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Published On: June 29th, 2016

Box Score


Eau Claire, Wis.— The Express scored four runs in the top of the 11th inning, defeating the Green Bay Bullfrogs 8-5 in the extra-innings battle. Ripken Reyes drove in the eventual game-winning run on a two-out single, keeping Eau Claire on pace to compete for the top spot in the North Division. The Express hold a 19-9 record, just a half game behind the St. Cloud Rox for the division lead.


The Express hitters were locked in at the plate from the start in the game. In the top of the first inning, Alex McKenna hit an infield single in his first plate appearance of the season for Eau Claire. Mickey McDonald hit a single to shallow right and stole a base, putting two runners in scoring position for Daulton Varsho. Varsho hit a ground out that scored McKenna, and in the following at bat Jared Mang hit a sacrifice fly to score McDonald, giving the Express a 2-0 lead early.


Green Bay pulled back a run against Aaron Shortridge in the bottom half of the inning. Marcus Shoemaker reached first on a fielder’s choice, swiped a stolen base, and scampered to third on a wild pitch. Quincy Nieporte hit an RBI single down the third base line to close the gap to just one run.


Designated hitter Chris Botsoe drove in the tying run in the second inning with an infield single scoring Hill Alexander who drew a lead off walk. Botsoe scored two bases with just one out, putting him just 90 feet away from taking the lead for the Bullfrogs. Botsoe was in a tight play at the plate on a grounder to third base Brian Lees, successfully scoring the go-ahead run for Green Bay,


McKenna continued his impressive Express debut in the top of the third, hitting his second lead off single in the inning. McKenna utilized heads-up base running to advance to third on a pick off error by Bullfrog’s starter Stuart Springer. McDonald tallied his second hit of the game, driving in McKenna to level the score at 3-3.


The tie did not last long. Green Bay took over the lead in the bottom of the fourth after a lead off double by Alexander put a runner in scoring position with no outs. Alexander would score his second run of the game on a looping Botsoe single, who tallied his second RBI in the contest.


Springer would shut down the Express batters until the top of the sixth, when Eau Claire tied up the game for the second time. Varsho began the inning with a perfectly placed bunt single. Daniel Herrera picked up his first hit of the game on a one-out single to put Varsho in scoring position. Cody Bohanek, seventh in the league in RBI’s, added to his season total, driving in Varsho on a single to right field. Varsho’s run scored equalized the game at four runs a piece.


Both starters were relieved of their duties in the seventh inning. Springer finished with four strikeouts and four earned runs on seven hits in six complete innings. Shortridge also allowed four earned runs, issuing two walks and allowing eight hits while fanning three Bullfrogs. Neither pitcher earned a decision in the game.


Peter Castillo relieved Springer on the mound, immediately putting the tie in danger. Ripken Reyes hit a lead off single, and McKenna reached base safely for the third time after drawing a walk. Following a sacrifice bunt that put both runners in scoring position, Varsho was intentionally walked to load the bases for Mang. Jeremy Graf entered the game, using just five pitches for force a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning while preserving the tie game.


Jake Sommers replaced Shortridge on the rubber for the Express. Sommers calmly pitched a scoreless inning to allow Eau Claire the opportunity to seize control of the lead in the eighth. Sommers would continue to deal on the mound in the eighth with his second scoreless inning, and would replicate his performance in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.


Neither team was able to put up a game-winning run in the 10th inning, with both pitchers retiring the opposing hitters with relative ease.


The Express took the lead in the top of the 11th inning. With one out on the board, Michael Hicks and Bohanek hit back-to-back singles, putting runners in threatening positions against Matt McCarthy. Ben Mezzenga pinch ran for Hicks, advancing to third base on a sacrifice fly by Sam Hurt. Reyes ripped a single past the diving Green Bay shortstop, scoring Mezzenga to take a 5-4 lead late in the game.


McKenna hit a towering fly ball to center field, but Jonah Davis mishandled the pop-up, dropping the ball, which allowed two runs to score for the Express. McDonald drove in the fourth run of the inning on a sharp single to left field, scoring McKenna for the third time in the game and giving the Express an 8-4 lead headed to the bottom of the 11th.


Christian Tripp entered the game in a non-save situation, looking to close out the come from behind victory. Tripp allowed Green Bay to load the bases on a walk and three singles, and issued a walk to Marcus Hoeg to score Colton Onstott from third with two outs. Davis popped up the final out of the game to McKenna, sealing the victory for the Express.


Sommers earned his first win of the season with four scoreless innings of relief, preserving the tie game late into the contest. McKenna had two hits, two RBI’s, and three runs scored in his Eau Claire debut. McDonald went 3-5 with one RBI, and Reyes finished 2-4 with the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 11th.


The Express will return to Carson Park tomorrow for a day-night double header against the South Division leading Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Chase Beal will make his first start of the season at 1:05 p.m. in the Kids Day matinee for Eau Claire. Michael Gomez is slated to pitch the night game, looking for his second win of the season after four shut out innings in his first start of the summer last week.


Season tickets and single-game tickets are on sale now for Express home games. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Express office at 715-839-7788 or by stopping at the downtown office at 102 E. Grand Ave. 

The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Express as your favorite team.