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Published On: June 1st, 2014

imageKalamazoo, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Growlers' offense gained strength, like a rising tide. John Rubino (Eastern Michigan) and Troy Montgomery (Ohio State) led off the game for the Kalamazoo Growlers with bloop singles, and Ryan Spaulding (Ball State) drove Rubino home with a solid single to right.

The Growlers scored five runs that inning on singles, one double and an RBI groundout. It was just the start of another offensive showcase, as the Growlers (4-1) scored 14 runs on 15 hits and smashed the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 14-7 on Saturday night at Homer Stryker Field.

The wave of hitting crested in the third inning. Ryan Bull (Notre Dame) and Ryan Lidge (Notre Dame) walked to put runners on first and second and set the scene for Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh). The powerful lefty stepped to the plate, got a fastball from Rafters pitcher John Cook (Amherst) and hit a screaming line drive that kept rising until it landed among the picnic tables in front of the Bell's Bear Cave in right field.

"I didn't actually know if it went out or not, because the sun was right in my way," Yarnall said. "So I was just hoping that it would reach the fence. I knew I hit it really well."

The Growlers led 8-2 at that point, and they would make the score 10-2 by the end of the third inning. The Rafters responded for five runs in the next frame, pitcher Dillon Haviland (Duke) soon took control for Kalamazoo.

Haviland entered with two outs in the fourth and induced a flyout from the first batter he faced, but that belied the strikeout-heavy dominance that would follow. The lefty struck out the side in the fifth inning, then repeated the feat in the sixth.

The southpaw mixed in a few more groundouts and flyouts in the subsequent innings, but he finished off his gem by striking out the last two batters of the ninth.

"My stuff's not really overpowering, I'm more of a finesse guy," Haviland said. "Always nice to know you can still blow it by some guys."

The Growlers had stretched the score to 14-7 by the end of the game, and they currently lead the Northwoods League with 40 total runs scored. Kalamazoo is back in action at 5:05 tomorrow, when the Rafters finish off their visit to Homer Stryker Field.


The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel.  For more information, visit – See more at: