game with a final score of 2-0 and a win for the Huskies.
The next day the Huskies traveled to Bismarck, North Dakota for the first of a four-game home and home series. Duluth got on the board first on a single to right field that scored Lance Ford from 3rd in the top of the opening frame. The Huskies made it 2-0 when Tyler Lozano scored on a single to center field in the top of the second. The Larks would strike back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the 2nd inning on a triple by Patrick Arndt that scored Cole Taylor. The second run came across on a throwing error by the catcher Tyler Lozano on a stolen base attempt by Cooper Bowman.
The Huskies retook the lead in the top of the 3rd on a Sac Fly from Danny Zimmerman to right field that would score Lance Ford. Both teams went scoreless in the 4th inning before the Larks took control of the game. Bismarck scored Wyatt Ulrich from third on a passed ball to tie the game at three and Jack Chernow laced a single to right field to score David Mendham in the 5th inning. It was all Bismarck from there as they scored two more in the 6th to push their lead to 6-3 on a 2-run single by Jacob Rogers. The Larks added 3 more in the 7th on a wild pitch to score AJ DiFillipo, a single by Zack Gregory that scored Cooper Bowman, and a bases-loaded walk by Jack Chernow that saw Zack Gregory come home. Finally, the Larks added another pair of runs in the 8th when Wyatt Ulrich reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Patrick Arndt. In the attempted double-play, an error on the relay throw by the shortstop Nic Kent scored Cooper Bowman. Bismarck would set down Duluth in the top of the 9th to claim an 11-3 victory in game one of the series.
Sunday’s game was quite the offensive explosion for both squads as the final score was 12-11 in favor of Duluth. The barnburner began in the 2nd when Wade Meckler scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Milan Walla. The Huskies strung together a massive 7 run 3rd inning, kicked off by 3 consecutive singles by Nic Kent, Danny Zimmerman, and Carter Putz. Putz drove Kent home, and then came home on an inside the park home run by Ramon Enriquez. Larks Right fielder A.J. DiFillipo lost the ball in the ivy in right field, threw his hands up to signal for a ground rule double, but then kept searching for the ball, which waived the double and allowed Enriquez to come all the way home. The Huskies scored 3 more runs that inning, having stumped Larks’ starter Hunter Kloke. Duluth put up 2 more runs in the 6th and 3 in the 8th. The Larks tried to answer with a 2-run spot in the 3rd and 4th and went scoreless until the 7th inning where Huskies pitcher Evan Yedinak allowed 2 more runs. He was replaced by Cole Milam, who allowed 3 runs (2 earned), and exited the game with the scoreboard reading 12-9 in favor of the Huskies. Milam was replaced by Keaton Carratini, who gave up a single to bring home two runners left on when Milam exited the game. Carratini pulled the plug on the game, inducing a fly out to secure the Huskies’ 12-11 victory. The series would go back to Duluth tied 1-1.
Another pressure filled ballgame occurred on the 25th, ending in favor of Duluth once again with a final score of 7-6. The Larks put up one run in the top of the 1st inning when Jack Chernow scored Wyatt Ulrich on a 2 out RBI single to centerfield that then put runners on the corners for Stephen Baughan. He was then hit by a pitch to bring Alex Peterson to the plate. He would line out to Nic Kent at Shortstop to end the inning. They struck again in the 2nd inning starting with a bases-loaded RBI fielder’s choice from Wyatt Ulrich that scored Damon Lux. The first 3 Larks that stepped to the plate all got on by a walk or hit by pitch. But a 1-4-3 double play would strand runners at the corners to make the score remain 2-0 in favor of Bismarck. Bismarck continued to score the next inning when a bases-loaded hit by pitch brought in Jacob Rogers, making it 3-0. The Huskies would finally get their first hit of the ballgame off of Gavin Rogers in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Wade Meckler doubled down the left field line. Nic Kent led off the bottom of the 4th inning with a double and came home to score the first run of the night for the Huskies on an error by the Shortstop Cooper Bowman. Noah Marcelo would hit an infield single later in the inning to put runners at the corners with 2 outs. Marcelo would purposely get into a rundown that allowed Carter Putz to score, making it 3-2 Bismarck as the 5th inning began. After Collin Hopkins flew out to start the bottom half of the 5th inning, Xavier Bussey demolished an 0-1 slider over the left field fence in his Huskies debut to tie up the game at 3. The Huskies kept the inning going with back to back singles from Wade Meckler and Joe Casey to put runners at the corners with 1 out for Nic Kent. Kent would hit a Sac Fly to left field to score Meckler that gave Duluth their first lead of the game at 4-3. The Larks would be able to tie up the game at 4 when Zack Gregory scored on a Noah Marcelo error in left field. They then took the lead at 5-4 when Jacob Rogers singled home Wyatt Ulrich from 2nd base. The Larks would score once again in the top of the 7th run and take a 6-4 lead when Damon Lux scored from 3rd on a double steal that moved Cooper Bowman to 2nd base. Ramon Enriquez would tie up the ballgame at 6 with a 2 RBI single into centerfield. Tyler Lozano led off the next inning with a single and advanced to 2nd on a balk from Dominic Arias. A Sac Bunt from Noah Marcelo would bring Lozano to 3rd, and Collin Hopkins lifted a Sac Fly to right field to bring Lozano home and give the Huskies a 7-6 lead. Evan Yedinak would get the 3 outs needed to earn the save and a 7-6 win for Duluth.
The final game of the series against Bismarck was rough as the Larks ended the Huskies’ hopes of a series win with a 21-0 blowout. After 2 full innings with no runs scored and seeing one person reach base, Bismarck started off the top of the 3rd inning with 3 straight singles to load the bases with no outs for Zack Gregory. He would draw a 3-1 walk to bring home Brady Tanksley, making it 1-0 Larks. Alex Peterson then singled to center field just out of the reach of a diving Xavier Bussey, to bring home Jack Chernow and Cooper Bowman. Two straight singles from Ty Condel and Jacob Rogers would score another pair of runs, extending the Larks’ lead to 5. Stephen Baughan then cleared the bases with a 3 run home run, making it an 8 run inning. Milan Walla would come in to pitch in the 4th inning, but 3 walks and a hit by a pitch to start the 4th inning would lead to the Larks’ 9th run of the game. Walla would leave the bases loaded with no outs for Owen Meaney. Stephen Baughan proceeded to hit his second round-tripper of the game with a grand slam. Baughan and Alex Peterson were the driving force for Bismarck as they combined to go 7 for 12 with 14 RBI’s and scored 5 runs. Zack Gregory came around to score for his 3rd run of the game on a fielding error in the 5th inning to extend Bismarck’s score 14-0. Noah Marcelo came in to pitch the 8th inning for Duluth, replacing Lance Ford who logged scoreless 6th and 7th innings. Bismarck added two more to their lead in the 8th when Alex Peterson hit a 2 RBI single, making it 16-0 entering the bottom of the 8th inning. In the top of the 9th inning, the Larks put up 5 more runs off of Ramon Enriquez, who would be the last of 6 Huskies pitchers on the night. The Huskies would score no runs in the bottom half of the 9th inning as the Larks headed back home with a shutout win.
Duluth would not get discouraged though as they came back the next day to defeat Thunder Bay 8-4. Ricky Reynoso took the mound for the Huskies in his season debut to face Alex Dafoe of the Border Cats. Much like Wednesday’s loss, the early portion of the ballgame was a pitcher’s duel as both teams logged just 2 hits each and scored no runs through the first 3 innings. Reynoso did a great job of pounding the strike zone early on as he allowed no walks through his first 2 times through the order. The Border Cats would break through with a 2 out triple from Joe Jiminez in the top of the 4th that scored Conor Allard and Thomas Grilli, making it 2-0 advantage Thunder Bay. Then the next batter Bryce Jorgensen induced an error to score Jiminez from 3rd base, extending their lead to 3. Xavier Bussey got his second hit of the evening in the bottom of the 4th inning when he doubled to the right field wall, scoring Carter Putz from 1st base who got on base via an error to lead off the inning. Bussey then stole 3rd base and advanced home on a throwing error by the Catcher Joe Jiminez to make it 3-2 Thunder Bay.
Wade Meckler then tied up things at 3 with a run-scoring double that brought home Justin Moore from 2nd base, and Lance Ford kept the party going when he brought home Christian Kirtley and Wade Meckler with a single up the middle to give Duluth a 5-3 lead as the 5th inning got started. Duluth resumed scoring the next inning when Carter Putz led off the inning with a single and was brought home on a Ramon Enriquez double off the left-center field wall to stretch the Huskies’ lead to 3. The next inning, Justin Moore found a hole up the middle to bring home Enriquez and give Duluth a 4-run lead. Ricky Reynoso would be replaced by Evan Yedinak as the 7th inning began. Reynoso pitched a solid game, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 Border Cats over 6 IP. After Yedinak set down the side in order, Jordan Jackson would come in to pitch for Thunder Bay in his season debut. Alex Rao would be the 3rd pitcher of the night for Duluth as he took the mound in the 8th inning and struck out the side. Wade Meckler would get his 4th hit of the night and his 2nd RBI when he doubled home Justin Moore in the bottom of the 8th. With his 4-5 performance, Meckler improved his batting average to .302 on the season. Rao was back on the bump for the 9th inning and allowed one run but eventually locked up the game one win for Duluth by a final score of 8-4.
The Huskies face the Border Cats in the final game of the series tonight at Wade Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.