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Recapping the 2017 Season

Dear Kalamazoo,
 
Thank you. You made this season special.

You sold out 15 games, ranking us 6th nationally & breaking our attendance record yet again. You voted for us to become the #2 ranked ballpark in the country. You made Homer Stryker Field the most amazing atmosphere in the league. You are the reason our staff loves what they do and work so hard to make the Growlers what they are.

Our 2018 season starts today and we have some big events and announcements planned for next year. Which is why we are already planning improvements to the ballpark, recruiting our roster, updating our ticket plans and more for our 5-year anniversary in Kalamazoo (where did those 5 years go?).

We are overwhelmed with the number of season ticket and 5-game pack holders this summer.  So much so, that we have already renewed over 500 Pack holders for the 2018 campaign with the off season less than a week old.

I can promise you that our owners and staff are 100% dedicated to making Homer Stryker Field and Kalamazoo Growlers games the most unique and fun experience in the country.

On behalf of our entire Growlers family, thank you for making 2017 special. Here's a look back at what happened in Growler territory this year.

The Growlers completed another season of Northwoods League baseball, finishing 28-44 on the season, including a 19-19 second half that was just short of the team record for wins in a half.

The Growlers welcomed 82,758 fans in 2017, averaging 2,299 fans per game. Total attendance increased from last season by more than 2,000 fans and the Growlers finished fourth in the league in terms of attendance. A total of $14,693 was raised for local charities through Eaton Toss-A-Truck, Kalamazoo Mortgage 50/50 Raffle, and specialty jersey auctions. Fans were treated to entertainment such as the Chicago Boyz, Jake the Diamond Dog, five fireworks shows, and appearances by softball star Jennie Finch and Western Michigan University Football coach Tim Lester. The team wore unique uniforms that included: Cowamazoo, the Kalamazoo Corndogs, military jerseys, Bronson Children’s Hospital, and Advia Credit Union. 

Homer Stryker Field was voted the second best summer collegiate ballpark in the country, finishing behind fellow Northwoods League team the Madison Mallards, in an online vote by Ballpark Digest. More than 32,000 voters participated in the poll, which was decided by percentage points after both teams received 50 percent of the final vote. 

It was a tale of two halves and streaks for the Growlers. In the first half the team struggled, at one point losing 11 straight games and compiling a 9-25 record, finishing in last place. The second half saw the Growlers finish 19-19, just short of a team record for wins in a half. The team started the second half 5-0 and finished 8-2 in their last 10 games. 

The Growlers had many individual accomplishments over the course of the season. Shortstop Connor Hollis (Houston) finished as the Northwoods League Batting Champion with an average of .375. At one point he had a 14 game hitting streak.

Starting pitcher Connor Manous represented the Growlers at the Northwoods League All-Star game in Wasau, Wisconsin. Connor pitched in the game and got the win for the South Divison.

Five Growlers were named to the Major League Dreams Showcase, including: Connor Hollis, Jason Sullivan, Daniel Ritcheson, Connor Manous, and JR Holloway. 

Statistical Leaders – (Offense) AVG: C. Hollis (.375) || HR: M. Koehler (5) || RBI: J. Riedel (40) || SB: J. Riedel (13) || Hits: J. Sullivan (72) || Runs: C. Hollis (56) || Doubles: J. Riedel (14) || Triples: J. Duffy (3) || BB: M. Koehler (39) || HBP: M. Koehler (9) || OBP: C. Hollis (.472) || SLG: N. Hutchins (.585) || OPS: N. Hutchins (1.002) ||

Statistical Leaders – (Pitching) Wins: C. Manous (4) || IP: C. Manous (58.2) || ERA: Z. Gonzalez (0.77) || SO: C. Manous (57) || SV: W. Talcott (5) || WHIP: Z. Gonzalez (0.69) || CG: J. Holloway, D. Roberts, J. Palmbos, T. Drabick (1) || BAA: Z. Gonzalez (.159) || K/9: B. Welborn (11.045) ||

Statistical Leaders – (Fielding) Put Outs: M. Bigras (206) || Assists: C. Hollis (99) || Fielding Pct: (Eight tied at 1.000) || Team Fielding Pct: (.959) ||