Huskies take game one
Duluth one win away from Great Plains championship game
DULUTH, MN.- It was a big day at Wade Stadium. The Huskies were hosting their first playoff game since 2018. They welcomed the Eau Claire Express into the Wade, a team they could not beat during the regular season going 0-8 and being outscored 65-24.
The Huskies were trying to turn the tide as they started a best of three intra-divisional series on Sunday.
Duluth turned to Devin Dodson on the mound, one of only two players who were on the active roster for all 68 games of the regular season. In 12 appearances, the newest member of the Colorado, Colorado Springs baseball program amassed a 4.39 ERA over 53 ⅓ innings pitched.
The Express turned to Derek True out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 10 appearances in the regular season, True had a 2.21 ERA over 20 ⅓ innings pitched with an impressive 28 strikeouts.
Dodson allowed a run in the top of the first when Peter Brookshaw singled in Cadyn Schwabe with one out to put the Express up 1-0. Reed Latimer came through later in the inning with a two-out double into the right-center field gap that scored Brookshaw and Joe Yorke. It was now 3-0 Eau Claire.
The Huskies immediately responded in the bottom of the inning. Kristian Campbell doubled over the head of Eau Claire Right Fielder Reed Latimer, scoring Jonathan Vastine and JD Rogers to make it 3-2. The third run of the inning came on a strikeout. Joe Vos struck out on a ball in the dirt, and on the misfired throw down to first from Express catcher Sam Hunt, Kristian Campbell came into score. The game was now tied 3-3, and the playoff intensity was palpable.
The Express re-took the lead in the second with an RBI triple from Charlie Szykowny, scoring Benjamin Rosengard and making it 4-3.
Devin Dodson got through four innings, allowing four runs. He handed the ball to Ryan Chmielewski to start the fifth.
Reed Latimer got to Chmielewski in that inning with a solo Home Run to make it 5-3.
The Huskies would strike back in the bottom of the sixth. They put runners at second and third with nobody out. Eddy Rosario took advantage of the situation, hitting a sacrifice fly to score Cam Frederick and make it 5-4. Just like Deja Vous, Kristian Campbell, in all his base running excellence, stole another run for the Huskies when Sam Hunt once again tried to throw Joe Vos out on a dropped third strike. The game was tied 5-5, and the fog was rolling in…
It was in that trademark Duluth summer weather that the Huskies pulled magic out of the hat. They loaded the bases with nobody out, and Cam Frederick took a walk to give Duluth the lead 6-5.
After Kristian Campbell and Eddy Rosario, two Huskies all-stars, struck out, it was Joe Vos, a man who was cut earlier in the season and brought back, who came through with a two-out 2 RBI single to make it 8-5 Huskies.
The Huskies escaped a major jam in the top of the eighth when Isaac Rhode, in relief of Isaiah Piscitello, got an inning-ending Double Play from Cadyn Schwabe to keep the game 8-5.
Rhode came back out for the ninth and picked up the five-out save, allowing only one run, to give the Huskies game 1 and an 8-6 win.
Duluth is now one win away from the Great Plains championship game. They will have to win one of the next two games in Eau Claire to do it. Game two will be tomorrow at Carson Park at 7:05 PM.
The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th 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 190 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.